The Poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Poetry is often cited as our greatest use of words. The English language has well over a million of them and poets down the ages seem, at times, to make use of every single one. But often they use them in simple ways to describe anything and everything from landscapes to all aspects of the human condition. Poems can evoke within us an individual response that takes us by surprise; that opens our ears and eyes to very personal feelings.

Forget the idea of classic poetry being somehow dull and boring. It still has life, vibrancy and relevance to our lives today.

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti - An Introduction

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born on 12th May 1828 in London, England.

As a youth he was "self-possessed, articulate, passionate and charismatic" but also "ardent, poetic and feckless". Like his siblings, including famed poet Christina Georgina Rossetti, he most wished to be a poet but had a keen eye as a painter, having shown a great interest in Medieval Italian art.

Together with Williamn Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais they developed and founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Their mission? To reform English art and return to the detail, intense colours, and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art.

The brotherhood's magazine, The Germ, was first published in 1850 with Rossetti contributing a poem, "The Blessed Damozel", and a story about a fictional Italian artist inspired by a vision of a woman who bids him combine the human and the divine in his art.

Rossetti first met his future wife, Elizabeth Siddal, a model, in 1849, who was latter sitting for him and involved in an intense relationship.

By 1852 they withdrew from society, totally absorbed in each other. The lovers nicknamed each other; "Guggums" and "Dove".

In 1861, Rossetti together with William Morris became a founding partner in the decorative arts firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. Rossetti contributed designs for stained glass and other decorative objects.

Meanwhile his marriage to Lizzie was troubled. The terrible hurt of Rossetti’s affairs with other women had caused her stress leading to depression and other illnesses. She now began to take and become addicted to laudanum.

In 1861, Lizzie became pregnant but the resultant birth was a stillborn daughter. Lizzie’s post-partum depression was followed by an overdose of laudanum the following year.

Rossetti was devastated and, at her funeral in Highgate Cemetery, he buried the bulk of his unpublished poems with her body.

Poetry and painting are closely entwined in Rossetti's work. He frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures, while also creating art to illustrate poems such as "Goblin Market" by his sister.

His personal life was closely woven into his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses. William Morris’s wife, Jane, regularly sat for him during the next few years, and it was said she "consumed and obsessed him in paint, poetry, and life".

During these years, Rossetti was prevailed upon by friends to exhume his poems from his wife's grave which he eventually did, collating and publishing them in 1870.

Their eroticism and sensuality caused much offence. One, "Nuptial Sleep", described a couple falling asleep after sex. It was part the sonnet sequence The House of Life, a complex series tracing the physical and spiritual development of an intimate relationship.

Rossetti beautifully described the sonnet form as a "moment's monument". And these were his crowning literary achievement.

Toward the end of his life, he sank into a morbid state, shadowed by addiction to chloral hydrate and increasing mental instability. He spent his last years as a recluse at Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, London and died on Easter Sunday on 9th April, 1882.

Index of Contents

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - An Introduction

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - The Sonnet

Love Enthroned by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Bridal Birth by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet III - Love's Testament

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet IV - Lovesight

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - The Kiss

Nupital Sleep by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet VIa - Supreme Surrender

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet VII - Supreme Surrender

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet VIII - Love's Lovers

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet XX - Gracious Moonlight

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet XXVI - Mid-Rapture

Sonnet XXVII. Vain Longing - The One Hope by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet XXIX - The Moonstar

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet XXXVI - Life-in-Love

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sonnet XXXVII - The Love Moon

Dante Gabriel Rosetti - The Willwood Sonnets. Sonnet I

Willow Wood - Sonnet II by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Willow Wood - Sonnet III by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Willow Wood - Sonnet IV by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sudden Light

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sunset Wings

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - At the Sunrise, 1848

Dante Gabriel Rosetti - Autumn Song

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - On Refusal of Aid Between Natrions

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - On The Road To Waterloo, 17th October (En Vigilante, 2 Hours)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - After the German Subjugation of France, 1871

Troy Town by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Sacrament Hymn

Vox Eccalasie by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

My Sister's Sleep by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Genius in Beauty by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Shakespeare

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - John Keats

The Sea Limits By Dante Gabriel Rossetti

On the Site of a Mulberry Tree by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Silent Noon by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Song and Music

Eden Bower by Dante Gabrielr Rossetti

The Blessed Damozel by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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