'At Home' - Synopsis and commentary


A dead woman explains how, invisible, she returned to a house full of her living friends. These friends look forward to the trip they have planned and anticipate reaching ‘the eyrie-seat' the following day before the tide turns. An eyrie is a residence or retreat occupying an elevated position or a high vantage point. Whilst the friends look forward to reaching a high vantage point so they can observe the beauty of the coast-line, they remain unaware that the speaker has reached a vantage point even higher-that of death.

Investigating At Home

  • How surprising do you find the fact that the speaker of At Home is already dead?
    • How does it change the way you read the rest of the poem?
  • How do you find the presence of the speaker - eerie, comforting, or ghost-like and disturbing?


Rossetti composed At Home in 1858 and first published it in Goblin Market and Other Poems in 1862.

Dead women

Many of Rossetti's poems are spoken from the vantage point of dead women. This creates a detached presentation of an event or a conversation and enables the speaker to observe events from a distance that would otherwise have been unavailable.

Past, present and future perspectives

Throughout the poem, the speaker compares the past to the present and the future. ‘Tomorrow and today' her friends cry whilst she remains forgotten and ‘of yesterday' (lines 23-4). By declaring that each of her friends remained ‘loved' (line 8) whilst she was ‘all-forgotten' (line 27), she suggests that, for her, death has meant an absence of love and an isolation from the happiness her friends enjoy.

Investigating At Home

  • Think about the emotions the speaker is expressing. Do you think she is angry with her friends, or do you think that she accepts their happiness?
  • What comments does the poem make about happiness and what causes it?
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