Thursday, May 01, 2014

Christiana Rossetti's "A Daughter of Eve"

Christiana Rossetti (1830-1894) might have written a memoir that told of a broken engagement, but she wrote poetry instead, sometimes poems that concealed her loneliness, love and longing for particular men. In many ways she was a bundle of contradictions. Born in England of Italian parents, she was an Evangelical who would later become Anglo-Catholic and always remain, as others described her, a spinster—a spinster perhaps with too many lost loves. One of her many poems is “A Daughter of Eve.”

A fool I was to sleep at noon,

And wake when night is chilly

Beneath the comfortless cold moon;

A fool to pluck my rose too soon,

A fool to snap my lily.

My garden-plot I have not kept;

Faded and all-forsaken,

I weep as I have never wept:

Oh it was summer when I slept,

It's winter now I waken.

Talk what you please of future spring

And sun-warm'd sweet to-morrow:

Stripp'd bare of hope and everything,

No more to laugh, no more to sing,

I sit alone with sorrow.