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'O Cousin Kate' - Poem Analysis

A description & analysis of 'O Cousin Kate' by Christina Georgina Rossetti
by

Tyler Bryce

on 2 October 2011

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Transcript of 'O Cousin Kate' - Poem Analysis

Cousin Kate
Christina Rosetti
(5th December 1830 – 29th December 1894)
By Tyler & Eve
I was a cottage maiden
Hardened bu sun and air,
Contented with my cottage mates,
Not mindful I was fair.
New character:
Women who lives in a cottage (main character)
Worked outside
Happy working with friends
Unknowingly beautiful
Why did a great lord find me out,
And praise my flaxen hair?
Why did a great lord find me out,
To fill my heart with care?
New character: Lord of the land.
Lord is praising
her for her looks
"Why did he find me?"
The lord made her
care about him.
He lured me to his palace home-
Woe's me for joy therefor-
To lead a shameless shameful life,
His plaything and his love.
Lord lured her
to his home.

'lured' implys
something bad
is about to
happen
Crying either because she is happy or sad because the joy of her old life has gone?
ashamed. but we don't know why?
The lord was
using her.
He wore me like a silken knot,
He changed me like a glove;
So now I moan, an unclean thing,
Who might have been a dove.
She thought the lord
loved her. Mourning
over life situation.

unclean = been used.
She could of been pure like a dove. She could of got a husband (lord)
O Lady Kate, my cousin Kate,
You grew more fair than I:
He saw you at your father's gate,
Chose you, and cast me by.
New character - Kate. (Cousin of main character)
Lady of the land?
You became
more beautiful
to him than I
was
Lord found
Kate at her father's gate.
"Chose you and forgot about me"
He watched your steps along the lane,
Your work among the rye;
He lifted you from mean estate
To sit with him on high.
The lord adored Kate!
He watched her work.
The lord took Kate away from the hard life on the estate.

estate = lord's land
To sit next to him to be a
lady of the land.
Because you were so good and pure
He bound you with his ring:
The neighbours call you good and pure,
Call me an outcast thing.
Kate was a virgin = pure
The lord
MARRIED Kate!
Good reputation
to everyone
Everyone calls the main character bad
names. 'thing' is objectifying her.
This shows the classic ideaology of
women in this period.
Even so I sit and howl in dust,
You sit in gold and sing:
Now which of us has tenderer heart?
You had the stronger wing.

Main character is crying alone.
Kate's life is good/happy
tenderer heart = more caring.
Is it the main character because she let Kate have the lord without a fight? Or Kate because she loves the lord more?
Main character thought that Kate had the advantage
O cousin Kate, my love was true,
Your love was writ in sand:
If he had fooled not me but you,
If you stood where I stand,
The main character
truly loved the lord
Kate's love can be changed/not true
If the roles were reversed...
He'd not have won me with his love
Nor bought me with his land;
I would have spit in his face
And not have taken his hand.
She would of rejected the lord because she would of known there was some other women in his life.
The lord would not
of won the main
character over by
the amount of land
the lord had.
She would of spat in the lords face.
And not of taken his hand in marriage.
Yet I've a gift you have not got,
And seem not like to get:
For all your clothes and wedding-ring.
I've little doubt you fret.
Main character has something Kate does not have.
It's a gift Kate
cannot have even
with her posh
clothes and
wedding ring
I have little doubt that Kate worries
My fair-haired son, my shame, my pride,
Cling closer, closer yet:
Your father would give lands for one
to wear his coronet.

In this section, the main character is talking to her son
New character:
child of the lord and main character

Shame - he was born out
of wedlock

Pride - she has a baby
(someone to love)

"Come closer"
The lord would give all
his land for the child to
be his male heir.
Full transcript