Christina asked for nothing but warm milk, for Princess, too, and prayers for Gabriel to remain on earth. She thought of the light in his eyes, the velvety resonance of his voice, his lounging walk, and the largeness of his embrace. He never minded if she tousled his hair, even to reveal it was receding, or stroked his beard up to his ears, and his moustache to feel the breath from his lips and nostrils. She saw him as she feared she never would again, negligently theatrical with his waistcoat buttoned up and sack-coat hanging to his knees. Sofa-posing with his head down and feet up, he was as easily elegant in corpulence as he was when slim and agile.
There’s blood between us, love, my love, there’s father’s blood, there’s brother’s blood, and blood’s a bar I cannot pass.
from The Dove Upon Her Branch, A Novel Portrait of Christina Rossetti
The 12th of May marks the 195th anniversary
of the birth of Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Painter, Poet, Founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
WOULD God your health were as this month of May
Should be, were this not England,—and your face
Abroad, to give the gracious sunshine grace
And laugh beneath the budding hawthorn-spray.
But here the hedgerows pine from green to grey
While yet May’s lyre is tuning, and her song
Is weak in shade that should in sun be strong;
And your pulse springs not to so faint a lay.
If in my life be breath of Italy,
Would God that I might yield it all to you!
So, when such grafted warmth had burgeoned through
The languor of your Maytime’s hawthorn-tree,
My spirit at rest should walk unseen and see
The garland of your beauty bloom anew.
My novel about Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s youngest sister, Victorian poet Christina Rossetti, is getting close to publication.
Watch this space and/sign up for notification of its release.
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