Both Christina Rossetti’s father (Gabriele) and her brother (Dante) were poets. She was a fragile person subject to unknown illnesses eventually succumbing to cancer. Among her friends were Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), Whistler the artist and the poet Swinburne.
This not only represents an idea of continuation from the previous line...
"My heart is like an apple tree
whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;"
APPLE TREE gives the idea of fertility, tying back into the idea of being born again
in a biblical sense, it can also give the image of the Garden of Eden, where nature and human lived in ideal peace~~~
THICK-SET FRUIT suggests ripeness and abundance, like Rossetti's new-found life and love
"My heart is like a rainbow shell
that paddles in a halcyon sea;"
RAINBOWS (yay!) gives us the image of exuberant colour
Tying back to the Bible, God set a rainbow in the sky after the large flood (where he helped Noah), promising that such a thing would never happen again -----> SUGGESTS that God's promises are being fulfilled in Rossetti's life AND also suggests the cleansing of past relationships...
You may be asked to compare Christina's emotionally charged, descriptive poem to her brother's poem "The Woodspurge".
One of the most important female writers of the 19th century, Christina Rossetti is remembered for her acerbic love poetry, vivacious ballads and nursery rhymes. She is probably best-known today for writing the carol In the Bleak Mid-Winter.
Rossetti was born in London in 1830 into a remarkable family of artists, scholars and writers. Her father was an exiled Italian revolutionary and poet and her brothers William and Dante Gabriel Rossetti were founding members of art movement the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Christina had her own first book of poetry privately printed by her grandfather when she was 12 years old. Aged 19 she contributed poems to Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ, under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyn.
The women in her family were committed High Church Anglicans and as a teenager, Christina suffered a nervous breakdown that was diagnosed at the time as 'religious mania'. Rossetti fell in love with several suitors, but rejected them all because they failed to share her precise religious convictions. In 1862, at the age of 32, she published her first full collection, Goblin Market and Other Poems. A sensuous fairy story, is a heady tale of repressed sexuality and sisterhood. Her concern with female fellowship was played out in real life as Rossetti devoted ten years as a volunteer at St Mary Magdalene's penitentiary for prostitutes and unmarried mothers in Highgate.
In that way, Christina Rossetti's "A Birthday" is a great illustration of the benefits of faith. Whether you buy into it or not is a whole separate story, but reading this poem is a great way to see how the world looks through the eyes of someone with God in their corner.
The poem, which reappeared the very next year as part of Rossetti's collection Goblin Market and Other Poems, is essentially a celebration. Using a variety of Christian symbolism (which became a trademark of Rossetti's writing), its speaker describes the deep peace, joy, and satisfaction of having God in her life. Interestingly, God is not actually named in the poem, which has led some critics to speculate that Rossetti was actually describing some other, less divine, fellow.
Waldman views well-known poems and artworks such as Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel and Venus Verticordia in new ways that expose their authors’ savvy anticipation of concepts that would come to be known as narcissism, fetishism, and the symbolic and imaginary orders, among many others.
Born in 1830, Christina Rossetti was writing poetry by the time she was twelve. By the time she was twenty, she was publishing work in a literary magazine run by another of her brothers, William Michael. She then started to submit work to the influential Macmillan's Magazine, which published "A Birthday" in 1861.
Christina Rossetti could be described as one of the 19th Century's 'great odd women.' Even though she did have a variety of poems, no one has said she was a 'great' poet; however, the reason why we are so interested in her is because she was writing poetry in Victorian England and middle - class women were not seen to have any power....
Much of Christina Rossetti’s poetry has a very depressing and rather sombre tone, which can be sometimes used to infer the way in which she viewed life and times, which she was living in.
'Goblin Market' superficially appears to a moral story about two sisters one of whom gives way to the temptation of the goblins forbidden fruits but through her poetic techniques Rossetti manages to embody her fears and desires....