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Victorian Poems on Death

Victorian Poems on Death: In the Victorian Era, death was a very popular topic in many forms of art. There were numerous paintings, novels, and poems fixated on death and then the process of grieving. 

This was because death was very common at the time. Family members used to gather around the bed of the dying person and wait for their last words. The last words of the person on their deathbed were important.

Victorian Poems on Death

Painkillers were discouraged because the family members wanted to keep the persona as lucid as possible. Along with poets, authors too had a morbid fascination for death and devoted pages to a death scene.

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An excerpt from ‘Because I could not stop for death’.

Poems on death were very popular during the Victorian Era. Many famous poets of this era contributed to the genre. The poets didn’t speak about the dead or the funerals but the emotions and the practices attached to the funeral proceedings.

Victorian Mourning Poems

The poems are not of the elegiac pattern or sound melancholic. Rather than that, the poets explore other facets of death, the mourning process and the life after death. 

Poets have expressed the role of the conscience in the process of mourning and the way the people get over the loss of the person and deal with the grief. Christina Rossetti explored the role of gender and sexuality in death, funerals, and mourning.

Victorian Poems on Death

Rossetti wrote that gender and sexual interests affect the way people mourn. Poets also incorporated sound into their poems. These sounds included the sound of weeping, the mourners talking about the dead, the hymns being sung and the church bells. 

Poems About Life and Death

Very often, the poets wrote about the death of their close ones. This process helped them come to terms with the death of their loved ones. The writing was seen as a means of expressing grief. At times, writing about the life of the person helps to eulogies them and examine the relationship the poet had with the person.

For example, in Tennyson’s In Memorium, the poet examines his relationship with his friend who had recently passed away. He also tries to see writing as a way to ease his pain. In the poem, the reader can see how conflicted the poet was in expressing his feeling and his doubt with the right and wrong morals in writing about his friend. 

In the poems, the scenes were romanticised. Poets used imagery to describe the funerals, the sounds around them, the people and the mourners. 

Some Poems on Death during the Victorian Era were: 

The Eagle, by Alfred Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands,

Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;

He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt, he falls.

One Sea-Side Grave, Christina Rossetti

Unmindful of the roses,

Unmindful of the thorn,

A reaper tired Reposes

Among his gathered corn:

So might I, till the morn!

Cold as the cold Decembers,

Past as the days that set,

While the only one remembers

And all the rest forget, –

But one remembers yet.

Robert Browning, ‘Rhyme for a Child Viewing a Naked Venus in a Painting of “The Judgement of Paris”‘.

He gazed and gazed and gazed and gazed,

Amazed, amazed, amazed, amazed.

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