In my previous post, I stated that Christina Rossetti "is often thought of as a melancholy poet." After further thought, I wish to offer an addendum to that statement. I think that it is dangerous to make generalizations about a poet. I do not find Rossetti's poetry to be "melancholy." And I do not intend to frighten anyone off from her poetry with the suggestion that all is gloom.
As I said, longing and loss and resignation are not uncommon in her poetry, but -- as is the case with all good poetry -- the bare subject matter is transformed into something else when the right words come together, something that is far from "melancholy." At this point, I am tempted to go off on a verbal and philosophical flight and quote Keats: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." I'll stay away from that, but something in that neighborhood does happen in a fine poem.
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862).
In a note to the poem (Christina Rossetti, The Complete Poems, page 892), Betty Flowers suggests that it may have some affinities with Shakespeare's Sonnet LXXI:
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell;
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O if (I say) you look upon this verse,
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.