Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Woodspurge by Dante Gabriel Rossetti analysis

I have tried to focus primarily on the natural aspect in most of the IGCSE set work this year. This is just a brief analysis to give you some well rounded knowledge of the Woodspurge. 

The Woodspurge by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The wind flapp'd loose, the wind was still
Shaken out dead from the tree and hill
I had walk'd on at the wind's will , -
I sat now, for the wind was still.

Between my knees my forehead was, - 
My lips, drawn in, said not Alas!
My hair was over in the grass,
My naked ears heard the day pass. 

My eyes, wide open, had the run
Of some ten weeds to fix upon,
Among those few, out of the sun
The woodspurge flower'd , three cups in one.

From perfect grief there need not be
Wisdom or even memory:
One thing then learnt remains to me, -
The woodspurge has a cup of three.
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Rossetti does not focus on nature at all in this poem even though a natural object is the title, instead Rossetti uses the natural aspect present in this poem as tool to force the reader to acknowledge the narrator's state of mind.

The narrator is initially shown as wandering aimlessly and is passive in his movement since he is drifting on the wind, allowing the wind, this natural entity, to dictate his movements. This shows the reader the narrator's blank, aimless, almost defeated state of mind.

Nature is then later re-introduced in the form of the woodspurge, this weed, having 'three cups in one', three flowers in one. This woodspurge distracts the man from his deep emotional state of despair. The 'three cups in one' could be a metaphor of  the holy trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit and therefore show the relationship between nature and religion, as natural aspects are used to guide the narrator to and re-affirm his faith.

The woodspurge and in turn, nature, is used to draw the man away from despair and perhaps to a rekindled faith. Nature is portrayed as a tool of faith and almost entirely throughout the poem, the poet uses it to allow the reader to acknowledge the narrator's state of mind, from aimlessness and despair to hope, faith and even a cleansing of past grief. 

As always I would love to hear your thoughts, especially in the way you perceived this poem. Cheers 


  1. Really good summary! Your site has amazing analysis' and I always come here :)

  2. thanks for the succinct but really meaningful and helpful analysis!

  3. really good but i wanted more analysis