The work of Christina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) is mostly religious and many times it’s about having to say goodbye to earthly love. Some of her work is close to the edge of that what once was not to be discussed. In this poem, “Remember”, Rossetti talks about that moment when she is no longer alive.
The poem is just as the title: something to remember. The poem was written in 1862. It’s written in the style of the Petrarchan sonnet (sonnets that use the rhyme schene ABBAABBA).
In this poem, the word remember is very important. It’s repeated several times. As if Rossetti wants to be noticed for what she did.
The poem speaks about love and she encourages her lover to keep on remembering her after she’s gone. When you take a look at the life of Rossetti, it’s impossible to pinpoint someone who this poem is about. She refused several men from marrying her.
Rossetti brings forward that situation or moment when her lover will forget her. That’s why she needs to share her thoughts.
Although these words were written a long time ago, they are still very accurate. To lose a lover can mean that you will forget about simple things: voice, gestures and smell. These will fade, hopefully not the memories.
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.
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.
— Christina Rossetti