Christina Rossetti’s poem “A Pause of Thought” explores the hope of the narrator that an unrequited love might return one day. Assuming the narrator is a woman, she takes us on an emotional journey of love and heartache. In the first stanza, she is expressing the heartbreak one has when the love they give to another person is not reciprocated. In the second line she says, “And hope deferred made my heart sick…” which is an example of personification (32). The narrator gives the heart, an inanimate object, a human characteristic and places it with the word ‘sick’ to emphasize the pain and discomfort she is going through. Next, in the second stanza she describes that her faith has not died, and she has hope that one day her love will come back. The narrator says in the eighth line how she “watched and waited,” and the repetition in the words allows the reader to relate to the repetitive action of longing for a love one to return (32). Following, in the third stanza the narrator is starting to give up on love, she states in lines ten and eleven, “My expectation wearies and shall cease; I will resign it now and be at peace” (32). No matter male or female, the pain of loving someone and waiting for them to love you back becomes exhausting. In the fourth stanza, the narrator fantasizes about what it would like to be married and be loved by the person she loves, but is beginning to come to understand the reality of the situation. There comes a point where enough is enough, and although one might want to hold on, the truth will eventually be seen. Lastly, in the fifth and final stanza the narrator has come to the realization that it is not healthy to be in the position she is in. She should not have to wait for a man to confess his love her for, and instead she should move on and find the love she truly deserves from someone else.
I think this poem is easily relatable to any individual who has been broken up with by someone they were still in love with or someone who is in love with someone but knows the other feelings are not reciprocated. It is a tough journey, and ones’ emotions are usually all over the place. This poem of Christina Rossetti’s is speaking to a wide audience, even though at the time it was written it was probably meant to be relatable to only women, since women were longing to be loved and get married.
Rossetti, Christina. “A Pause of Thought.” Goblin Market and Other Poems. Ed. Candace Ward. New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 2004. Print.