The Blessed Damozel: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and P G Wodehouse


The blessed damozel leaned out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.
Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary’s gift,
For service meetly worn;
Her hair that lay along her back
Was yellow like ripe corn.
Herseemed she scarce had been a day
One of God’s choristers;
The wonder was not yet quite gone
From that still look of hers;
Albeit, to them she left, her day
Had counted as ten years.
(To one, it is ten years of years.
. . . Yet now, and in this place,
Surely she leaned o’er me—her hair
Fell all about my face. . . .
Nothing: the autumn fall of leaves.
The whole year sets apace.)[1]
The Blessed Damozel” is perhaps the best known poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, which was first published in 1850 in the Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ. Rossetti subsequently revised the poem twice and republished it in 1856, 1870 and 1873. The image, ‘The Blessed Damozel’ is also by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (Wikipedia)

‘I only wanted to emphasize my warning to you not to keep on taking gnats out of Madeline’s eyes. Perhaps I overdid it.’
‘You chilled me to the marrow.’
‘Sorry I was so dramatic. You needn’t worry. They’ve only had a lovers’ tiff such as occurs with the mushiest couples.’
‘What about?’
‘How do I know? Perhaps he queried her statement that the stars were God’s daisy chain.’
I had to admit that there was something in this theory. Madeline’s breach with Gussie Fink-Nottle had been caused by her drawing his attention to the sunset and saying sunsets always made her think of the Blessed Damozel leaning out from the gold bar of heaven, and he said, ‘Who?’ and she said, ‘The Blessed Damozel’, and he said, ‘Never heard of her’, adding that sunsets made him sick, and so did the Blessed Damozel. A girl with her outlook would be bound to be touchy about stars and daisy chains.

P G Wodehouse, Much Obliged, Jeeves

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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