Christina Rosetti, poet

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) came from a well known li­ter­a­ry and ar­tis­tic fam­i­ly. Her fa­ther, Ga­bri­ele Ros­set­ti, in po­li­tic­al ex­ile in Eng­land, was a pro­fess­or of Ital­i­an at King’s Coll­ege in Lon­don. Her bro­thers Dan­te Ga­bri­el and Will­iam Mi­chael were among the found­ers of the Pre-Ra­pha­el­ite Bro­ther­hood, which gave birth to the 19th Cen­tu­ry Eng­lish art move­ment of the same name. The Pre-Ra­pha­el­ites, for whom Chris­ti­na was a fre­quent mo­del, al­so in­clud­ed Ed­ward Burne-Jones, Will­iam Hol­man Hunt, Ford Ma­dox Brown, John Ev­er­ett Mil­lais, Will­iam Mor­ris, John Rus­kin and James Mc­Neill Whist­ler.
Rossetti’s Christmas poem “In the Bleak Midwinter” became widely known after her death when set as a Christmas carol first by Gustav Holst, and then by Harold Darke. Her poem “Love Came Down at Christmas” (1885) has also been widely arranged as a carol.

In the bleak mid-winter frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter, long ago.

Our God, heav’n cannot hold him nor earth sustain;
Heav’n and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter a stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty Jesus Christ.

Enough for him, whom cherubim worship night and day,
A breastful of milk and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for him whom angels fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air:
But only his mother in her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him – give him my heart.



One Response to Christina Rosetti, poet

  1. […] luminaries (An asterisk denotes the post has a prayer for Bishop Welby.) Christina Rosetti, poet Edward Pusey, priest and scholar Vicars’ daughters John Keble, priest and poet The Clapham […]

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