Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882 / London / England)

The Ballad of Dead Ladies


Tell me now in what hidden way is
Lady Flora the lovely Roman?
Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thais,
Neither of them the fairer woman?
Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
Only heard on river and mere--
She whose beauty was more than human?--
But where are the snows of yester-year?

Where's Heloise, the learned nun,
For whose sake Abeillard, I ween,
Lost manhood and put priesthood on?
(From Love he won such dule and teen!)
And where, I pray you, is the Queen
Who willed that Buridan should steer
Sewed in a sack's mouth down the Seine?--
But where are the snows of yester-year?

White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies,
With a voice like any mermaiden--
Bertha Broadfoot, Beatrice, Alice,
And Ermengarde the lady of Maine--
And that good Joan whom Englishmen
At Rouen doomed and burned her there--
Mother of God, where are they then?--
But where are the snows of yester-year?

Nay, never ask this week, fair lord,
Where they are gone, nor yet this year,
Except with this for an overword--
But where are the snows of yester-year?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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