Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This Warm and Solemn Day

For An Annunciation, Early German
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti


The lilies stand before her like a screen
Through which, upon this warm and solemn day,
God surely hears. For there she kneels to pray
Who wafts our prayers to God—Mary the Queen
She was Faith's Present, parting what had been
From what began with her, and is for aye.
On either hand, God's twofold system lay:
With meek bowed face a Virgin prayed between.
So prays she, and the Dove flies in to her,
And she has turned. At the low porch is one
Who looks as though deep awe made him to smile.
Heavy with heat, the plants yield shadow there;
The loud flies cross each other in the sun;
And the aisled pillars meet the poplar-aisle.

A description of a painting, of course; Dante Gabriel Rossetti has several such poems. We do not know the exact painting he is describing; indeed, we do not even know if 'early German' is supposed to be giving us information about the geographical origin of the painting or about the school of painting to which it belongs.

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