A Birthday; Christina Rosetti - Analysis

1637 Words Nov 28th, 2012 7 Pages
‘A Birthday’ is an upbeat, jubilant poem about love, written by Christina Rossetti in 1861. While many believe that this love she is expressing so effusively is about a man, I believe that it is about her new-found love for God. Rossetti, after all, was a very religious person. The poem, surprisingly, has an exuberant, lively tone, a great contrast to her other works, which almost always give a sense of gloom and bleakness.
Rossetti creates a structured arrangement, allowing the images to flow smoothly. By separating the poem into two octets, containing eight syllables per line, Rossetti creates contrast by first, describing her feelings - her all-consuming happiness, how interchangeably light and heavy her feelings are - then explaining
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The octet is ended with her proclamation “My heart is gladder than all these, // Because my love is come to me”. She cannot think of anything more joyful than the love she has found. The rhyming convention set up by Rossetti facilitates the smooth flow of the poem when read out loud. Rhyming the even numbered verses through the first octet assists the nice roll of words to a lovely ending.
The second stanza starts to express and convey her love through actions. This is apparent because of the verbs used in the octet, such as “raise”, “hang”, “carve” and “work”. These imperatives suggest an authoritative tone, because it is as if she is ordering someone to do these things. Backing that statement up, is the fact that Rossetti changes from an iambic meter to trochaic which allows the recitation to focus on the verbs. This further underlines how she longs to show off her love to the world. One verb that demonstrates the infinite quality of her love is “carve” which, more likely than not, is associated with “carving initials on the trunk of a tree”, usual for young people during Rossetti’s time deeply in love who profess their enduring love to one another.
The bulk of the second octet is comprised of an elaborate description of how Rossetti wants to prepare by using a metaphor of a beautiful, extravagant platform as an expression of her love. In this, she uses
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