Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti Poems

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
...

Young Love lies sleeping
In May-time of the year,
Among the lilies,
Lapped in the tender light:
...

A little while a little love
The hour yet bears for thee and me
Who have not drawn the veil to see
If still our heaven be lit above.
...

The mother will not turn, who thinks she hears
Her nursling's speech first grow articulate;
But breathless with averted eyes elate
She sits, with open lips and open ears,
...

Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, --
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
...

The gloom that breathes upon me with these airs
Is like the drops which stike the traveller's brow
Who knows not, darkling, if they bring him now
Fresh storm, or be old rain the covert bears.
...

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
...

The blessed damozel lean'd out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters still'd at even;
...

AH! dear one, we were young so long,
It seemed that youth would never go,
For skies and trees were ever in song
And water in singing flow
...

(For one of his own pictures)

Her lute hangs shadowed in the apple-tree,
While flashing fingers weave the sweet-strung spell
...

Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
...

The wind flapped loose, the wind was still,
Shaken out dead from tree and hill:
I had walk’d on at the wind’s will,—
I sat now, for the wind was still.
...

Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep
That wavers with the spirit's wind:
...

Under the arch of Life, where love and death,
Terror and mystery, guard her shrine, I saw
Beauty enthroned; and though her gaze struck awe,
I drew it in as simply as my breath.
...

Master of the murmuring courts
Where the shapes of sleep convene!--
Lo! my spirit here exhorts
All the powers of thy demesne
...

AT length the then of my long hope was now;
Yet had my spirit an extreme unrest:
I knew the good from better was grown best
...

Not in thy body is thy life at all
But in this lady's lips and hands and eyes;
Through these she yields thee life that vivifies
What else were sorrow's servant and death's thrall.
...

As when two men have loved a woman well,
Each hating each, through Love's and Death's deceit;
Since not for either this stark marriage-sheet
And the long pauses of this wedding bell;
...

Beauty like hers is genius. Not the call
Of Homer's or of Dante's heart sublime, --
Not Michael's hand furrowing the zones of time, --
Is more with compassed mysteries musical;
...

Between the hands, between the brows,
Between the lips of Love-Lily,
A spirit is born whose birth endows
My blood with fire to burn through me;
...

Dante Gabriel Rossetti Biography

Rossetti was born, the son of an Italian patriot and political refugee and an English mother, in England. He was raised in an environment of cultural and political activity that, it has been suggested, was of more import to his learning than his formal education. This latter was constituted by a general education at King's College from 1836 to 1841 and, following drawing lessons at a school in central London at the age of fourteen, some time as a student at the Royal Academy from 1845 onwards. Here he studied painting with William Hollman Hunt and John Everett Millais who, in 1848, would set up the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with Rossetti, Rossetti's younger brother and three other students. The school's aspirations, in this its first incarnation, was to paint true to nature: a task pursued by way of minute attention to detail and the practice of painting out of doors. Rossetti's principal contribution to the Brotherhood was his insistence on linking poetry and painting, no doubt inspired in part by his earlier and avaricious readings of Keats, Shakespeare, Goethe, Sir Walter Scott, Byron, Edgar Allan Poe and, from 1847 onwards, the works of William Blake. 'The Germ' lasted however for only four issues, all published in 1850. In 1854 Rossetti met and gained an ally in the art critic John Ruskin and, two years later, meetings with Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris set a second phase of the Brotherhood into movement. In 1860 Rossetti married Elizabeth Siddal, also a writer and a painter, whom he had met ten years earlier in 1850. But, by this time she was an invalid and, after giving birth to a stillborn child, she died just two years later of a laudanum overdose. Rossetti had her interned with the only extent and complete manuscript of his poems, only to have her exhumed seven years later in order to retrieve his work. By this time he had moved to Chelsea where he was a joint tenant with Swinbourne and Meredith. In 1871 he moved again, this time to Kelmscott near Oxford, with William Morris and his wife Jane, the other great love of Rossetti's life whom he painted avidly. Rossetti collapsed in 1872 after which he never really regained his health. The last decade of his life was spent mostly in a state of semi-invalid hermitry.)

The Best Poem Of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Autumn Song

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti Comments

tsuchira ekimbo 03 October 2018

what's the title of this sonnet? ye ladies, walking past me with piteous eyed, who is the lady that lies prostrate here? Can this be even she my heart holds dear? Nay, if it be so, speak, and nothing hide.

1 0 Reply
Ian Fraser 30 November 2011

Sort out the genuine from the glib and cliché-ridden and you will find some good poetry, but it's hard graft. Rossetti is the perfect example of a poet who had immense facility with language. Always ask to what end it is put, however...

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