Christina Rossetti’s “Echo”
Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
0 memory, hope, love of finished years.
O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet.,
Whose wakening should have been in paradise,
Where souls brimful of love abide and meet,
Where thirsty longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.
Yet come to me in dreams that i mayt live
My very life again through cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago!
The Rhymes in Christina Rossetti’s “Echo”
In the three-stanza lyric poem “Echo,” Christina Rossetti uses rhyme as a way of saying that one might regain in dreams a love that is lost in realit. As the dream of love is to the real love, so is an echo to an original sound. From the comparison comes the title of the poem and also Rossetti’s unique use of rhyme. Aspects of her rhyme are the lyric pattern, the forms and qualities of the rhymng words, and the special use of repetition.
The rhyme pattern is simple, and, like rhyme generally, it may be thought of as a pattern of echoes. Each stanza contains four lines of alternating rhymes concluded by a couplet: a b a b c c. There are nine separate rhymes throughout the poem, three in each stanza. Only two words are used for each rhyme; no rhyme is used twice. Of the eighteen rhyming words, sixteen — almost all — are of one syllable. The remaining two words consist of two and three syllables. With such a great number of single-syllable words, the rhymes are all rising ones, on the accented halves of iambic feet, and the end-of-line emphasis is on simple words.
The grammatical forms and positions of the rhyming words lend support to the inward,...
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