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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Dante Gabriel Rossetti illustrates Edgar Allan Poe’s The Sleeper

“Poe is a key figure in the development of DGR’s literary style as well. The second-order romanticism developed in Poe’s imaginative writings, and explicated in essays like “The Poetic Principle” and “The Philosophy of Composition”, is recapitulated in DGR’s work, where the key is primarily Dantean rather than (as in Poe) Shelleyan/Byronic.”–RossettiArchive.com The book Dante…
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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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Christina Rossetti: Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

When discussing poetry and the Pre-Raphaelites, it is impossible not to think of Christina Rossetti.  Her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and used Christina as a model in some of his early Pre-Raphaelite works (The Girlhood of Mary Virgin and Ecce Ancilla Domini). The poem I’ve…
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Pre-Raphaelite Poetry: Proserpine

As Rossetti often did, he wrote a sonnet to accompany his striking painting of Proserpine (model: Jane Morris) Afar away the light that brings cold cheer Unto this wall, – one instant and no more Admitted at my distant palace-door Afar the flowers of Enna from this drear Dire fruit, which, tasted once, must thrall…
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Love and Hate

I chose this poem because I find it to be one of  the most expressive of Elizabeth Siddal’s poems. The bitterness is palpable. With all the force of “blasts of heaven to take thee down”, Siddal unleashes her rage. I have no doubt that this poem finds its roots in the relationship between Lizzie and…
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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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Early Death

Since I’m celebrating the fifth anniversary of LizzieSiddal.com this week, I’ve chosen one of her poems as this week’s feature. Early Death is a particularly poignant title for a poem, given Lizzie’s own untimely death from an overdose of Laudanum. Early Death by Elizabeth Siddal Oh grieve not with thy bitter tears The life that…
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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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The Woodsman’s Daughter

Painted by Sir John Everett Millais, The Woodsman’s Daughter is based on a poem by Coventry Patmore. The following lines from Patmore’s poem were displayed with the painting when first exhibited at the Royal Academy: She went merely to think she help’d; And, whilst he hack’d and saw’d, The rich Squire’s son, a young boy…
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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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