Not in thy body is thy life at all

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s sonnet Life-in-Love fascinates me, especially when read with knowledge of two great loves in his life: Elizabeth Siddal and Jane Morris.   The first two lines suggest that his deceased lover’s life has somehow migrated into the body of his new love: Not in thy body is thy life at all/But in…
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I Lock My Door Upon Myself

  Fernand Khnopff was not a Pre-Raphaelite painter, but I wanted to share his 1891 painting I Lock My Door Upon Myself which draws inspiration from Christina Rossetti’s poem Who Shall Deliver Me? Khnopff’s title comes specifically from this stanza: I lock my door upon myself, And bar them out; but who shall wall Self…
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Embracing Autumn

It is the first of November and we have followed All Hallow’s Eve into All Soul’s Day.  Autumn is a season that excites all the senses: the red and orange hues, the crisp breeze, and the general thrill that seems to accompany even the most mundane of tasks.  I think I prefer Autumn the most…
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The Maids of Elfin-Mere

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s first published illustration was The Maids of Elfen-Mere, drawn to illustrate a ballad by William Allingham titled “The Maids of Elphin-Mere”.  The Rossetti Archive includes it in their collection note: “DGR’s illustration was made for Allingham’s ballad “The Maids of Elfin-Mere”, which was published in The Music Master, A Love Story, and…
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The Keepsake

Painted in 1901, The Keepsake by Kate Bunce is based on Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem The Staff and Scrip.  The Staff and Scrip is a heroic and romantic tale of a pilgrim who finds himself in a land ruled by Queen Blanchelys.   The pilgrim is shocked by the state of this land and is told…
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Winter Reading

The weather has been unusually cold and yesterday’s snow made my little neighborhood look like a different and more enchanting place.   I loved yesterday.  It was a day filled with exhilarating romping in the snow with my children until night fell and we literally tumbled indoors feeling exhausted and content.   Then the night became one…
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Old and New Year Ditties by Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti’s Old and New Year Ditties strike me as somewhat melancholy: 1 New Year met me somewhat sad: Old Year leaves me tired, Stripped of favourite things I had Baulked of much desired: Yet farther on my road to-day God willing, farther on my way. New Year coming on apace What have you to…
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A Diamond or a Coal?

I enjoy this poem by Christina Rossetti  for its simplicity and for its deeper meaning.  Taken from her book Sing-Song  which was published in 1893.  You can see a digitized version of the first edition via Google Books. Illustrations by Arthur Hughes. An emerald is as green as grass; A ruby red as blood; A…
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The Day-Dream

The Day-Dream (for a picture) The thronged boughs of the shadowy sycamore Still bear young leaflets half the summer through ; From when the robin ‘gainst the unhidden blue Perched dark, till now, deep in the leafy core, The embowered throstle’s urgent wood-notes soar Through summer silence. Still the leaves come new ; Yet never…
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Willowwood

Willowwood, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (also see An Echo from Willowwood by Christina Rossetti I I sat with Love upon a woodside well, Leaning across the water, I and he; Nor ever did he speak nor looked at me, But touched his lute wherein was audible The certain secret thing he had to tell: Only…
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An Echo from Willowwood

An Echo from Willowwood by Christina Rossetti “O ye, all ye that walk in Willowwood.” (D.G. Rossetti) Two gazed into a pool, he gazed and she, Not hand in hand, yet heart in heart, I think, Pale and reluctant on the water’s brink, As on the brink of parting which must be. Each eyed the…
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Sunset Wings

Having just mentioned this poem in the post La Pia de Tolomei, I found it fitting to choose Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem Sunset Wings as the poem of the week. According to this page at the Rossetti Archive, the poems most striking images focus on a flock of starlings that DGR noticed during his sojourn…
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De Profundis, by Christina Rossetti

Oh why is heaven built so far, Oh why is earth set so remote? I cannot reach the nearest star That hangs afloat. I would not care to reach the moon, One round monotonous of change; Yet even she repeats her tune Beyond my range. I never watch the scatter’d fire Of stars, or sun’s…
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Winter: My Secret

It is bitterly cold here today. Which has obviously influenced my choice for this week’s poem. With chilly bones I present to you Winter: My Secret by Christina Rossetti. Winter: My Secret I tell my secret? No indeed, not I: Perhaps some day, who knows? But not today; it froze, and blows, and snows, And…
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Shameful Death, William Morris

Shameful Death by William Morris There were four of us about that bed; The mass-priest knelt at the side, I and his mother stood at the head, Over his feet lay the bride; We were quite sure that he was dead, Though his eyes were open wide. He did not die in the night, He…
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Near But Far Away, William Morris

Near But Far Away She wavered, stopped and turned, methought her eyes, The deep grey windows of her heart, were wet, Methought they softened with a new regret To note in mine unspoken miseries, And as a prayer from out my heart did rise And struggled on my lips in shame’s strong net, She stayed…
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A Discovery by Christina Rossetti

A Discovery Christina Rossetti “I thought your search was over.” – “So I thought.” – “But you are seeking still.” – “Yes, even so: Still seeking in mine own despite below That which in Heaven alone is found unsought; Still spending for that thing which is not bought.” — “Then chase no more this shifting…
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Autumn Idleness by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Self portrait of Dante Gabriel Rossetti This sunlight shames November where he grieves In dead red leaves, and will not let him shun The day, though bough with bough be over-run. But with a blessing every glade receives High salutation; while from hillock-eaves The deer gaze calling, dappled white and dun, As if, being foresters…
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Venus Verticordia

Venus Verticordia, painting and poem both by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Alexa Wilding posed for the painting, although I’ve read that Rossetti also used Fanny Cornforth. Venus Verticordia She hath the apple in her hand for thee, Yet almost in her heart would hold it back; She muses, with her eyes upon the track Of that…
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True Love

True Love, by Elizabeth Siddal Farewell, Earl Richard, Tender and brave; Kneeling I kiss The dust from thy grave. Pray for me, Richard, Lying alone With hands pleading earnestly, All in white stone. Soon must I leave thee This sweet summer tide; That other is waiting To claim his pale bride. Soon I’ll return to…
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