"Silence More Musical Than Any Song"

Context: The poetess, sister of Dante Gabriel and William Rossetti, was a deeply religious person. Her failure to marry either of the two young men who loved her deeply–and whom she loved–was due to religious sentiments. In an age marked by skepticism, Miss Rossetti was a person of faith in the Anglican Church and the Deity. Her poetry reflects her faith in her religion. In many of her poems she discusses death, not as a fearful end to a life which men should not wish to leave, but rather as God's peace granted to mankind after the troubles of the earthly life. Such a poem is this sonnet, which shows death as a rest after the labor of living. The stillness of the grave, the music of silence, is "almost Paradise." And from death to the Resurrection, says this Christian poet, is not long:

O earth, lie heavily upon her eyes;
Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching Earth;
Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth
With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.
She hath no questions, she hath no replies,
Hushed in and curtained with a blessed dearth
Of all that irked her from the hour of birth;
With stillness that is almost Paradise.
Darkness more clear than noonday holdeth her,
Silence more musical than any song;
Even her very heart has ceased to stir;
Until the morning of Eternity
Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;
And when she wakes she will not think it long.