Pre-Raphaelite Women, Art, & Poetry, Part C

Pre-Raphaelite Women:

Christina Rossetti, Poet



Literary Biography

In an Artist's Studio

Goblin Market

Christina Rossetti and Fernand Khnopff

Criticism: General

Related Resources


Biography, Background, E-Texts


Christina and Frances Rossetti

by D.G. Rossetti

In an Artist's Studio: E-texts, Criticism

Goblin Market: E-texts, Criticism


Golden Head by Golden Head

by D.G. Rossetti

My Dream

by Christina Rossetti

Hear now a curious dream I dreamed last night,

Each word whereof is weighed and sifted truth.

I stood beside Euphrates while it swelled

Like overflowing Jordan in its youth:

It waxed and coloured sensibly to sight,

Till out of myriad pregnant waves there welled

Young crocodiles, a gaunt blunt-featured crew,

Fresh-hatched perhaps and daubed with birthday dew.

The rest if I should tell, I fear my friend,

My closest friend would deem the facts untrue;

And therefore it were wisely left untold.

Yet if you will, why, hear it to the end.

Each crocodile was girt with massive gold

And polished stones that with their wearers grew:

But one there was who waxed beyond the rest,

Wore kinglier girdle and a kingly crown,

Whilst crowns and orbs and sceptres starred his breast.

All gleamed compact and green with scale on scale,

But special burnishment adorned his mail

And special terror weighed upon his frown;

His punier brethren quaked before his tail,

Broad as a rafter, potent as a flail.

So he grew lord and master of his kin:

But who shall tell the tale of all their woes?

An execrable appetite arose,

He battened on them, crunched, and sucked them in.

He knew no law, he feared no binding law,

But ground them with inexorable jaw:

The luscious fat distilled upon his chin,

Exuded from his nostrils and his eyes,

While still like a hungry death he fed his maw;

Till every minor crocodile being dead

And buried too, himself gorged to the full,

He slept with breath oppressed and unstrung claw.

Oh marvel passing strange which next I saw:

In sleep he dwindled to the common size,

And all the empire faded from his coat.

Then from far off a winged vessel came,

Swift as a swallow, subtle as a flame:

I know not what it bore of freight or host,

But white it was as an avenging ghost.

It levelled strong Euphrates in its course;

Supreme yet weightless as an idle mote

It seemed to tame the waters without force

Till not a murmur swelled or billow beat:

Lo, as the purple shadow swept the sands,

The prudent crocodile rose on his feet

And shed appropriate tears and wrung his hands.

What can it mean? you ask. I answer not

For meaning, but myself must echo, What?

And tell it as I saw it on the spot.

Christina Rossetti and Fernand Khnopff


'Who Shall Deliver Me'

by Fernand Khnopff

"I lock my door upon myself,

And bar them out; but who shall wall

Self from myself, most loathed of all? . . .

Myself, arch-traitor to myself;"

from Christina Rossetti,
'Who Shall Deliver Me'

Criticism: General

Go to Pre-Raphaelite Models, Lovers, Art-Sisters

Return to Index: Pre-Raphaelite Women, Art, & Poetry


Related Resources:

PR Women, Art, Poetry: Index

DG Rossetti & the Male Gaze

PR Models, Lovers, Art-Sisters

PR Art-Sisters Gallery

PR Brotherhood Gallery

PR Literature & Art: Resources


Index of Illustrations

(Left column, top to bottom)

  • Florence Harrison, "A Birthday" (Rossetti poem)
  • Florence Harrison, "Dream-love" (Rossetti poem)
  • Florence Harrison, "Goblin Market"
  • Arthur Rackham, "Goblin Market"
  • Florence Harrison, "White and Golden Lizzie Stood"
  • Florence Harrison, "Dream Land" (Rossetti poem)
  • D.G. Rossetti, Portrait of Christina Rossetti
  • Fernand Khnopf, "I lock my door upon myself" (Rossetti poem)
  • Florence Harrison, "At Home" (Rossetti poem)

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Updated: 2-10-17

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