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Flashcards in Summaries Deck (18)
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No Thank You John

The narrator turns down a suitor in a one-sided conversation written in response to a suitor's demands. The narrator tells 'John' that she never loved him and chastises him for constantly bothering her.


A Birthday

Expressing joy at a birthday - most likely that of Jesus Christ. The narrative voice is unable to capture the joy in literal terms, so deploys simile and natural imagery to express themself. In the second stanza, this moves to more 'man-made', almost industrial imagery.


Maude Clare

Maude Clare interrupts Sir Thomas and Nell's wedding, trying to cause trouble. As the groom was her ex-lover, she makes Nell feel weak. Sir T's mother tries to help, but leaves them pale. Maude Clare gives the couple gifts from her love affair with Sir T. He is embarrassed and cannot defend himself. The final gift is permission to accept the remains of his fickle heart. Nell defiantly declares she will stay with him anyway, until he loves her.


In the Round Tower at Jhansi

Mrs Skene and her husband are taking refuge in the fort. during the Indian mutiny. The rebels offered to spare their lives if the fort was conceded, but quickly went back on their word and butchered the Christians with swords. The poem tells of Mrs Skene and her husband's collaborative suicide. A footnote to the poem indicates that Rossetti later discovered new facts that there was no suicide, therefore declaring the lack of historical accuracy to the work.



Throughout the poem, the speaker is calling to someone they've lost to come back to them in their dreams. It is implied that either the speaker, or the person they are speaking to, is dead (depending on interpretation). There is repetition throughout which gives the sense of an echoing voice; this echo could be symbolic of holding onto someone lost.


Shut Out

The speaker recalls that she was once happy in a beautiful garden, but for some reason was then shut out from it and the only comfort she has is looking through the iron bars that separate her from it. The narrative voice is lonely, isolated and trapped. religious connotations linked to the garden of Eden. Dark tone increases as the poem progresses, symbolising a gradual loss of hope.


From the Antique

The poem is a woman complaining about the state of her gender and that women are "nothing at all in the world". She imagines what would happen if she wasn't in the world and that nothing would change.


Song (when I am dead, my dearest)

The general narrative of the poem depicts the speaker looking forward to his/her own death and instructing a lover or friend not to mourn or sing "sad songs" once they are gone.



The speaker asks her beloved to remember her. The idea here is that love is so powerful that it can be the antidote to death; this is, however, at the great cost of pain. As the poem progresses, the speaker changes her judgement that she should be remembered, presenting self-sacrifice so that her lover can be happy and at peace.


Good Friday

This poem is a retelling of the crucifixion of Christ. The speaker cannot cry at Christ's demise, so asks him for help.


Winter, My Secret

The speaker teases the reader about a secret which they later reveal may not even exist. The speaker teases the reader, declaring that this secret, if it exists, may never be revealed. The secret exists as metaphor and the poem speaks implicitly about the concepts of power, privacy and control.


Souer Louise de la Misericorde

This poem gives fictional voice to a historical figure (the lover of Louis XIV). She has been rejected by love and is unable to control or cope with her feelings of desire.



The female speaker offers her heart to her beloved but he does not appreciate the gesture / does not believe her to be ready for such a commitment (or is not ready himself). She feels her heart is breaking and becomes depressed, before bringing her bruised heart to God.
She asks God to judge her accurately and perfect her love, knowing that her heart will be secure in his ‘hands'. Aware of her acceptance by God, with a renewed sense of optimism the speaker commits her whole life to him, willing to accept whatever it is that he asks her to do.


Goblin Market (part one)

Two sisters, Lizzie and Laura, go to collect water at dusk, when they hear the enticing cries of goblin traders selling luscious fruit. Lizzie is alert to the danger of engaging with the goblins and runs home, but Laura is entranced. The goblins notice this and although she has no money, sell her all sorts of delicious fruit, for the price of a curl of her hair. Laura devours the fruit until she is intoxicated, then returns home, with one fruit stone in her possession.


Goblin Market (part two)

Lizzie is concerned for her sister, knowing that a friend of theirs, Jeanie, pined away and died after eating the goblins' fruit, but at first all seems well. The sisters sleep calmly together and next day do their chores. That evening, after collecting the water, Laura waits to hear the goblins come again, despite Lizzie's warnings. However, whilst Lizzie is still able to see and hear the goblins, Laura can now no longer do so. Yearning for the fruit she cannot get, Laura loses her health and youthful beauty. She tries to plant the fruit stone but it does not grow. In despair, Laura stops eating or doing any chores.


Goblin Market (part three)

To alleviate her sister's sufferings, though aware of Jeanie's fate, Lizzie decides to buy some goblin fruit with a silver penny. This delights the goblins until Lizzie asks that they put the fruit in her apron and refuses to eat it. The goblins try to persuade her otherwise, then attack her, trying to force the fruit into her mouth. Lizzie resists and although her face is smeared with juice, refuses to open her mouth. At last, the goblins toss back the penny and disappear with their fruit. Although battered and bruised, Lizzie races home to her sister.


Goblin Market (part four)

Lizzie invites Laura to kiss the juice left on her face, hoping it will be an antidote to her decline. Laura does so, ravenously, although she is concerned for the danger her sister has put herself in. The juice acts like poison, but Laura is unable to stop herself, until finally she collapses, close to death. Through the night Lizzie nurses her sister and in the morning Laura wakes up restored to health and beauty. In later years, when both girls have become wives and mothers, Laura warns her children of the danger posed by the goblins and commends the love of her sister in rescuing her.



Over the course of a journey, the narrator asks her guide eight questions about the road ahead. The narrator asks if the roads are all up-hill and if the journey will take all day. The guide replies in the affirmative. Next, the narrator asks if there is a place to rest for the night and if the darkness will obscure said resting-place from their view. The guide assures the narrator that there is an inn and they will not be able to miss it. The narrator's fifth question is about which other travelers will be on the road. At the inn, the narrator asks if the other travelers would prefer for her to knock or call out. The guide tells the narrator that someone will open the door. Lastly, the narrator asks if there will be a bed for her. The guide tells her that there are beds for everyone.