Study Guide

A Birthday Happiness

By Christina Rossetti

Happiness

Happiness and birthdays tend to go hand and hand (at least until you turn thirty). "A Birthday," true to form, is a super-happy poem. It's as though the speaker is singing the lines to us at the top of her lungs, all the while twirling around and around while wearing a giant toothy grin on her face. As annoying as some overly-happy folks can be (we're looking at you Richard Simmons), we really can't blame her here. She has love in her life, after all. We're happy for her—just, you know, not quite as happy as she is herself.

Questions About Happiness

  1. How does the speaker describe her happiness? What do those descriptions tell us about her and here relationship with her beloved?
  2. How might the happiness described in stanza 1 differ from the happiness of stanza 2?
  3. What signs, if any, indicate that the speaker might be anything less than happy? How can you tell?

Chew on This

The poem shows us that true happiness is possible with internal contentment.

The poem's message is actually that we must depend on others (even God) for our own happiness.