The House of Life: 36. Life-in-Love

By Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828–1882
Not in thy body is thy life at all
         But in this lady's lips and hands and eyes;
         Through these she yields thee life that vivifies
What else were sorrow's servant and death's thrall.
Look on thyself without her, and recall
         The waste remembrance and forlorn surmise
         That liv'd but in a dead-drawn breath of sighs
O'er vanish'd hours and hours eventual.

Even so much life hath the poor tress of hair
         Which, stor'd apart, is all love hath to show
         For heart-beats and for fire-heats long ago;
Even so much life endures unknown, even where,
         'Mid change the changeless night environeth,
         Lies all that golden hair undimm'd in death.

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Poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828–1882

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Nature, The Body, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Living

Occasions Funerals

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Imagery

 Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Biography

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born 12 May 1828 in London, the second child and eldest son of Italian expatriates. His father, Gabriele Rossetti, was a Dante scholar, who had been exiled from Naples for writing poetry in support of the Neapolitan Constitution of 1819. Rossetti’s mother had trained as a governess and supervised her children's early education. Few Victorian families were as gifted as the Rossettis: the oldest child, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, The Body, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Living

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Imagery

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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