xt7qjq0stw34_3335 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/1997ms474.dao.xml unknown archival material 1997ms474 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. W. Hugh Peal manuscript collection Christina Rossetti clippings text 43.94 Cubic Feet 86 boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 22 items Poor-Good Peal accession no. 11453. Christina Rossetti clippings 2017 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/1997ms474/Box_32/Folder_97/Multipage11506.pdf 1894-1895, undated 1895 1894-1895, undated section false xt7qjq0stw34_3335 xt7qjq0stw34  



Lady, we would behold thee moving bright
As Beatrice or Matilda ’inid the trees.
Alas. thy moan was as a moan for ease
And passes through cool Shadows to the night.
Fleeing from love, hadst thou not poet’s right
To slip into tho universe? The seas
Are fathomless to rivers drowned in these,
And sorrow is secure in leafy light.
Ah. had this secret touched thee, in a tomb
Thou hadst- not buried thy enchanting self.
As happy Syrinx murmuring with the wind
01' Daphne thrilled through all her mystic
From safe recess as genius or as elf
Thou hudst breathed joy in earth and in
thy kind.
—Michae1 Field in Academy.




Christina Rossetti. A Biographical and
Critical Study. By Muckeuz'e Bell. Rob-
erts Brothers, Boston.

In themidst of the central roar and bustle
of London Christina Rossetti lived as quietly
as the poet’s Lucy, who “dwelt among the

.untrodden ways beside thesprings of Dovo. ”

The life spent in the service of God and in
the practice of her art was one 01’ absolute
devotion, and in the double service them
was: never either contradiction or strife. It
would seem then that a life of such volun-
tury sequestration would offer iitle material
to the biographer, and in going through
this bool; the question arises how a volume
of 300 pages could ever have been compiled
by even the most industrious gloaner of the
trivial and non-esxontiul.

Christina Rossetti was born in Inndon
in December. 1830. the youngest. member in
that distinguished family. Retired in the
most stimulating. artistic and literary at-
mosphere of the day, the companion of her
gifted and neurotic brother, she also was, by
temperament, a mystic andndevotee, but
she breathed. ufresher air than he, and oil
hurtful germs and erratic tendencies were
consumedln the pure flame of an exalted
asceilcism. She was rather of the stuff of
which martyrs are made, and it is probable
that if her duty had not lain in fam-
ily ties she would have assumed the
vows of the Sisterhood of the Anglican
Church. Twice. Mr. Bell informs us, she
wusot’lered marriage; both ofier: were re-
,iected on account of samples of counclence.
Twice she went abroad, but she carried her
habits of seclusion with her and saw things
only through her conventual vision. She
was attacked by serious illness in early mid-
dle life, and on her recovery Ihc became
more than ever lost in a semi-cloiatral life.
A constant sufl‘erer in her letter days, her
range of outside activity lay in her walk
from her house in Torrington Square to the
church in Bloomsbury and back. During
this time Mr. Bell grew most intimate with
her, and tells us from his own knowledge
of her dailvlii'e and surroundings. In De-
camber,1894, she died in the some remote
and unobtrusive seclusion, and in the same
ecstacy of devotion as that in which her
shadowed life had been passed.

“She lived unknown, and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be. ”

For this uneventful and outwardly meagre
lifeMr. Bell has attempted too much. Ila
gives extracts from u mass of letters, and
succeeds only in convincing us that Miss
Rossetti was a. poor. rather tame, corres-
pondent, and put little of her deeper self
into her letters. His book might have com-
pressed with great gain in interest and liter-
ary value to one-third its size, and even
then it. would have failed to give an ade-
quate picture of a. woman so still, of such
nunlllzo withdrawal, so exquisitely salt-
poised. A formal biography has little to do
with such unique natures. Christina Ror-
settl may be remembered by the greater
number as: the model for the ‘head
of the Virgin in Dante Rossetli’s
two most rarely spiritual pictures, the
"Girlhood of Mary Virgin" and “Econ Au-
cilia Domini." Toasmaller audience she
lives in the few exquisite verses contained
in one small book. The transcendent
beauties of these poems lmve won the recog-
nition of all whose souls are “touched to
flner issues,” and they place Miss Rossetti
among the truest poets of the Victorian

If Mr. Bell succeeds in drawing wider at-
tention to Miss Rossetti’s poetic genius, he
shall have done good service to letters, and
may be forgiven the prolix and often painful
details oi this biography.




The English literary press is strikingly unanimous in
appreciation of Christina Rossetti's great gifts, and in
expression of its sense of the loss to English litera-
ture in her death. The Lz‘lemry World writes as

“Looking to the quality of her poetry, Miss Rossetti
attained to the level, at least, of Mrs. Browning, which
means that she has been excelled by no English woman poet.
The most exquisite sense of music in the choice and colloca-
tion of words, and an etherealized imagination soaring from
the sphere of the earthly to that of the spiritual, are the
chai'acteii tics of her poems.”

This passage is from T/ze Academy .'

“In perfection of form and melody of words, her lyrics
are comparable to those of Shelley: they set themselves to
mental music as they are being read. No poet of the time,
not Tennyson or Swinburne—though their range may be far
wider—excels her in the mere matter of technique. None
has such a pure note, such a bird-like sweetness."

T115 AI/Ienawm, after grouping Christina Rossetti
with Walter Pater as the two greatest English writers
of those who have died during the year, says of her
that she

“ Was not merely the greatest poet among Englishwomen
of our day, she was a writer who can be classed with all but
the very greatest poets of the century. Her art was of that
admirable kind which conceals the process of art; never
was verse so careful to seem careless; and she was not less
remarkable for the passionate intensity of her emotion—gen-
erally religious emotion—than for the intense simplicity of
its expression.”

And 7/13 Saturday Review begins its long and
sympathetic editorial article with the following:

“ By the death of Christina Rossetti, literature, and not
English literature alone, loses the one great modern poetess.
There is another English poétess, indeed, who has gained a
wider fame; but the fame of Mrs. Browning, like that of her
contemporary, and, one might almost say, companion, George
Sand, was of t)o immediate and temporary a kind to last.
The very feminine, very emotional, work of Mrs. Browning,
which was really, in the last or first result, only literature of
the L. E. L order carried to its furthest limits, roused a sort
of womanly enthusiasm, in precisely the same way as the
equally feminine, equally emotional, work of George Sand.
In the same way, only in a lesser degree, all the women who
have written charming verse and how many there have
been in quite recent times !—-have won, and deservedly, a
certain reputation as poetesses among poetesses. In Miss
Rossetti we have a poet among poets, and in Miss Rossetti
alone. Content to be merely a woman, wise in limiting her-
self within somewhat narrow bounds, she possessed, in union
with a profoundly emotional nature, a power of artistic self-
restraint which no other woman who has written in verse
has ever shown.”

Even more interesting than the critical estimates, is
the personal sketch of several columns contributed by
Mr. Theodore Watts to The Allieummz of January 5th.
' 3., - v‘ . .-./ C/zz'mgo Dial.



 2. Christina Rossetti.

For the voice of love is thine,
And thine is the Song of Death.”
—Dm'a Grecmvcll, ‘ To Christina Rossetti.’


CHRISTINA GEORGINA Rossnrrl was born in London, De-
cember 5, 1830. (See the note on Dante Gabriel Rossetti.)
She began to write verse at the age of twelve. At seventeen
her first volume was privately printed for her. In health
never very strong, devoted to her family, especially to
her mother who lingered in life till 1886, and to the
Observances of the Anglican religion, Miss Rossetti lived in

London a life so secluded that the public scarcely knew of
her except through her books, while she scarcely felt the
movement of the great city she was a part of. Through
the influence of her brothers she contributed to ‘The
Germ,’ the organ of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1862 she
emerged as a poet in the volume called ‘Goblin Market
and Other Poems.’ In 1866 she published ‘The Prince’s
Progress and Other Poems;’ in 1872, ‘Singsong;’ in 1881,
‘A Pageant and Other Poems.’ Miss Rossetti has written
prose works like ‘Commonplace, and Other Stories,’ and
devotional volumes like ‘Time Flies’ and ‘The Face of
the Deep.’ After long illness, Miss Rossetti died December
30, 1894.



’10MAN, for some reason
which seems to have es-
caped the philosopher, has
never taken a very promi«
nent position in the history
of poetry. But she has
rarely been absent altoge—
ther from any great revival

of poetic literature. The example of her total
absence which immediately flies to the recol-
lection is the most curious of all. That Shak-
spere should have had no female rival, that the
age in which music burdened every bough, and
in which poets made their appearance in hun-
dreds, should have produced not a solitary au-
thentic poetess, even of the fifth rank, this is
curious indeed. But it is as rare as curious, for
though women have not often taken a very
high position on Parnassus, they have seldom
thus wholly absented themselves. Even in the
iron age of Rome, where the Muse seemed to
bring forth none but male children, we find,
bound up with the savage verses of Juvenal
and Persius, those seventy lines of pure and
noble indignation against the brutality of Do-
mitian which alone survive to testify to the
genius of Sulpicia.

If that distinguished lady had come down
to us in seventy thousand verses instead of
seventy lines, would her fame have been greatly
augmented ? Probably not. So far as we can
observe, the strength of the great poet-women
has been in their selection. Not a single poet-
ess whose fame is old enough to base a theory
upon has survived in copious and versatile num—
bers. Men like Dryden and Victor Hugo can
strike every chord of the lyre, essay every mode
and species of the art, and impress us by their
bulk and volume. One very gifted and ambi-
tious Englishwoman of the last generation,
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, essayed to do the
same. But her success, it must be admitted,
grows every day more dubious. Where she
strove to be passionate she was too often hys-
terical ; a sort of scream spoils the effect of all
her full tirades. She remains readable mainly
where she is exquisite, and one small volume
would suffice to contain her probable bequest
to posterlty.

It is no new theory that women, in order to
succeed in poetry, must be brief, personal, and
concentrated. It was recognized by the Greek
critics themselves. Into that delicious garland
of the poets which was woven by Meleager to
be hung outside the gate of the Gardens of the


Hesperides he admits but two women from
all the centuries of Hellenic song. Sappho is
there, indeed, because “though her flowers
were few, they were all roses,” and, almost
unseen, a single virginal shoot of the crocus
bears the name of Erinna. That was all that
womanhood gave of durable poetry to theliter-
ature of antiquity. A critic,writing five hundred
years after her death, speaks of still hearing the
swan-note of Erinna clear above the jangling
chatter 0f the jays, and of still thinking those
three hundred hexameter verses sung by a girl
of nineteen as lovely as the loveliest of Ho-
mer’s. Even at the time of the birth of Christ
Erinna’s writings consisted of what could be
printed on a page of this magazine. The whole
of her extant work, and of Sappho’s too, could
now be pressed into a newspaper column. But
their fame lives on, and of Sappho, at least,
enough survives to prove beyond a shadow of
doubt the lofty inspiration of her genius. She
is the type of the woman—poet who exists not
by reason of the variety or volume of her work,
but by virtue of its intensity, its individuality,
its artistic perfection.

At no time was it more necessary to insist
on this truth than it is to-day. The multiplica-
tion of books of verse, the hackneyed char-
acter of all obvious notation of life and feeling,
should, one would fancy, tend to make our poets
more exiguous, more concise, and more trimly
girt. There are few men nowadays from whom
an immense flood of writing can be endured
without fatigue; few who can hold the trum-
pet to their lips for hours in the market-place
without making a desert around them. Yet
there never was a time when the pouring outof
verse was less restrained within bounds. Every-
thing that occurs to the poet seems, to-day, to
be worth writing down and printing. The re-
sult is the neglect of really good and charm-
ing work, which misses all effect because it is
drowned in stuff that is second- or third-rate.
The women who write, in particular, pursued
by that commercial fervor which is so curious
a feature of our new literary life, and which
sits so inelegantly on a female figure, are in a
ceaseless hurry to work off and hurry away into
oblivion those qualities of their style which
might, if seriously and coyly guarded, attract
a permanent attention.

Among the women who have written verse
in the Victorian age there is not one by whom
this reproach is less deserved than it is by Miss
Rossetti. Severely true to herself, an artist of




conscientiousness as high as her skill is ex~
quisite, she has never swept her fane to sea
in a flood of her own outpourings. In the fol-
lowing pages I desire to pay no more than a
just tribute of respect to one of the most per-
fect poets of the age,—- not one of the most
powerful, of course, nor one of the most epoch-
making, but to one of the most perfect,———to
a writer toward whom we may not unreasona-
bly expect that students of English literature
in the twenty—fourth century may look back
as the critics of Alexandria did toward Sappho
and toward Erinna.

So much has been written, since the un-
timely death of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, on the
circumstances of his family history, that it is
not requisite to enter very fully into that sub-
ject in the present sketch of his youngest sis—
ter. It is well known that the Italian poet
Gabriele Rossetti, after a series of romantic
adventures endured in the cause of liberty, set-
tled in London, and married the daughter of
another Italian exile, G. Polidori, the brother
of Lord Byron’s physician. From this stock,
three fourths of which was purely Italian, there
sprang four children, of whom Dante Gabriel
was the eldest, and Christina Georgina, born
in December, 1830, the youngest. There was
nothing in the training of these children which
foreshadowed their various distinction in the
future; although the transplanted blood ran
quicker, no doubt, in veins that must now be
called English, not Italian, even as the wine-
red anemone broke into flower from the earth
that was carried to the Campo Santo out of

We cannot fathom these mysteries of trans—
plantation. No doubt a thousand Italian fami-
lies might settle in‘ London, and their children
be born as deaf to melody and as blind to
nature as their playfellows long native to Hox-
ton or Clerkenwell. Yet it is not possible to
hold it quite an accident that this thousand and
first family discovered in London soil the pre-
cise chemical qualities that made its Italian fiber
break into clusters of blossom. Gabriel Ros—
setti, both as poet and painter, remained very
Italian to the last, but his sister is a thorough
Englishwoman. Unless I make a great mis-
take, she has never even visited Italy, and in
her poetry the landscape and the observation
of nature are not only English, they are so
thoroughly local that I doubt whether there is
one touch in them all which proves her to have
strayed more than fifty miles from London in
any direction. I have no reason for saying so
beyond internal evidence, but I should be in-
clined to suggest that the county of Sussex
alone is capable of having supplied all the im—
agery which Miss Rossetti’s poems contain.

Her literary repertory, too, seems purely Eng-
lish ; there is hardly a solitary touch in her
work which betrays her transalpine parentage.

In a letter to myself, in words which she
kindly lets me give to the public, Miss Rossetti
has thus summed up some valuable impressions
of her earliest bias toward writing :

For me, as well as for Gabriel, whilst our
“ school ” was everything, it was no one definite
thing. I, as the least and last of the group, may
remind you that besides the clever and cultivated
parents who headed us all, I in particular beheld
far ahead ofmyself the clever sister and two clever
brothers who were a little (though but a little) my
seniors. And as to acquirements, I lagged out of
all proportion behind them, and have never over—
taken them to this day.

I interrupt my distinguished friend to remark
that, even if we do not take this modest decla-
ration with a grain of salt, it is interesting to
find one more example of the fact that the pos-
session of genius by no means presupposes a
nature apt for what are called acquirements.
Miss Rossetti proceeds :

If any one thing schooled me in the .direction
of poetry, it was perhaps the delightful idle lib-
erty to prowl all alone about my grandfather’s
cottage-grounds some thirty miles from London,
entailing in my childhood a long stage—coach
journey! This privilege came to an end when I
was eight years old, if not earlier. The grounds
were quite small, and on the simplest scale —but
in those days to me they were vast, varied, worth
exploring. After those charming holidays ended
I remained pent up in London till I was a great
girl of fourteen, when delight reawakened at the
sight of primroses in a railway Cutting,— '1 pre-
lude to many lovely country sights.

My impression is that a great deal of judi—
cious neglect was practised in the Rossetti fam-
ily, and that, like so many people of genius,
the two poets, brother and sister, contrived to
evade the educational mill. From the lips of
Miss Christina herself I have it that all through
her early girlhood she lay as a passive weight
on the hands of those whoinvitedher to explore
those bosky groves called arithmetic, grammar,
and the use of the globes. In Mr. R. L. Ste-
venson’s little masterpiece of casuistry called
“ On Idlers and Idling,” he has discussed the
temper of mind so sympathetically that I will
say no more than this, that Philistia never will
comprehend the certain fact that to genius
Chapter VI., which is primroses in a railway
cutting, is often far more important than Chap-
ter XIII., which happens to be the subjunctive
mood. But for these mysteries of education I
must refer the ingenuous reader to Mr. Steven-
son’s delightful pages.

From her early childhood Miss Rossetti


seems to have prepared herself for the occu—
pation of her life, the art of poetry. When she
was eleven her verses began to be noticed and
preserved, and an extremely rare little volume,
the very cynosure of Victorian bibliography,
permits us to observe the development of her
talent, One of the rarest of books—when it
occasionally turns up at sales it commands an
extravagant price—is “Verses by Christina
G. Rossetti,” privately printed in 1847, at the
press of her grandfather Mr. G. Polidori, “at
No. 15, Park Village East, Regent’s Park,
London.” This little volume of sixty-six pages,
dedicated to the author’s mother, and preceded
by a pretty little preface signed by Mr. Poli—
dori, is a curious revelation of the evolution
of the poet’s genius. There is hardly one piece
in it which Miss Rossetti would choose to re—
print in a collected edition of her works, but
there are many which possess the greatest in-
terest to a student of her mature style. The
earliest verses—since all are dated—show us
merely the child’s desire for expression in verse,
for experiment in rhyme and meter. Gradually
we see the buddings of an individual manner,
and in the latest piece, “The Dead City,” the
completion of which seems to have led to the
printing of the little collection, we find the poet
assuming something of her adult manner. Here
are some stanzas from this rarest of booklets,
which will be new, in'every probability, to all
our readers, and in these we detect, unmis—
takably, the accents of the future author of
“ Goblin Market.”

In green emerald baskets were
Sun-red apples, streaked and fair;
Here the nectarine and peach,

And ripe plum lay, and on each
The bloom rested everywhere.

Grapes were hanging overhead,
Purple, pale, and ruby-red;
And in the panniers all around
Yellow melons shone, fresh found,
With the dew upon them spread.

And the apricot and pear,

And the pulpy fig were there,
Cherries and dark mulberries,
Bunchy currants, strawberries,

And the lemon wan and fair.

By far the best and most characteristic of
all her girlish verses, however, are those con.
tained in a long piece entitled “Divine and
Human Pleading,” dated 1846. It is a plea-
sure to be the first to publish a passage which
the author need not blush to own after nearly
fifty years, every stanza of which bears the
stamp of her peculiar manner :

A woman stood beside his bed:
Her breath was fragrance all;

Round her the light was very bright,
The air was musical.

Her footsteps shone upon the stars,
Her robe was spotless white;

Her breast was radiant with the Cross,
Her head with living light.

Her eyes beamed with a sacred fire,
And on her shoulders fair,

From underneath her golden crown,
Clustered her golden hair.

Yet on her bosom her white hands
Were folded quietly;

Yet was her glorious head bowed low
In deep humility.

In these extracts from the volume of r847
we see more than the germ ; we see the im-
perfect development of two qualities which
have particularly characterized the poetry of
Miss Rossetti—in the first an entirely direct
and vivid mode of presenting to us the im-
pression of richly colored physical objects, a
feat in which she sometimes rivals Keats and
Tennyson; and in the second a brilliant sim-
plicity in the conduct of episodes of a Visionary
character, and a choice of expression which is
exactly in keeping with these, a sort of Tuscan
candor, as of a sacred picture in which each
saint or angel is robed in a dress of one un-
brokencolor. These two qualities combined,
in spite of their apparent incompatibility,—— an
austere sweetness coupled with a luscious and
sensuous brightness,— to form one side of Miss
Rossetti’s curious poetic originality.

Three years later, in 18 50, she was already
a finished poet. That charming and pathetic
failure, “TheGerm,” a forlorn little periodical
which attempted to emanate from the new
group of Preraphaelites, as they called them-
selves, counted her among its original contrib-
utors. Her brother Gabriel, indeed, who had al—
ready written, in its earliest form, his remarkable
poem of “The Blessed Damozel,” was the cen-
tral force and prime artificer 0f the movement,
which had begun about a year before. It was
a moment of transition in English poetry. The
old race was dying in its last representative,
Wordsworth. Mr. Tennyson, Mr. Browning,
Miss Barrett were the main figures of the day,
while the conscience of young men and women
addicted to verse was troubled with a variety
of heresies, the malignity of which is hardly to
be realized by us after fifty years. Mr. Bailey’s
“Festus” was a real power for evil, strong
enough to be a momentary snare to the feet
of Tennyson in writing “Maud,” and even of
Browning. A host of “Spasmodists,” as they
were presently called, succeeded in appalling
the taste of the age with their vast and shape-
less tragedies, or monodramas. Then, with a



totally different voice, but also far removed
from the paths of correct tradition in verse,
came Clough, singing in slovenly hexameters
of Oxford and the pleasures of radical under-
graduates in highland bothies. Clough, with
his hold on reality, and his sympathetic modern
accent, troubled the Preraphaelites a little;
they were less moved by a far more pure and
exquisite music, a song as of Simonides him-
self, which also reached them from Oxford,
when Matthew Arnold, in 1849, made his first
appearance with his lovely and long neglected
“Strayed Reveller.” Mr. Coventry Patmore,
with his “Poems” of 1844, was a recognized
elder brother of their own, and almost every-
thing else which was to be well done in verse
for many years was to arise from among them-
selves, or in emulation of them. So that never
was periodical better named than “The Germ,”
the seed which put forth two cotyledons, and
then called itself “Art and Letters”; and put
forth two more little leaves, and then seemed
to die.

Among the anonymous contributions to the
first number of“ The Germ ”— that forJanuary,
1850 —are two which we know to be Miss Ros-
setti’s. These are, “Where Sunless Rivers
Weep,” and“ Love, Strong as Death,is Dead.”
In the February number, under the pseudonym
of Ellen Alleyn, she printed “ A Pause of
Thought,” the song “Oh, Roses for the Flush
of Youth,” and “ I said of Laughter, It is
Vain.” To the March number, then styled
“Art and Letters,” Ellen Alleyn contributed
a long piece called “ Repining,” which does
not seem to have been reprinted, and “Sweet
Death” (“The Sweetest Blossoms Die”). To
the fourth and last number, in which an alien
and far more commonplace influence may be
traced than in the others, she contributed no-
thing. Of her seven pieces, however, printed
in “The Germ” in 1850, when she was twenty,
there are five (if we omit “A Pause of Thought ”
and “ Repining”) which rank to this day among
her very finest lyrics, and display her style as
absolutely formed. Though the youngest poet
of the confraternity,she appears indeed in “The
Germ” as the most finished, and even, for the
moment, the most promising, since her brother
Gabriel, if the author of “The Blessed Damo-
zel,” was also responsible for those uncouth
Flemish studies in verse which he very wisely
refused in later years to own or to republish.

Time passed, and the obscure group of boys
and girls who called themselves Preraphael~
ites found themselves a center ofinfluence and
curiosity. In poetry, as in painting and sculp-
ture, they conquered, and more readily, per-
haps, in their pupils than in themselves. The
first independent publications of the school,
at least, came from visitors who had been


children in 1850. These books were scarcely
noticed by the public; if Mr. Morris’s “ De—
fence of Guinevere ” attracted a few readers
in 1858, Mr. Swinburne’s “ Queen Mother”
fell still—born from the press in 1860. These pre-
pared the way for real and instantaneous suc-
cesses — for Miss Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”
in 1862, for Mr. Woolner’s “ My Beautiful
Lady” in 1863, for Mr. Swinburne’s dazzling
“Atalanta in Calydon” in 1865. At last, in
1870, there tardily appeared, after such expec-
tation and tiptoe curiosity as have preceded no
other book in our generation, the “ Poems ” of
Gabriel Rossetti.

It is with these poets that Miss Rossetti
takes her historical position, and their vigor
and ambition had a various influence upon
her style. On this side there can be no doubt
that association with men so learned and eager,
so daring in experiment, so well equipped in
scholarship, gave her an instant and positive
advantage. By nature she would seem to be
of a cloistered and sequestered temper, and
her genius was lifted on this wave of friendship
to heights which it would not have dreamed
of attempting alone. On the other hand, it is
possible that, after the first moment, this asso-
ciation with the strongest male talent of the
time has not been favorable to public appre-
ciation of her work. Critics have taken for
granted that she was a satellite, and have been
puzzled to notice her divergences from the
type. Of these divergences the most striking
is the religious one. Neither Gabriel Rossetti,
nor Mr. Swinburne, nor Morris has shown any
sympathy with, or any decided interest in,
the tenets of Protestantism. Now Miss Chris—
'tina Rossetti’s poetry is not merely Christian
and Protestant, it is Anglican; not her divine
works only, but her secular also, bear the stamp
of uniformity with the doctrines of the Church
of England. What is very interesting in her
poetry is the union of this fixed religious faith
with a hold upon physical beauty and the
richer parts of nature which allies her with her
brother and with their younger friends. She
does not shrink from strong delineation of the
pleasures of life even when she is denouncing
them. In one of the most austere of her sacred
pieces, she describes the Children of the World
in these glowing verses:

Milk—white, wine-flushed, among the vines,
Up and down leaping, to and fro,

Most glad, Inost full, made strong with wines,
Blooming as peaches pearled with dew,

Their golden windy hair afloat,

Love-music warbling in their throat,

Young men and women come and go.

There is no literary hypocrisy here, no pre-
tense that the apple of life is full of ashes, andthis

CHRISTINA 1603513277. 215

gives a startling beauty, the beauty of artistic
contrast, to the poet’s studies in morality. Miss
Rossetti, indeed, is so didactic in the under-
current of her mind, so anxious to adorn her
tale with a religious moral, that she needs all
her art, all her vigorous estimate of physical
loveliness, to make her poetry delightful as
poetry. That she does make it eminently de-
lightful merely proves her extraordinary native
gift. The two long pieces she has written, her
two efforts at a long breath, are sustained so
well as to make us regret that she has not put
out her powers in the creation of a still more
complete and elaborated composition. Of these
two poems “Goblin Market ” is by far the
more popular; the other, “ The Prince’s Pro-
gress,” which appeared in 1866, has never at-
tracted such attention as it deserves. It is not

necessary to describe a poem so well known

to every lover of verse as “Goblin Market.”
It is one of the very few purely fantastic poems
of recent times which have really kept up the
old tradition of humoresque literature. Its witty
and fantastic conception is embroidered with
fancies, descriptions, peals of laughing music,
which clothe it as a queer Japanese figure may
be clothed with brocade, so that the entire
effect at last is beautiful and harmonious with—
out ever having ceased to be grotesque. I con-
fess that while I dimly perceive the underlying
theme to be a didactic one, and nothing less
than the sacrifice of self by a sister to recuperate
a sister’s virtue, I cannot follow the parable
through all its delicious episodes. Like a Jap-
anese work of art, again, one perceives the
general intention, and one is satisfied with the
beauty of all the detail, without comprehend-
ing or wishing to comprehend every part of
the execution. For instance, the wonderful
scene in which Lizzie sits beleaguered by the
goblins, and receives with hard-shut mouth all
the syrups that they squeeze against her skin—
this from the point of view of poetry is perfect,
and needs no apology or commentary; but its
place in the parable it would,- surely, be ex-
tremely hard to find. It is, therefore, astonish-
ing to me that the general public, that strange
and unaccountable entity, has chosen to pre—
fer “ Goblin Market,” which we might con-
ceive to be written for poets alone, to “The
Prince’s Progress,” where the parable and the
teaching are as clear as noonday. The prince
is a handsome, lazy fellow, who sets out late
upon his pilgrimage, loiters in bad company
by the way, is decoyed by light loves, and the
hope of life, and the desire of wealth, and
reaches his destined bride at last, only to find

her dead. This is an obvious moral, but it is v

adorned with verse of the very highest romantic
beauty. Every claim which criticism has to
make for the singular merit of