Summary

Lines 1–4

In the first line, the speaker begs her lover to remember her. "Remember me when I am gone away," she says, giving the reader no clear indication of exactly when or how she is going to die. In fact, she never directly states that she is dying, instead referring to a "silent land," which the reader assumes is a metaphor for death. This land doesn't seem to correlate to a specific place, and the word "silent" in this context precludes the possibility of the silent land being Heaven or Hell, which in their myriad, sometimes contradictory descriptions, have rarely been called "silent." Readers are left with no means of interpreting "silent land" as anything other than a cemetery, a grave, or death itself. The speaker further emphasizes her death in the line "When you can no more hold me by the hand." Her death will destroy the intimacy between them, breaking their physical connection and separating her spirit from her body. This distinction between the physical and the spiritual self is important. For the speaker to travel to that "silent land" without her body, she must have a soul or spiritual self that can transcend death. This spiritual self will not stop her from dying, however, nor will it prevent the two lovers from being separated. In the fourth line, the speaker suggests that death isn't the only thing working to part them. The words "half turn to go yet turning to stay" indicate that the speaker had doubts about the relationship and that when she tried to leave, her beloved stopped her.

Lines 5–8

In line five, the speaker repeats the first words of the poem: "Remember me." This time, she wants her beloved to remember her even when the "future that [he] plann'd" doesn't happen. From this line, we learn just how serious the lovers are; they have already planned a future together that probably includes marriage (if they aren't married already). There is some indication, however, that their relationship is...

(The entire section is 763 words.)

Additional Summary

Remember cover image

Lines 1–2
The opening two lines of Rossetti’s sonnet “Remember” introduce the idea of separation, but whether the speaker’s eminent departure is because she has chosen to leave her lover or because she is dying is not immediately clear. As the poem unfolds, the reader understands that death will divide the couple, and the initial hint of that is the phrase “silent land” to describe the place the speaker is going. The words seem to define a cemetery or individual grave more than heaven, and “silent,” in particular, implies a dormant state—an existence and a place that are neither joyous nor painful, pleasant nor sad. The opening lines also portray the speaker’s desire to be remembered, and she requests her lover to do just that. This request will become more significant at the end of the poem when the dying woman appears to do an about-face with what she asks of him.

Lines 3–4
Line 3 simply furthers the idea of the couple’s time together coming to an end, describing their physical separation when death will remove her from his touch. Line 4, however, presents an interesting twist in the situation. If Rossetti is writing only about the sadness of a loving man and woman being torn apart by one’s actual death, then the woman—the one dying—would not have the option of turning “to go yet turning stay.” The implication here is that the death theme is not the only one at work. Caught between two opposites, going and staying, the speaker reveals her uncertainty in whether she really loves the man to whom she is speaking. Her unsure feelings become clearer in the latter part of the poem.

Lines 5–6
In line 5, the woman once again requests that her lover remember her “when no more day by day” he can talk to her about the future he was planning for the both of them. Notice here that the speaker says “our future that you planned,” implying that she may not have given as much thought to staying together for the rest of their lives as he had.

Lines 7–8
These are the last two lines of the “octave,” or a sonnet’s first eight lines that...

(The entire section is 874 words.)