"My heart is like a singing bird"
Christina Rossetti, painted by her brother
Public DomainChristina Rossetti, painted by her brother - Credit: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

This is the first line of the verse that conveys the essence of  female pre-war Edwardian England to Virginia Woolf's narrator.

The verse belongs to a two-verse poem entitled 'A Birthday', by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

'Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.'

Full text

Christina Georgina Rossetti was an English Victorian poet well-known for her romantic and religious poems as well as for some children's verse. She was the sister of the Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and was the model for the Virgin Mary in his 'The Girlhood of Mary Virgin'



One of her best known poems is 'Remember', a Petrarchan sonnet in which the poet  'speaks' to someone who loves her about how she would wish to be thought about after her death. Understandably, it is often chosen as a poem to be read at funerals. 

References to it form a significant part of the storyline in the 1955 film noir Kiss me Deadly.