Monday, June 13, 2016

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828—1882) is a painter and poet who was born in London to Italian expatriate parents. He is only one of the Rossettis to have left his mark: His father was renown as a Dante scholar, his brother William Michael Rossetti was an influential art critic, and his sister Christina Georgina Rossetti is one of the leading poets of the nineteenth century.

In 1848, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and some friends founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of British artists who valued "truth to nature" in painting through attention to minute details, and symbolic imagery.

In 1861 he achieved success with his book of translations The Early Italian Poets. When his young wife died in 1862, in his grief, he had the only complete manuscript of his own poetry buried with her. In 1869, they were retrieved from Highgate Cemetery

His Sonnet sequence, "The House of Life", from Ballads and Sonnets (1881) is considered by some to be his finest poetic achievement.

Sacramental Hymn

On a fair Sabbath day, when His banquet is spread,
It is pleasant to feast with my Lord:
His stewards stand robed at the foot and the head
Of the soul-filling, life-giving board.
All the guests here had burthens; but by the King's grant
We left them behind when we came;
The burthen of wealth and the burthen of want,
And even the burthen of shame.
And oh, when we take them again at the gate,
Though still we must bear them awhile,
Much smaller they'll seem in the lane that grows strait,
And much lighter to lift at the stile.
For that which is in us is life to the heart,
Is dew to the soles of the feet,
Fresh strength to the loins, giving ease from their smart,
Warmth in frost, and a breeze in the heat.
No feast where the belly alone hath its fill,—
He gives me His body and blood;
The blood and the body (I'll think of it still)
Of my Lord, which is Christ, which is God.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.