Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

christina rossetti, poet (1830-1894)

Christina Rossetti was born in London, one of four children of Italian parents. Her father was the poet Gabriele Rossetti. Her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, also became a poet, as well as a painter of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement.  She was educated at home and encouraged to write by her family; in fact, her teenage poems were printed by her grandfather on his own press.

Rossetti wrote a collection of verses for children in 1872.  It was titled SING-SONG and was illustrated by Arthur Hughes.  But she is best known for her ballads and her mystic religious lyrics.
Her poetry is marked by symbolism and intense feeling.

Rossetti's best-known work, Goblin Market and Other Poems, was published in 1862. The collection established Rossetti as a significant voice in Victorian poetry.

By the 1880s, recurrent bouts of Graves' disease made Rossetti an invalid, and ended her attempts to work as a governess.  She died of cancer on December 29, 1894.

by Christina Rossetti
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

"Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss."
-Verse from Rossetti's poem A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Christina Rossetti is also the author of many Advent and Christmas poems, posthumously published in her POETIC WORKS, in 1904. Her most famous, A Christmas Carol became a favorite Christmas hymn entitled In the Bleak Midwinter after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906, with a setting by Gustav Holst (and later by Harold Darke).  It has been performed by choirs and soloists ever since, including the Robert Shaw Chorale, Chanticleer, Julie Andrews, Sarah Mclachlan, and most recently, James Taylor (who sings my favorite modern rendition).

Gustav Holtz version, performed by James Taylor

Harold Darke version, performed by Winchester Cathedral Choir


  1. Thanks, Wendy. I love the James Taylor rendition.
    Thanks for posting it on your blog. Both were beautiful!

  2. I didn't realize Rossetti wrote the words for "In the Bleak Midwinter"-one of my all-time FAVORITE Christmas carols! What talents to tell the story in such a unique and beautiful way that could later be put to song. I love the version by Sarah McLachlan!

    Thanks for sharing, mommy!