Christina Rossetti, the younger sister of renowned Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was a talented and accomplished poet. Deeply religious, she also suffered from depression. Her first recorded nervous breakdown occurred at 14, forcing her to leave school. For the rest of her life the cycle of anxiety over her financial situation, depression, breakdown, and resulting illness would plague her.
To learn more about Florence Harrison, the illustrator of many of her poems, please visit florence harrison. It’s a well researched site that serves to clear up many misconceptions about Ms. Harrison’s identity as well as presenting examples of her work and an analysis of her technique.
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.”
Straightway to her feet,
Sang him silent where he knelt
In eager anguish sweet.
But when the clear voice died away,
When longest echoes died,
He stood up like a royal man
And claimed her for his bride.
So three maids were wooed and won
In a brief May-tide,
Long ago and long ago. “
No chill across the tablecloth;
I all-forgotten shivered, sadTo stay and yet to part how loth:I passed from the familiar room,I who from love had passed away,Like the remembrance of a guestThat tarrieth but a day.”
“Young Love lies drowsing
Away to poppied death;
Cool shadows deepen
Across the sleeping face:
So fails the summer
With warm, delicious breath;
And what hath autumn
To give us in its place?”
Resolved to fathom these your secret ways:
But, sift them as I will,
Your ways are secret still.”
~The Queen of Hearts