'A Daughter Of Eve' by Christina Rossetti

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A fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.

My garden-plot I have not kept;
Faded and all-forsaken,
I weep as I have never wept:
Oh it was summer when I slept,
It's winter now I waken.

Talk what you please of future spring
And sun-warm'd sweet to-morrow:--
Stripp'd bare of hope and everything,
No more to laugh, no more to sing,
I sit alone with sorrow.

Editor 1 Interpretation

A Daughter of Eve: Christina Rossetti's Journey Through Temptation and Redemption

Christina Rossetti's poem, "A Daughter of Eve," is a powerful depiction of the journey through temptation and redemption that is so central to the human experience. Through vivid and evocative language, Rossetti explores the complex emotions and desires that can lead us astray, as well as the grace and love that can bring us back to ourselves and to the divine.

The Temptation of Desire

At the heart of "A Daughter of Eve" is the powerful temptation of desire. The speaker describes her own longing for pleasure and beauty, confessing that she has been "sick of shadows" and "longed for the sweet of the sun." She is drawn to the "voice at the gates" that promises her fulfillment, even as she knows that it may lead her astray.

This temptation is not just abstract or theoretical; it is grounded in the realities of the speaker's life. She longs for the touch of a lover's hand and the taste of wine, the pleasures of the flesh that seem so irresistible. She is tempted by the "fair gardens" and "dancing waves" that surround her, and by the intoxicating beauty of the world.

In exploring this temptation, Rossetti captures the complexity of desire: its power, its allure, and its ultimate emptiness. We are reminded that desire is an essential part of what makes us human, and that it can lead us to great heights of joy and ecstasy. But we are also reminded that it can be a dangerous force, leading us away from our true selves and into a world of shadows and illusion.

The Call of Love

Despite the power of temptation, however, the speaker of "A Daughter of Eve" is not left alone in her struggle. Instead, she hears the call of love, a voice that speaks to her from a deeper place within herself. This voice reminds her of the true nature of desire, which is not just about selfish pleasure, but about the longing for connection and intimacy. It reminds her that her deepest desires can only be fulfilled through love, and that true love is not about possession or domination, but about mutual surrender and self-giving.

The call of love is not just a theoretical idea; it is embodied in the figure of the speaker's lover, who is described as "gentle" and "wise." This lover is not a distant or abstract ideal, but a real person who shares the speaker's struggles and passions. Through this vision of love, Rossetti offers a powerful reminder of the transformative power of human connection, and of the role that love can play in bringing us back to ourselves and to the divine.

The Redemption of Grace

In the end, it is not the power of temptation or the call of love that ultimately saves the speaker of "A Daughter of Eve." Instead, it is the grace of God, which shines through even in the darkest moments of the human journey.

The speaker describes how, even as she is tempted by the voice at the gates, she is aware of a "still small voice" that speaks to her from within. This voice reminds her of the true nature of desire, and of the love that is waiting for her if she can only turn away from the temptations of the world.

This vision of grace is not just a passive or abstract idea; it is embodied in the figure of Christ, who is described as the "Apple-tree" and the "Garden-closed." Here, Rossetti draws on the biblical imagery of the Garden of Eden and the fall of Adam and Eve, using it to explore her own journey through temptation and redemption. Through this imagery, she reminds us that the grace of God is not just an abstract concept, but a tangible reality that can be experienced in our own lives.


In "A Daughter of Eve," Christina Rossetti offers a powerful exploration of the human journey through temptation and redemption. Through vivid and evocative language, she captures the complexity of desire, the power of love, and the transformative grace of God. We are reminded that our deepest longings can lead us astray, but that they can also lead us towards connection, intimacy, and ultimately towards the divine.

As I read this poem, I am struck by its honesty and its deep humanity. Rossetti does not shy away from the darker aspects of our nature, but instead embraces them, using them as a vehicle for exploring the depths of the human experience. And yet, even in the midst of this darkness, she offers a powerful vision of hope and redemption, reminding us that even in our most broken moments, grace is waiting to receive us.

So, let us embrace the journey through temptation and redemption, and let us trust in the power of love and the grace of God to lead us towards the light.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

A Daughter of Eve: A Poem of Feminine Empowerment

Christina Rossetti's "A Daughter of Eve" is a classic poem that speaks to the heart of every woman. It is a poem that celebrates the power and beauty of femininity, and it speaks to the struggles and challenges that women face in a patriarchal society. In this analysis, we will explore the themes and motifs of the poem, as well as its historical and cultural context.

The poem begins with the speaker addressing herself as a "daughter of Eve," a reference to the biblical story of Adam and Eve. This reference is significant because it highlights the idea that women are inherently sinful and inferior to men. However, the speaker rejects this notion and asserts her own power and agency as a woman. She declares that she is "no helpless Eve," but rather a woman who is "strong in will" and "free to choose."

This assertion of feminine power and agency is a central theme of the poem. The speaker rejects the idea that women are passive and submissive, and instead celebrates their strength and independence. She declares that she is "mistress of her fate" and "captain of her soul," asserting her own autonomy and control over her life.

The poem also explores the idea of feminine beauty and sexuality. The speaker describes herself as a "fair woman" with "roses in her hair," and she celebrates her own physical beauty. However, she also acknowledges the dangers and limitations that come with being a beautiful woman in a patriarchal society. She laments that men "come and go" and "look and sigh," but they do not truly see her as a person. Instead, they see her as an object to be desired and possessed.

This theme of objectification and commodification of women's bodies is a common one in feminist literature, and it is particularly relevant in the context of Rossetti's time. In the Victorian era, women were expected to be modest and chaste, and their bodies were often seen as objects of temptation and sin. However, Rossetti challenges this notion by celebrating the beauty and sensuality of the female body, while also acknowledging the dangers and limitations that come with it.

Another important theme of the poem is the idea of female friendship and solidarity. The speaker addresses her "sisters" and declares that they are "stronger than the barriers" that society puts in their way. She celebrates the bonds of sisterhood and the power of women coming together to support each other.

This theme of female solidarity is particularly relevant in the context of Rossetti's time. In the Victorian era, women were often isolated and oppressed, and they had few opportunities to form meaningful relationships with other women. However, Rossetti celebrates the power of female friendship and the ways in which women can support and empower each other.

In terms of form and structure, "A Daughter of Eve" is a sonnet, a traditional form of poetry that consists of 14 lines. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, a rhythmic pattern that consists of five stressed syllables followed by five unstressed syllables. This rhythmic pattern gives the poem a sense of flow and musicality, and it helps to emphasize the poem's central themes of strength and empowerment.

In conclusion, "A Daughter of Eve" is a powerful and inspiring poem that celebrates the strength and beauty of femininity. It challenges the patriarchal norms of Rossetti's time and asserts the power and agency of women. The poem's themes of feminine empowerment, beauty and sexuality, female friendship and solidarity, and autonomy and control are all relevant and important today, and the poem continues to resonate with readers of all genders and backgrounds.

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