This moving sonnet by Christina Rossetti, one of the leading poets of the nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelite movement, has brought comfort in bereavement to millions of people. With its message of simple remembrance without regrets, and its reassurance that it is better to ‘forget and smile’ than to ‘remember and be sad’, it brings help and comfort at a time when feelings of guilt and even bitterness can cloud the thoughts of the person left behind.
The delicate pen and ink drawings by Sam Denley perfectly highlight the reflective nature of this masterpiece of sonnet writing.
Christina Rossetti, sister of the artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was the daughter of an Italian patriot who settled in England in 1824. Born in 1830, she was an accomplished poet whose work was marked by a spirituality and melancholy as well as by technical perfection. She published her first book, Goblin Market and Other Poems, in 1862. More volumes followed over the next two years, and a posthumous collection appeared in 1896, two years after her death. Her range was wide, from fantasy and verse for children to love poems and religious poetry which formed the bulk of her writings.