The House of Life: 71. The Choice, I

By Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828–1882
Eat thou and drink; to-morrow thou shalt die.
         Surely the earth, that's wise being very old,
         Needs not our help. Then loose me, love, and hold
Thy sultry hair up from my face; that I
May pour for thee this golden wine, brim-high,
         Till round the glass thy fingers glow like gold.
         We'll drown all hours: thy song, while hours are toll'd,
Shall leap, as fountains veil the changing sky.

Now kiss, and think that there are really those,
         My own high-bosom'd beauty, who increase
                Vain gold, vain lore, and yet might choose our way!
                Through many years they toil; then on a day
         They die not,—for their life was death,—but cease;
And round their narrow lips the mould falls close.

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Poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828–1882

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Living, Philosophy, Death

Occasions Toasts & Celebrations

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Simile

 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 Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Living, Philosophy, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Simile

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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