And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

tirsdag 22. oktober 2013

A Silent Wood - poem by Elizabeth Siddal

Elizabeth Siddal, self-portrait
From wikimedia commons

Days are currently quite busy and I've little energy left for blogging, but in order to maintain a semblance of frequency, I'll put up more poetry now and then. Since I'm currently taking a course on medievalism in Victorian England, I found it fitting to present a poem by one of the key figures of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Elizabeth Siddal (1829-62), a woman of considerable and versatile talents. She has probably gained most fame as a model for some of the most iconic paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites, but she was also herself a painter - as witnessed above - and a poet. Below is one of her poems, A Silent Wood, dated with some uncertainty to 1855-57 by William Michael Rossetti. The text is taken from The Pre-Raphaelites From Rossetti to Ruskin, edited by Dinah Roe and issued in the Penguin Classics series in 2010.

A Silent Wood

O silent wood, I enter thee
With a heart so full of misery -
For all the voices from the trees
And the ferns that cling about my knees.

In thy darkest shadow let me sit
When the grey owls about thee flit:
There I will ask of thee a boon,
That I may not faint or die or swoon.

Gazing through the gloom like one
Whose life and hopes are also done,
Frozen like a thing of stone,
I sit in thy shadow - but not alone.

Can God bring back the day when we two stood
Beneath the clinging trees in that dark wood?

Beata Beatrix (1864-70), Dante Gabriel Rossetti
One of the most famous paintings to which Elizabeth Siddal sat model

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