Analysis of Remember by Christina Rossetti.


Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894) was an English poet who wrote romantic, devotional, and children's poems. She wrote ‘Remember’ in 1849 when Rossetti was just 19 years old. She is considered to be the best woman of the 19th-century Victorian era after Elizabeth Barrett Browning and has produced more than five collections of poetry during her life time, together with two collections of fiction. In the poem ‘Remember’, the poet introduces the themes of love, death, and reaction to one’s death.



Title: Imperative (desperate command to someone showing the necessity to be alive in the memory of one who love)

Form: Petrarchan Sonnet 

Meter: iambic pentameter

Rhyme scheme: ABBAABBA CDDECE  (The sestet is a broken away from the conventional rhyming scheme CDECDE or CDCDCD, showing the speaker breaks free from her conventional idea sacrificing her thoughts)

Tone: Tone changes from desperate plea to understanding

Theme: life, death and memory. (The poem makes the reader to think of the nature of life that ends up with death. Further the necessity of to be remembered as it gives one the opportunity to stay alive in the form of a memory and finally the hurt caused by memories of departed ones - showing necessity of forgetting.)

Narration: 2nd person, a message or a speech to somebody in a form of monologue, the speaker might be a woman or the poet herself. (any suggestions?)

Main technique: repetition


Deep-end Analysis:

Octave: In the octave the speaker pleas the lover not to forget her/him after her/his death. (most probably her)


Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you plann'd:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.


Imperative: remember (desperate command) Shows the necessity to stay alive in the form of a memory in the mind of the one whom she loves.

Repetition: remember(fear) Fear of being forgotten – the desperate repetitive command compels the lover not to forget her (that means inside her mind she fear that he might forget her and replace her memory with another), gone away (distance) Distance beyond physical level.

Euphemism:  gone away, silent land (death) Reduce the effect of the word ‘death’ into a softer one.

Metaphor: silent land (death/ peaceful/ loneliness)

Reduced form: Only remember me (stream of consciousness)

Enjambment: run on line shows the stream of consciousness. (free flow of ideas and emotions)


The speaker in the form of monologue urges the listener the necessity of her to be remembered even after her death. She introduces death as ‘the silent land’ may be showing that she will not be able to speak to him afterword: her voice will be disconnected from the mortal land. She further explains the lover what death really is. (just like to a kid) She explains that the lover that they will no longer be able to go through their life journey together and she will not be able to turn back and say good bye when the death knocks at the door. Further she explains that they cannot discuss about their future plans together after her departure. The shortened form ‘Only remember me’ summarizes what she only requires from her lover – it is to remember her after death. She rationalizes her request as: she would not be able to make this request after her death. 

Through her words, the reader is given a grave message: the impermanence of life; life which can be ended at any moment leaving only memories. The understanding voce of the speaker further implies the nature of memory: memory fades like everything in the world. 


Sestet: In the sestet the speaker asks the lover to forget her as her memory may give him sorrow and regret making his life and future miserable.


Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.


Volta: Yet you forget me for a while. (contemplative) Plead for remembrance to realization

Metaphor: darkness and corruption (death and decaying)

Enjambment: and afterward remember, for… (stream of consciousness)

Imperative: do not grieve (soft command to the lover knowing that her memories could hurt him)

Antithesis: Last two lines (contrast- sacrifice) contrast of words forget-remember and smile-sad; and the sacrifice of her memory to seek a better future for her lover.  


In the Volta, poet comes to realization of the adverse effects of her memory on her lover. She releases her grip of memory telling it is ok to forget her for a while as the possible scars which engraved in the mind of her lover by remembering her decaying body and the sweet conversation they had. She requires her lover to be free from that burden and look forward to a happy future. That shows the true spirit of love: sacrificing self and desires on behalf of the beloved one. 

The poem creates a picture of a dying woman who pleas her lover not to forget her by holding his hand. On the process she comes to an understanding of the ill-effect of her departure on her beloved and changes her idea to forget her and tells it is the best way to live a happy life.

The poem raises questions about what it means to die if one is still alive in another’s mind. The poem itself gives a solution for that problem, that is not to cling onto memories but lead the life forgetting the sorrowful memories. On the other hand, it teaches the reader about the transient nature of life.  This is a very simple poem with a great message that all of us should apply to our lives. It is written in very simple language; so the readers can easily access and identify.

Hope you got a clear sense of the poem. If you like to add more ideas to the post, please add your valuable comment below. Please do share the post if you find this useful.

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