Collected Poetry and Prose

Collected Poetry and Prose

Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 464
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  • Book Info
    Collected Poetry and Prose
    Book Description:

    A major poet, writer, and painter, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was seen as the dominating cultural presence in the second half of the nineteenth century. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite movement, revised and reimagined Blake's project of marrying images and texts, and was a shaping influence on Modernist aesthetic ideas and practices. His translations are original poetical works in their own right.Jerome McGann, a leading figure in nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship, presents a generous selection of Rossetti's poetry, prose, and original translations. The collection, which includes important writings unavailable in any edition of Rossetti ever printed, is accompanied by McGann's learned and critically incisive commentaries and notes.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12945-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xxx)

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born in London on 12 May 1828 and died on Easter Day, 9 April 1882. He spent nearly his entire working life in the city of his birth. Indeed, he only left Great Britain three times, and in each case but the first quite briefly. Though his work is steeped in Italian traditions (both poetical and pictorial), Rossetti never visited Italy. He is first and always an English—more, a London—writer and artist.

    His father was the celebrated (and controversial) Dante scholar and Italian political exile Gabriele Rossetti (1783–1854). His mother, Frances (1800–1886),...

  4. PART ONE Poems (1870, 1881)
    (pp. 3-124)

    The blessed damozel leaned out

    From the gold bar of Heaven;

    Her eyes were deeper than the depth

    Of waters stilled at even;

    She had three lilies in her hand,

    And the stars in her hair were seven.

    Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,

    No wrought flowers did adorn,

    But a white rose of Mary’s gift,

    For service meetly worn;

    Her hair that lay along her back

    Was yellow like ripe corn.

    Her seemed she scarce had been a day

    One of God’s choristers;

    The wonder was not yet quite gone

    From that still look of hers;

    Albeit, to...

  5. PART TWO The House of Life (1870, 1881)
    (pp. 127-180)

    A Sonnet is a moment’s monument,—

    Memorial from the Soul’s eternity

    To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be,

    Whether for lustral rite or dire portent,

    Of its own arduous fulness reverent:

    Carve it in ivory or in ebony,

    As Day or Night may rule; and let Time see

    Its flowering crest impearled and orient.

    A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals

    The soul,— its converse, to what Power ’tis due:—

    Whether for tribute to the august appeals

    Of Life, or dower in Love’s high retinue,

    It serve; or, ’mid the dark wharf ’s cavernous breath,

    In Charon’s...

  6. PART THREE Sonnets for Pictures and Other Sonnets (1850, 1870, 1881)
    (pp. 183-196)

    Mother, is this the darkness of the end,

    The Shadow of Death? and is that outer sea

    Infinite imminent Eternity?

    And does the death-pang by man’s seed sustain’d

    In Time’s each instant cause thy face to bend

    Its silent prayer upon the Son, while he

    Blesses the dead with his hand silently

    To his long day which hours no more offend?

    Mother of grace, the pass is difficult,

    Keen as these rocks, and the bewildered souls

    Throng it like echoes, blindly shuddering through.

    Thy name, O Lord, each spirit’s voice extols,

    Whose peace abides in the dark avenue

    Amid the...

  7. PART FOUR Ballads and Lyrics (1881)
    (pp. 199-236)

    “Mary mine that art Mary’s Rose

    Come in to me from the garden-close.

    The sun sinks fast with the rising dew,

    And we marked not how the faint moon grew;

    But the hidden stars are calling you.

    “Tall Rose Mary, come to my side,

    And read the stars if you’d be a bride.

    In hours whose need was not your own,

    While you were a young maid yet ungrown,

    You’ve read the stars in the Beryl-stone.

    “Daughter, once more I bid you read;

    But now let it be for your own need:

    Because to-morrow, at break of day,

    To Holy...

  8. PART FIVE The Early Italian Poets (1861, 1874)
    (pp. 239-300)

    I need not dilate here on the characteristics of the first epoch of Italian Poetry; since the extent of my translated selections is sufficient to afford a complete view of it. Its great beauties may often remain unapproached in the versions here attempted; but, at the same time, its imperfections are not all to be charged to the translator. Among these I may refer to its limited range of subject and continual obscurity, as well as to its monotony in the use of rhymes or frequent substitution of assonances. But to compensate for much that is incomplete and inexperienced, these...

  9. PART SIX Other Translations
    (pp. 303-306)

    I’m better skill’d to frolic on a bed

    Than any man that goes upon two feet;

    And so, when I and certain moneys meet,

    You’ll fancy wit h what joys I shall be fed.

    Meanwhile (alas!) I can but long instead

    To be within her arms held close and sweet

    To whom without reserve and past retreat

    My soul and body and heart are subjected.

    For often, when my mind is all distraught

    With this whereof I make my boast, I pass

    The day in deaths which never seem enough;

    And all my blood within is boiling hot,

    Yet I’ve...

  10. PART SEVEN Prose
    (pp. 309-340)

    Before any knowledge of painting was brought to Florence, there were already painters in Lucca, and Pisa, and Arezzo, who feared God and loved the art. The workmen from Greece, whose trade it was to sell their own works in Italy and teach Italians to imitate them, had already found in rivals of the soil a skill that could forestall their lessons and cheapen their labours, more years than is supposed before the art came at all into Florence. The pre-eminence to which Cimabue was raised at once by his contemporaries, and which he still retains to a wide extent...

  11. PART EIGHT Posthumously Published and Uncollected Writings
    (pp. 343-376)

    The lilies stand before her like a screen

    Through which, upon this warm & solemn day,

    God surely hears. For there she kneels to pray

    Who bore our Bourne ofprayer,— Mary the Queen—

    She was Faith’s Present, parting what had been

    From what began with her and is for aye.

    On either side God’s twofold system lay,—

    With meek bowed face a Virgin prayed between.

    So prays she, and the Dove flies in to her,

    And she has turned. Within the porch is one

    Who looks as though deep awe made him to smile.

    Heavy with heat, the plants yield...

    (pp. 377-414)
    (pp. 415-424)