Desperate Romantics

Desperate Romantics

Watched on DVD the six-part, BBC TV series, Desperate Romantics based on the book with the same title by Franny Moyle (also read the book). I only found out about the Pre-Raphaelites last year when I read a Guardian book review of Fiona MacCarthy’s The Last Pre-Raphaelite a biography of the artist, Edward Burne-Jones.  (See Guardian book review here.) This group of artists held the belief that art should return to a simplicity and purity of pictorial realism prior to the influence of the artist, Raphael. I am hoping there would be a similar movement in poetry called the Pre-(T.S.) Eliotites. Anyway, turns out Dante Gabriel Rossetti, brother of Christina Rossetti, was a Pre-Raphaelite artist as well as a poetDover Thrift Editions  publishes a bargain of a priceless anthology of Pre-Raphaelite poetry (Dante and Christina Rossetti, Algernon Charles Swinburne, William Morris and George Meredith): Pre-Raphaelite Poetry: An Anthology, edited by Paul Negri.

Sonnet X from The House of Life which reflects Rossetti’s talent as both artist and poet:

                    SONNET X:  THE PORTRAIT
                      Dante Gabriel Rossetti

          O Lord of all compassionate control,
          O Love! let this my lady’s picture glow
          Under my hand to praise her name, and show
          Even of her inner self the perfect whole.
          That he who seeks her beauty’s furthest goal,
          Beyond the light that the sweet glances throw
          And refluent wave of the sweet smile, may know
          The very sky and sea-line of her soul.

          Lo! It is done. Above the enthroning throat
          The mouth’s mould testifies of voice and kiss,
          The shadowed eyes remember and foresee.
          Her face is made her shrine. Let all men note
          That in all years ( O Love, Thy gift is this! )
          They that would look on her must come to me.

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About poeticmeditations

A 19th-century romantic poet living in the 21st-century.
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