“Remember” by Christina Rossetti and “Piano” by D. H. Lawrence are poems about nostalgic remembrance. They both have the same theme. This essay will compare and contrast two poems, bearing in mind the similarites and the differences between both poems. Thus, it will talk about the main themes of both poems (nostalgia for an idealized past, unconditional love, reminiscence of a loved one etc.) and it will also analyze the tones and language Christina Rossetti and D. H. Lawrence use. Both poems are about recalling someone who has disappeared from their world.
Themes are definitely similar. Christina Rossetti titled one of her poems “Remember” to draw the attention on the most important subject of the poem. While D. H. Lawrence did not show the themes of his poem, “Piano” in the title. Yet it shows the main theme of the poem, remembrance, when reading it. The first-two lines of D. H. Lawrence’s poem, “Piano”, that says “Taking me back down the vista of years, ..” displays how the past has brought him or the speaker back to his childhood days.
Massive, great attention is given to his diction by Lawrence himself. D. H. Lawrence or the speaker does not want to be remembered by his past, however he is made remember against his own will. Nevertheless, Rossetti’s poem, “Remember” is only about memories. Both poets are nostalgic about losing a lover and a mother. The speaker or Lawrence remembers his mother, by looking at what his mother used to do when she was in his world. But, “Remember” is not a poem about remembering a parent. The poem is about a lover.
On the third line, the speaker states, “.. you can no more hold me by the hand, .. ”. One of the typical gestures between lovers is holding hands; in that way, Christina Rossetti is obviously reffering to a beloved one. “Remember” is a person talking in the present, hoping that someone (lover) to remember in the future. “Remember me when I am gone away, ..”, shows that the speaker in the poem wants her lover to remember her in the future, like she states, that she is dying, yet she predicts dear, as it’s very close.
This actually diverges from “Piano”, where the poet, D. H. Lawrence is not asking anything, rather than just talking about his departed mother. The poet, Christina Rossetti makes a link between past, present and future, that will last forever, and will not be shattered by demise. The speaker in “Piano” is struck by misery as D. H. Lawrence use of diction makes an image in the mind of a reader that forces him feel his pain. “…the heart of me weeps…” is a personification used to make a sense of sorrow in the poem “Piano”. D. H. Lawrence tries to make the reader to picture a heart weeping, in a sense that he has a huge pain coming inside of him. So all emotions which he has subdued throughtout the years come out, and he has an emotinal release, where all his pain he had hidden before was given out by himself. He indicates that his pain devours him really making him sad and his heart feels fragile. The tone of “Piano” is really gloomy as Lawrence uses many kind of language techniques. For example similes: “I weep like a child”, is an imagery used by Lawrence.
The word “weep” is a bit immature. It creates an image of a child, crying, losing control of himself, all his emotions are bursting out (which happens rarely in adulthood). He feels like he was a child again. His misery is shown by the image of him crying or weeping. At D. H. Lawrence’s time, all men were expected to be strong and cover up their emotions. The fact that Lawrence is actually weeping, states that he cannot hold his emotions inside anymore, in spite of what others might thought or said about him.
While the tone of Christina Rossetti’s poem, “Piano”, is quite controlled, but increasingly provosional, revealing as well as hiding meaning. The positiveness of being together with her beloved one, of audible advice and prayer are put back by the signs of memory amidst increasing forgetfulness. The message changes when the speaker wants to give to the beloved. The command to remember is replaced by the suggestion that she is happy for the beloved to forget about her instead. Last but not least, those structures of the poems are differnet. Remember” by Christina Rossetti is a petrarchan sonnet (a sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern “abbaabba” followed by a set with the rhyme pattern “cdecde” or “cdcdcd”), which is usually used for love poems. Christina Rossetti is requesting the remembrance of the speaker when she disappears from the world, on the first eight lines, while the last six lines are focused on telling the lover to forget about the speaker if this remembrance will cause them sadness. “Piano” has three quatrains of rhyming couplets.
As the first stanza works as an introduction, where D. H. Lawrence explains how a mother plays the piano with her young son, who plays with her feet; the second describes works as a main body, where he explains how the past brought him to remember, and finally, the last stanza works as a conclusion, where he describes the grief and sorrow he feels, and how his emotions are being brought out. It has rhyming couplets to create a rhythm which goes along with the musicality in the poem (the piano, the tingling strings, appassionato).
Personally, I prefer “Piano” by D. H. Lawrence since the poem is the one which achieves to create a very clear image in my mind. And I love D. H. Lawrence’s choice of diction, as his words have a beautiful sound (use of consonance), as well as a strong meaning. Yet, I still like Christina Rossetti’s “Remember”. I really admire how Christina clearly draws attention on one theme, and I do enjoy reading the “happiness in misery” effect that she accomplishes to make.