A Birthday

A Birthday
By Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird

Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;

My heart is like an apple-tree

Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;

My heart is like a rainbow shell

That paddles in a halcyon sea;

My heart is gladder than all these

Because my love is come to me.

 

Raise me a dais of silk and down;

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;

Carve it in doves and pomegranates,

And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in gold and silver grapes,

In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.


About the author

(Excerpted from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/christina-rossetti)

Rossetti’s poetry has never disappeared from view. Critical interest in Rossetti’s poetry swelled in the final decades of the twentieth century, a resurgence largely impelled by the emergence of feminist criticism; much of this commentary focuses on gender issues in her poetry and on Rossetti as a woman poet. In Rossetti’s lifetime opinion was divided over whether she or Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the greatest female poet of the era; in any case, after Browning’s death in 1861 readers and critics saw Rossetti as the older poet’s rightful successor. The two poets achieved different kinds of excellence, as is evident in Dante Gabriel Rossetti‘s comment on his sister, quoted by William Sharp in The Atlantic Monthly (June 1895): “She is the finest woman-poet since Mrs. Browning, by a long way; and in artless art, if not in intellectual impulse, is greatly Mrs. Browning’s superior.” Readers have generally considered Rossetti’s poetry less intellectual, less political, and less varied than Browning’s; conversely, they have acknowledged Rossetti as having the greater lyric gift, with her poetry displaying a perfection of diction, tone, and form under the guise of utter simplicity.

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