LD: This is one of my favorite Christina Rossetti poems, less well known than it ought to be and seldom found in anthologies. Its exquisite musicality is entirely dependent on rhyme and meter, since the same melodic effects cannot possibly be achieved by unrhymed “free verse”.
The poem’s burning sincerity, which is the hallmark of all Rossetti’s verse, has the indelible stamp of her character: that of an otherworldly mystic consumed by an abhorrence of everyday existence in this vale of tears, together with an insatiable longing for heaven and an after life in some Platonic realm beyond time. This is the lost paradise of her dreams, inklings of which are experienced on this earth only in childhood, if one is lucky enough to have a happy childhood.
Here, then, in this idealized Eden of childhood innocence, is the “Mother Country” which forms the subject matter of this extraordinary piece of mood music. This is genius of a high order, seldom reached by any other female poet in history. [LD] Read More