Christina Rossetti begins her poem “Sister Maude” with two similar inquiries. inquiring who told her parents about her ‘shame’ . We do non cognize at this point what the narrator’s shame is. but it bit by bit becomes clear that she was holding an matter with a fine-looking adult male. In Victorian times when Rossetti was composing. this would surely hold been considered black. The storyteller answers the inquiries in the first quatrain. calling her sister Maude as the individual who told her parents what was go oning. The quatrain ends with the narrator’s remark that Maude was descrying on her sister ; the word ‘lurked’ conveys the feeling of sneakiness and craft. The fact that the storyteller says ‘who but Maude’ when replying the inquiries shows that no-one else would hold betrayed the storyteller in this manner. that Maude was a ugly sister. The 2nd quatrain focal points on the narrator’s lover. The word ‘cold’ is emphasised by its place as the initial word. and besides by its repeat in the simile ‘as cold as stone’ in the first line. The phrase ‘Cold he lies’ Tells us that he is now dead. In the 2nd line of this quatrain. Rossetti uses initial rhyme in ‘clotted curls’ . a phrase that besides echoes the initial sound of ‘cold’ .
The description suggests that his one time beautiful hair is now perchance congealed with blood. Again in this quatrain’s 3rd line we find alliteration with the difficult ‘c’ sound in the phrase ‘comeliest corpse’ . Even in decease. the adult male is really fine-looking. so fine-looking that the concluding line of the quatrain tells us that he could be the lover of a queen. In the 3rd quatrain the storyteller speaks straight to her sister. wishing that Maude had spared the psyche of the adult male every bit good as the two sisters. We now understand that it was Maude who murdered the adult male. She was evidently covetous. and it appears that the storyteller was more attractive than Maude. The storyteller conveys this thought in stating that even if she had ne’er been born. the adult male would non hold considered holding an matter with Maude. The storyteller turns to the destiny of her household in the 4th quatrain. She knows that her male parent is at peace in Eden. or ‘Paradise’ . whereas her female parent delaies at its gate. This may intend that her female parent has merely late died. The storyteller knows. nevertheless. that Sister Maude will ne’er travel to heaven because she has committed slaying: she will ‘get no sleep’ .
The phrase ‘Either early or late’ that concludes the quatrain likely means that Maude is still alive. but her The concluding stanza of ‘Sister Maude’ stands out as it has six lines compared to the four lines of the old stanzas. The storyteller one time once more refers to her parents: she believes that her male parent in heaven possibly wears ‘a aureate crown’ . conveying the thought that he must hold lived an admirable life. Again we have the feeling that her female parent may be non long dead. as she ‘may win’ a Crown in Eden. The storyteller so focuses on herself and her lover. She believes that even though they were holding an matter. holding been cruelly murdered they may be allowed to travel to heaven if they ‘knocked at Heaven-gate’ .
In the concluding two lines of the verse form. the storyteller one time once more references Sister Maude straight. reiterating her name in the penultimate line. She ends the verse form by stating Maude in no unsure footings that she will hold to populate. or ‘Bide’ . ‘with decease and sin’ . The word ‘you’ is emphasised with italics. pulling attending to the contrast between the destiny of Maude and the remainder of the household. The poem’s construction is regular in that all but the concluding stanza are quatrains ; the last stanza has six lines. leting Rossetti to notice on the destiny of her parents. her lover. herself and eventually her sister. The fact that the first and 3rd lines have no rimes gives Rossetti more freedom in her pick of vocabulary.