Friday, February 13, 2015

Poem for the Weekend: Christina Rossetti


Born in England to a family of artistic Italian immigrants, Christina Rossetti is considered one of the finest of the Victorian poets. Here's a love poem for Valentine's Day weekend. Although Rossetti received three proposals, she never married. Her complete and fascinating biography is here.

I loved you first: but afterwards your love

by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. 
– Petrarca

I loved you first: but afterwards your love
    Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
    Which owes the other most? my love was long,
    And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
    Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
    With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
         For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
         Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.


Post a Comment

"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka