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Dante Gabriel Rossetti

DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI

1828 Born in London, the son of an Italian poet-patriot who had fled to London as a political exile.

1835 Matriculated at King's College School for the study of art.

1860 Married Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal whom he had loved since 1850; two years later she died. In a frenzy of grief he committed the manuscript of some new poems to her casket. These were recovered, with his permission, by his friends in 1869.

1870 Published Poems a new edition of these appeared in 1881.

1881 Published Ballads and Sonnets

1882 Dante Gabriel Rossetti died.

Sonnet III
Love's Testament

To thou who at Love's hour ecstatically,
Unto my heart dost ever more present,
Clothes with his fire, thy heart his testament;
Whom I have neared and felt thy breath to be
The inmost incense of his sanctuary;
Who without speech hast owned him, and, intent
Upon his will, they life with mine hast blent,
And murmured, "I am thine, thou 'rt one with me!"
O what from thee the grace, to me the prize,
And what to Love the glory,--when the whole
Of the deep stair thou tread'st to the dim shoal
And weary water of the place of sighs,
And there dost work deliverance, as thine eyes
Draw up my prisoned spirit to thy soul!


Sonnet IV

Lovesight

When do I see thee most, beloved one?
When in the light the spirits of mine eyes
Before thy face, their altar, solemnize
The workship of that Love through thee made known?
Or when in the dusk hours, (we two alone,)
Close-kissed and eloquent of still replies
The twilight-hidden glimmering visage lies,
And my soul only sees thy soul its own?
O lovem my love! if I no more should see
Thyself, nor on the earth the shadow of thee,
Nor image of thine eyes in any spring,--
How then should sound upon Life's darkening slope
The ground-whirl of the perished leavews of Hope,
The wind of Death's imperishable wing?

Sonnet XI
The Love-Letter Warmed by her hand and shadowed by her hair
As close she leaned and poured her heart through thee,
Whereof the articulate throbs accompany
The smooth black stream that makes thy whiteness fair,--
Sweet fluttering sheet, even of her breath aware,--
Oh let thy silent song disclose to me
That soul wherewith her lips and eyes agree
Like married music in Love's answering air.
Fain had I watched her when, at some fond thought,
Her bosom to the writing closelier press'd,
And her breast's secrets peered into her breast;
When, through eyes raised an instant, her soul sought
My soul, and from the sudden confluence caught
The words that made her love the loveliest.

Sonnet XIII
Youth's Antiphone

"I love you, sweet" how can you ever learn
How much I love you?" "You I love even so,
And so I learn it." "Sweet, you cannot know
How fair you are." "If fair enough to earn
Your love, so much is all my love's concern."
"My love grows hourly, sweet." "Mine too doth grow,
Yet love seemed full so many hours ago!"
Thus lovers speak, till kisses claim their turn.
Ah! happy they to whom such words as these
In youth have served for speech the whole day long,
Hour after hour, remote from the world's throng,
Work, contest, fame, all life's confederate pease,--
What while Love breated in sighs and silences
Through two blent souls one rapturous undersong.

Sonnet XL
Severed Selves

Two seperate divided silences,
Which, brought together, would find loving voice;
Two glances, which together would rejoice
In love, now lost like stars beyong dark trees;
Two hands apart whose touch alone gives ease;
Two bosoms which, heart-shrined with mutual flame,
Would, meeting in one clasp, be made same;
Two souls, the shores wave-mocked of sundering seas;
Such are we now. Ah! may our hope forecast
Indeed one hour again, when on this stream
Of darkened love once more the light shall gleam?
An hour how slow to come, how quickly past,
Faint as shed flowers, the attenuated dream

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