Christina Rossetti

Picture courtesy of:Wikipedia.Org

Where are the songs I used to know,
Where are the notes I used to sing?
I have forgotten everything
I used to know so long ago...

--Christina Rossetti "The Key-Note"


Christina Georgina Rossetti, poet, born in London, one of four children of Italian parents, Gabriel Rossetti the exiled Italian patriot, poet, scholar, and revolutionary and Frances Polidori Rossetti. The poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti was her brother. Christina's first poems were written in 1842 and printed in the private press of her grandfather. In 1850, under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyne, she contributed seven poems to the Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ, which had been founded by her brother William Michael and his friends.

Rossetti is best known for her ballads and her mystic religious lyrics. Her poetry is marked by symbolism and intense feeling. Christina wrote mainly religious poetry, her best-known work, Goblin Market and Other Poems, was published in 1862. The collection established Rossetti as a significant voice in Victorian poetry. The Prince's Progress and Other Poems, appeared in 1866 followed by Sing-Song, a collection of verse for children, in 1872 (with illustrations by Arthur Hughes).

By the 1880s, recurrent bouts of Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder, made Christina an invalid, and ended her attempts to work as a governess. Although the illness restricted her social life, she continued to write poems. Among her later works are A Pageant and Other Poems (1881), and The Face of the Deep (1892). Rossetti also wrote religious prose works, such as Seek and Find (1879), Called To Be Saints (1881). Her work displays the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite artistic movement, which her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, helped to found.

Her favorite themes were unhappy love, death, and premature resignation. Especially her later works deals with somber religious feelings. She possessed a spontaneous lyrical gift, and had a firm command of traditional poetic forms. Christina was the model for her brother's picture "The Girlhood of Mary Virgin"

Christina Rossetti is increasingly being reconsidered a major Victorian poet. She has been compared to Emily Dickinson but the similarity is more in the choice of spiritual topics than in poetic approach, Rossetti's poetry being one of intense feelings, her technique refined within the forms established in her time.

In 1891, Rossetti developed cancer. She died in London on December 29, 1894. She was a devout Anglican and never married. She was buried in Highgate Cemetery. Rossetti's brother, William Michael, edited her collected works in 1904, but the Complete Poems were not published before 1979.

After Death
Will You be There?
Our Mothers
A Wintry Sonnet
A Pin
Summer is Ended


To view more of Christine Rossetti's poems:
Jim Bender -


Some more of his poems includes:

A Triad, Remember, "No, Thank You, John.", May, Song, Song, Sister Maude, Rest, The Convent Threshold, The Poor Ghost, A Portrait, Dream-Love, Goblin Market, The Ghost's Petition, Eve, New Enigmas, Four Charades, "Last Night", Helen Grey, An Alphabet, A Handy Mole, The Frog, A Word for the Dumb, Cardinal Newman, An Echo From Willowwood, Passing, One of the Dead, Strange Voices, On Keats, Have You Forgotten? Looking Forward, A Discovery, From the Antique, Portraits, Guesses, Cobwebs, In an Artist's Studio, In Progress, Margery, By Way of Remembrance,

From "Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book"
(1872 and 1893)

A City Plum, Hope, Heartsease, What are Heavy?, Caterpillar, Oak, How Many Seconds?, Months, What is Pink?, Frog and Toad, Mice, What Does the Donkey?, Fish and Lizards, The Peacock, If Hope, I Planted a Hand, Riddle, If a Mouse, O Lady Moon, The Wind, A White Hen, Who Has Seen the Wind?, Diamond or Coal, Jewels, The Rose, Is The Moon Tired?


[Poet's Corner Index]


Reference, Research and Source Information

The History Channel

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