- Wanted to return to naturalism before painter Raphael.
Preferred medieval and early Renaissance painting.
Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood was centered around Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Married Elizabeth Siddal after 10 years.
She committed suicide after two years of marriage
He buried manuscripts with her and had them dug up two years later
He was neurotic and faced depression after her death
"Art for Arts Sake" (ars gratis artis)
Has no practical purpose.
Until then, art had been instrumental – to glorify a person, bring people closer to God, etc….
Now considered to be an end in itself
Beauty need not be instrumental
#1 "The House of Life" (buried with Dante’s wife)
A Sonnet is a moment's monument,-
Memorial from the soul's eternity
To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be,
Whether for lustral rite or dire portent,
Of its own intricate fulness reverent:
Carve it in ivory or in ebony,
As Day or Night prevail; and let Time see
Its flowering crest impearled and orient.
A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals
The soul,- its converse, to what Power 'tis due:-
Whether for tribute to the august appeals
Of Life, or dower in Love's high retinue,
It serve; or 'mid the dark wharf's cavernous breath,
In Charon's palm it pay the toll to Death.
D. G. Rossetti
Sets up the rest of his works
Displays truth, hope, fame, etc… with love being the highest
#2 "Bridal Birth"
As when desire, long darkling, dawns, and first
The mother looks upon the newborn child,
Even so my Lady stood at gaze and smiled
When her soul knew at length the Love it nursed.
Born with her life, creature of poignant thirst
And exquisite hunger, at her heart Love lay
Quickening in darkness, till a voice that day
Cried on him, and the bonds of birth were burst.
Now, shielded in his wings, our faces yearn
Together, as his fullgrown feet now range
The grove, and his warm hands our couch prepare:
Till to his song our bodiless souls in turn
Be born his children, when Death's nuptial change
Leaves us for light the halo of his hair.
Love is being born through pregnancy and childbirth
When they die, they will be gathered together with love
Youth – death – rebirth ~ cycle
#6 "The Rise"
What smouldering senses in death's sick delay
Or seizure of malign vicissitude
Can rob this body of honour, or denude
This soul of wedding-raiment worn to-day?
For lo! even now my lady's lips did play
With these my lips such consonant interlude
As laurelled Orpheus longed for when he wooed
The half-drawn hungering face with that last lay.
I was a child beneath her touch,--a man
When breast to breast we clung, even I and she,--
A spirit when her spirit looked through me,--
A god when all our life-breath met to fan
Our life-blood, till love's emulous ardours ran,
Fire within fire, desire in deity.
Spirits, lips, breasts – united through their love
They are people, spirits, and gods.
Transcendence through love for someone else – it’s eternal
#18 "Genius in Beauty"
Beauty like hers is genius. Not the call
Of Homer's or of Dante's heart sublime,--
Not Michael's hand furrowing the zones of time,--
Is more with compassed mysteries musical;
Nay, not in Spring's Summer's sweet footfall
More gathered gifts exuberant Life bequeaths
Than doth this sovereign face, whose love-spell breathes
Even from its shadowed contour on the wall.
As many men are poets in their youth,
But for one sweet-strung soul the wires prolong
Even through all change the indomitable song;
So in likewise the envenomed years, whose tooth
Rends shallower grace with ruin void of ruth,
Upon this beauty's power shall wreak no wrong.
Her beauty is greater than Homer and Slanto’s works.
Her face is more beautiful than spring/summer.
Her silhouette breathes love
Even years will not alter her beauty
#19 "Silent Noon" (similar to Ecstasy)
Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,--
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.
Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:--
So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.
They are on a picnic
Tempus fugit ~ enjoy life while you can
#28 "Pride of Youth"
Even as a child, of sorrow that we give
The dead, but little in his heart can find,
Since without need of thought to his clear mind
Their turn it is to die and his to live:--
Even so the winged New Love smiles to receive
Along his eddying plumes the auroral wind,
Nor, forward glorying, casts one look behind
Where night-rack shrouds the Old Love fugitive.
There is a change in every hour's recall,
And the last cowslip in the fields we see
On the same day with the first corn-poppy.
Alas for hourly change! Alas for all
The loves that from his hand proud Youth lets fall,
Even as the beads of a told rosary!
Old loves of youth are like beads of a rosary
#53 "Without Her"
What of her glass without her? The blank grey
There where the pool is blind of the moon's face.
Her dress without her? The tossed empty space
Of cloud-rack whence the moon has passed away.
Her paths without her? Day's appointed sway
Usurped by desolate night. Her pillowed place
Without her? Tears, ah me! for love's good grace,
And cold forgetfulness of night or day.
What of the heart without her? Nay, poor heart
Of thee what word remains ere speech be still?
A wayfarer by barren ways and chill,
Steep ways and weary, without her thou art,
Where the long cloud, the long wood's counterpart,
Sheds doubled darkness up the laboring hill.
What’s her mirror without her – a blank, gray slate
Her bed without her – he cries all night
Love without her is a lonely "way farer" – he misses her
#101 "The One Hope"
When vain desire at last and vain regret
Go hand in hand to death, and all is vain,
What shall assuage the unforgotten pain
And teach the unforgetful to forget?
Shall Peace be still a sunk stream long unmet,
Or may the soul at once in a green plain
Stoop through the spray of some sweet life-fountain
And cull the dew-drenched flowering amulet?
Ah! when the wan soul in that golden air
Between the scriptured petals softly blown
Peers breathless for the gift of grace unknown,
Ah! let none other alien spell soe'er
But only the one Hope's one name be there,
Not less nor more; but even that word alone.
All is vain because he’s dying ~ things you wanted and didn’t get – things you wished you’d
Despondent about it
Not looking forward to it
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity (Eccl:1)