Christina Rossetti

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Christina Georgina Rossetti

Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894) was born in Charlotte Street (now 105 Hallam Street), in London and was an English Victorian poet who wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems. She is known for her poem "Goblin Market", the "Remember" and her sonnets. She also wrote the words of two Christmas carols well known in the British Isles: "In the Bleak Midwinter", later set to music by Gustav Holst and by Harold Darke, and "Love Came Down at Christmas", also set by Harold Darke and by other composers. Her father Gabriele Rossetti was also a poet and a political exile from Vasto, Abruzzo, since 1824 and her mother Frances Polidori was the sister of Lord Byron's friend and physician, John William Polidori.[1] She had two brothers and a sister: Dante Gabriel became an influential artist and poet, and William Michael and Maria both became writers.[1]

Christina was the youngest child in the family, she was a lively child and she dictated her first story to her mother before she had learned to write.[2][3]

Christina Rossetti, by her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Milking-Maid

The year stood at its equinox,
And bluff the North was blowing.
A bleat of lambs came from the flocks,
Green hardy things were growing.
I met a maid with shining locks,
Where milky kine were lowing.

She wore a kerchief on her neck,
Her bare arm showed its dimple.
Her apron spread without a speck,
Her air was frank and simple.

She milked into a wooden pail,
And sang a country ditty -
An innocent fond lovers' tale,
That was not wise nor witty.

She kept in time without a beat,
As true as church-bell ringers,
Unless she tapped time with her feet,
Or squeezed it with her fingers.

I stood a minute out of sight,
Stood silent for a minute,
To eye the pail, and creamy white
The frothing milk within it.

To eye the comely milking maid,
Herself so fresh and creamy.
“Good day to you!” at last I said,
She turned her head to see me.
“Good day!” she said with lifted head,
Her eyes looked soft and dreamy.

And all the while she milked and milked
The grave cow heavy-laden.
I've seen grand ladies, plumed and silked,
But not a sweeter maiden.

But not a sweeter fresher maid
Than this in homely cotton,
Whose pleasant face and silky braid
I have not yet forgotten.

Perhaps my rose is overblown,
Not rosy or too rosy.
Perhaps in farmhouse of her own
Some husband keeps her cosy.
Where I should show a face unknown? -
Good bye, my wayside posy!

From "The Milking-Maid" poem by Christina Georgina Rossetti [4]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Profile at
  2. "Author Profile: Christina Rossetti," Literary Worlds,, Web, 19 May 2011.
  3. Lindsay Duguid: "Rossetti, Christina Georgina (1830–1894)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: OUP, 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  4. A Gallery of English and American Women Famous in Song (1875), J.M. Stoddart & Company, p. 205.

Other websites[change | change source]