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English Literature   >   The Poetry of Christina Rossetti

Song: ‘When I am dead, my dearest’

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The Poetry of Christina Rossetti

In this course, Professor Tom Mole (University of Edinburgh) explores the poetry of Christina Rossetti, focusing in particular on the fourteen poems listed for study for OCR English Literature A Level (excluding ‘Goblin Market’). A detailed commentary is provided for each of the poems, including comments on historical context, language and style, rhyme and repetition, relationships with other texts – especially the Bible – and much more.

The poems covered in this course are:
1. Song (‘When I am dead, my dearest’)
2. Remember
3. From the Antique
4. Echo
5. Shut Out
6. In the Round Tower at Jhansi
7. A Birthday
8. Winter, My Secret
9. Maude Clare
10. Up-Hill
11. ‘No, Thank You, John’
12. Good Friday
13. Twice
14. Soeur Louise de la Miséricorde

Song: ‘When I am dead, my dearest’

In this module, we read through Christina Rossetti’s ‘Song’ (‘When I am dead, my dearest’), focusing in particular on: (i) the poem’s fixation on what doesn’t (or shouldn’t) happen, as opposed to what does/should; (ii) the poem’s rhyme scheme, and the impact of rhymes that appear in addition to this scheme; (iii) the concept of death as a respite from the trials and tribulations of life; (iv) the cultural and literary heritage of the nightingale; and (v) the importance of Rossetti’s religious beliefs, particularly in relation to the concept of ‘soul sleep’.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Mole, T. (2019, March 29). The Poetry of Christina Rossetti - Song: ‘When I am dead, my dearest’ [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Mole, T. "The Poetry of Christina Rossetti – Song: ‘When I am dead, my dearest’." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Mar 2019,

Image Credits


lecturer placeholder image

Dr Tom Mole

Edinburgh University