Born: De­cem­ber 5, 1830, St. Pan­cras, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Died: De­cem­ber 29, 1894, St. Giles, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Buried: High­gate Ce­me­te­ry, Lon­don, Eng­land.



Rossetti came from a well known lit­er­ary and ar­tis­tic fa­mi­ly. Her fa­ther, Ga­bri­e­le Ros­set­ti, in po­li­tic­al ex­ile in Eng­land, was a pro­fes­sor of Ita­li­an at King’s Col­lege in Lon­don. Her bro­thers Dan­te Ga­bri­el and Will­iam Mi­chael were among the found­ers of the Pre-Ra­pha­el­ite Bro­ther­hood, which gave birth to the 19th Cen­tu­ry Eng­lish art move­ment of the same name.

The Pre-Ra­pha­el­ites, for whom Chris­ti­na was a fre­quent mo­del, al­so in­clud­ed Ed­ward Burne-Jones, Will­iam Hol­man Hunt, Ford Ma­dox Brown, John Ev­er­ett Mil­lais, Will­iam Mor­ris, John Rus­kin and James Mc­Neill Whist­ler. Her fa­mi­ly friends in­clud­ed Charles Dodg­son (bet­ter known by his pseu­do­nym Lew­is Car­roll), aut­hor of Al­ice in Won­derland.

Rossetti pub­lished three books of po­et­ry (most­ly re­li­gious), and four books of de­vo­tions.


Eye Hath Not Seen

Our feet shall tread upon the stars
Less bright than we.
The everlasting shore shall bound
A fairer sea
Than that which cold
Now glitters in the sun like gold.

Oh good, oh blest! but who shall say
How fair, how fair,
In the light-region where no cloud
Darkens the air,
Where weary eyes
Rest on the green of Paradise?

There cometh not the wind nor rain
Nor sun nor snow:
The Trees of Knowledge and of Life
Bud there and blow,
Their leaves and fruit
Fed from an undecaying root.

There Angels flying to and fro
Are not more white
Than Penitents some while ago,
Now Saints in light:
Once soiled and sad—
Cleansed now and crowned,
Fulfilled and glad.

Now yearning through the perfect rest
Perhaps they gaze
Earthwards upon their best-beloved
In all earth’s ways:
Longing, but not
With pain, as used to be their lot.

The hush of that beatitude
Is ages long,
Sufficing Virgins, Prophets, Saints,
Till the new song
Shall be sent up
From lips which drained the bitter cup.

If but the thought of Paradise
Gives joy on earth,
What shall it be to enter there
Through second birth?
To find once more
Our dearest treasure gone before?

To find the Shepherd of the sheep,
The Lamb once slain,
Who leads His own by living streams—
Never again
To thirst, or need
Aught in green pastures where they feed.

But from the altar comes a cry
Awful and strong
From martyred Saints: How long, they say,
O Lord, how long,
Holy and True,
Shall vengeance for our blood be due?

Then the Lord gives them robes of white,
And bids them stay
In patience till the time be full
For the last day—
The day of dread
When the last sentence shall be said;

When heaven and earth shall flee away,
And the great deep
Shall render up her dead, and earth
Her sons that sleep,
And day of grace
Be hid for ever from Thy face.

Oh hide us, till Thy wrath be past,
Our grief, our shame,
With Peter and with Magdalene,
And him whose name
No record tells
Who by Thy promise with Thee dwells.

Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)