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Selected Poems and Translations
Edited by Clive Wilmer
Categories: 19th Century
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (220 pages)
(Pub. May 1997)
Sun-steeped in fire, the homeward pinions sway
Above the dovecotes-tops;
And clouds of starlings, ere they rest with day,
Sink, clamorous like mill-waters, at wild play,
By turns in every copse:
Each tree heart-deep the wrangling rout receives, -
Save for the whirr within,
You could not tell the starlings from the leaves;
Then one great puff of wings, and the swarm heaves
Away with all its din.
from 'Sunset Wings'
For critics like John Ruskin and Walter Pater, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1892) was one of the great creative figures of the day, a painter and a poet of major stature. Yeats and the young Pound regarded him as an exemplary figure of solitary dedication to art and beauty.
Rossetti's most original work may have been in preparing the way for the modernists who in turn dethroned him. He called the sonnet 'a moment's monument', and his best short lyrics are instants of compressed emotion cut free of time. In this, as in the suggestiveness of his imagery, he anticipates the French Symbolists. He can also be regarded as the founder of modern verse translation, not only for the freshness of his versions but also for his choice of poets - Villon, Cavalcanti and the young Dante.
In this selection Clive Wilmer has made a personal choice, emphasizing the 'pure poetry' of the lyrics at the expense of the more conventionally Victorian monologues and narratives. He has also included a generous selection from the translations, and provided a biographical and critical introduction.
Table of Contents
Note on the text
Suggestions for further reading
From The House of Life
The Blessed Damozel
My Sister's Sleep
A Trip to Paris and Belgium
Near Brussels-a Half-way Pause
Antwerp and Bruges
Sonnets on Pictures:
For Our Lady of the Rocks (Leonardo)
For A Venetian Pastoral (Giorgione)
For An Allegorical Dance of Women (Mantegna)
For Ruggiero and Angelica (Ingres)
For A Virgin and Child (Memmelinck)
Dawn on the Night-Journey
A young Fir-wood
A Little While
Verses for Rossetti's own works of art:
'I saw the Sibyl at Cumae'
From Dante and His Circle:
St Francis of Assisi
Ubaldo di Marco
Folgore da San Geminiano
Niccolò degli Albizzi
Cino da Pistoia
Poems from the French:
Anon: 'John of Tours'
Index of Titles and First Lines
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