Christina Rossetti Poems

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Christina Rossetti
Christina Georgina Rossetti (December 5, 1830 December 29, 1894) was an English poet. Her siblings were the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, and Maria Francesca Rossetti. Their father, Gabriele Rossetti, was an Italian poet and a political asylum seeker from Naples; their mother, Frances Polidori, was the sister of Lord Byron's friend and physician, John William Polidori. Rossetti was born in London and educated at home by her mother. In the 1840s her family was stricken with severe financial difficulties due to the deterioration of her father's physical and mental health. When she was 14, Rossetti suffered a nervous breakdown which was followed by bouts of depression and related illness. During this period she, her mother, and her sister became seriously interested in the Anglo-Catholic movement that was part of the Church of England. This religious devotion played a major role in Rossetti's personal life: in her late teens she became engaged to the painter James Collinson but this ended because he reverted to Catholicism; later she became involved with the linguist Charles Cayley but did not marry him, also for religious reasons.She was his mistress.

song
 
 
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,... [read poem]
love's nocturn
 
 
Master of the murmuring courts
Where the shapes of sleep convene!--
Lo! my spirit here... [read poem]
insomnia
 
 
Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And... [read poem]
the portrait
 
 
This is her picture as she was:
It seems a thing to wonder on,
As though mine image ... [read poem]
the house of life: 41. through death to love
 
 
Like labour-laden moonclouds faint to flee
From winds that sweep the winter-bitten wold,-... [read poem]
the house of life: 97. a superscription
 
 
Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also call'd No-more, Too-late, Farewell... [read poem]
the house of life: the sonnet
 
 
A Sonnet is a moment's monument,
Memorial from the Soul's eternity
To one dead... [read poem]
my sister's sleep
 
 
She fell asleep on Christmas Eve:
At length the long-ungranted shade
Of weary ... [read poem]
the house of life: 72. the choice, ii
 
 
Watch thou and fear; to-morrow thou shalt die.
Or art thou sure thou shalt have time for ... [read poem]
sudden light
 
 
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass ... [read poem]
a better resurrection
 
 
I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numb'd too muc... [read poem]
autumn song
 
 
Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on... [read poem]
the cloud confines
 
 
The day is dark and the night
To him that would search their heart;
No lips of... [read poem]
love-lily
 
 
Between the hands, between the brows,
Between the lips of Love-Lily,
A spirit is born ... [read poem]
the stream's secret
 
 
What thing unto mine ear
Wouldst thou convey,--what secret thing,
O wandering water ev... [read poem]
sister helen
 
 
"Why did you melt your waxen man
Sister Helen?
To-day is the third since you beg... [read poem]
the house of life: 19. silent noon
 
 
Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,--
The finger-points look through like rosy b... [read poem]
the woodspurge
 
 
The wind flapp'd loose, the wind was still,
Shaken out dead from tree and hill:
I had walk... [read poem]
the house of life: 73. the choice, iii
 
 
Think thou and act; to-morrow thou shalt die
Outstretch'd in the sun's warmth upon the sh... [read poem]
by the sea
 
 
Why does the sea moan evermore?
Shut out from heaven it makes its moan,
It frets aga... [read poem]
mary's girlhood (for a picture)
 
 
This is that blessed Mary, pre-elect
God's Virgin. Gone is a great while, and she
... [read poem]
the blessed damozel
 
 
The blessed damozel lean'd out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than... [read poem]
the house of life: 36. life-in-love
 
 
Not in thy body is thy life at all
But in this lady's lips and hands and eyes;
... [read poem]
the house of life: 66. the heart of the night
 
 
From child to youth; from youth to arduous man;
From lethargy to fever of the heart;... [read poem]
the house of life: 71. the choice, i
 
 
Eat thou and drink; to-morrow thou shalt die.
Surely the earth, that's wise being very ol... [read poem]
the house of life: 22. heart's haven
 
 
Sometimes she is a child within mine arms,
Cowering beneath dark wings that love must cha... [read poem]
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