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Outlines of English and American Literature
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
by Long, William J.


The first poet among the Pre-Raphaelites was Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), the son of an exiled Italian writer. Like others of the group he was both painter and poet, and seemed to be always trying to put into his verse the rich coloring which belonged on canvas. Perhaps the most romantic episode of his life was, that upon the death of his wife (the beautiful model, Lizzie Siddal, who appears in Millais' picture "Ophelia") he buried his poetry with her. After some years his friends persuaded him that his poems belonged to the living, and he exhumed and published them (Poems, 1870). His most notable volume, Ballads and Sonnets, appeared eleven years later. The ballads are nearly all weird, uncanny, but with something in them of the witchery of Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner." The sonnets under the general title of "The House of Life" are devoted to the poet's lost love, and rank with Mrs. Browning's From the Portuguese.

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