4. D.G. Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel (NEW SYLLABUS)

 

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Unit IV – Victorian Age

 

S. No Title P. No
01 Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Princess: A Medley 3
02 Robert Browning :

F Men and Women

F Andrea Del Sarto

24
03 Mathew Arnold :

F Rugby Chapel

F Dover Beach

52
04 D.G. Rossetti’s  The Blessed Damozel 78
05 George Eliot’s Romola 95
06 W.M. Thackeray’s Vanity Fair 108
07 R.L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island 155
08 John Ruskin’s Sesame and Lilies 186
09 Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities 205

 

  1. D.G.Rosetti’s The Blessed Damozel

D.G.Rosetti

Life:

  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti, original name Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti was born May 12, 1828 in London, England.
  • He died on 9 April 1882, in England.
  • He belongs to the period Victorian Era. (1850-1900)
  • His parents were Giuseppe Rossetti and Frances Polidori.
  • His brother was Michael Rossetti.
  • His sisters were Christina Rossetti and Francesca Rossetti.
  • He studied in King’s College
  • He studied painting with Millais and Hunt.
  • He married Elizabeth Siddal who was a model for the pre-Raphalite painters.
  • He died April 9, 1882, Kent in England.

 

Career:

  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a British poet, illustrator, painter and translator.
  • He was one of the founder of Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
  • It was a group of Painters, Poets and Critics treating religious, moral, and medieval subjects in a nonacademic manner.
  • It was founded by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt.
  • The other members are Michael Rossetti, James Colinson, George Stephens, Thomas Woolner.
  • It influenced William Morris and Edward Burne Jones, John Ruskin, Swinburne.
  • It influenced Symbolist Movement and Aesthetic Movement.
  • The movement was attacked by Robert Buchanan’s article entitled as “Fleshly School of Poetry” in Contemporary Review in Oct 1871.
  • Rossetti’s reply “The Stealthy School of Criticism” appeared in “Athenaeum” in December 1871.

 

  • The movement was……….
  • revolt against the Victorian mode
  • Extension of Romantic Revival
  • Revival of medievalism
  • Revival of Hellenism
  • Love of symbolism
  • Achieve simplicity in Art
  • His art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism.
  • His early poetry was influenced by John Keats.
  • His later poetry was characterised by the complex interlinking of thought and feeling, especially in his sonnet sequence, The House of Life.
  • He frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures, spanning from The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) and Astarte Syriaca (1877).
  • He wanted on the translations of Dante and other medieval Italian Poets.

 

Works:

  • The Early Italian Poets (1861)
  • It was republised as “Dante and His Circle”.
  • Poems (1870)
  • Sister Helan
  • Troy Town
  • Eden Powe
  • The House of Life (sonnet sequence)
  • Ballads and Sonnets (1881)
  • Rose Mary
  • The king’s Tragedy
  • The White Ship
  • Ballads and Narrative Poems (1893)
  • Sonnets and Lyrical Poems (1894)
  • Hand and Soul (1850)
  • Short story
  • The Blessed Damozel
    • It was published in the Pre- Raphalite Journal ‘The Germ’ in 1850.
  • Jenny
  • My Lady
  • Soul’ s Beauty
  • The Wood Purse
  • Cleopatra’s Needle
  • King’s Tragedy
  • My Sister’s Sleep
  • The White Ship
  • New Symbols

 

Quotes:

  • ‘Every Pre-Raphaelite landscape background is painted to the last touch, in the open air, from the thing itself, Every Pre-Raphaelite figure, however studied in expression, is a true portrait of some living person’ – John Ruskin.
  • “Art for art’s sake” – Pre-Raphaelite movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blessed Damozel

  • The blessed damozel lean’d out

From the gold bar of Heaven;

Her eyes were deeper than the depth

Of waters still’d 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.

 

  • Her seem’d 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 lean’d o’er me–her hair

Fell all about my face ….

Nothing: the autumn-fall of leaves.

The whole year sets apace.)

 

  • It was the rampart of God’s house

That she was standing on;

By God built over the sheer depth

The which is Space begun;

So high, that looking downward thence

She scarce could see the sun.

 

  • It lies in Heaven, across the flood

Of ether, as a bridge.

Beneath, the tides of day and night

With flame and darkness ridge

The void, as low as where this earth

Spins like a fretful midge.

 

  • Around her, lovers, newly met

‘Mid deathless love’s acclaims,

Spoke evermore among themselves

Their heart-remember’d names;

And the souls mounting up to God

Went by her like thin flames.

 

  • And still she bow’d herself and stoop’d

Out of the circling charm;

Until her bosom must have made

The bar she lean’d on warm,

And the lilies lay as if asleep

Along her bended arm.

 

  • From the fix’d place of Heaven she saw

Time like a pulse shake fierce

Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove

Within the gulf to pierce

Its path; and now she spoke as when

The stars sang in their spheres.

 

  • The sun was gone now; the curl’d moon

Was like a little feather

Fluttering far down the gulf; and now

She spoke through the still weather.

Her voice was like the voice the stars

Had when they sang together.

 

  • (Ah sweet! Even now, in that bird’s song,

Strove not her accents there,

Fain to be hearken’d? When those bells

Possess’d the mid-day air,

Strove not her steps to reach my side

Down all the echoing stair?)

 

  • “I wish that he were come to me,

For he will come,” she said.

“Have I not pray’d in Heaven?–on earth,

Lord, Lord, has he not pray’d?

Are not two prayers a perfect strength?

And shall I feel afraid?

 

  • “When round his head the aureole clings,

And he is cloth’d in white,

I’ll take his hand and go with him

To the deep wells of light;

As unto a stream we will step down,

And bathe there in God’s sight.

 

  • “We two will stand beside that shrine,

Occult, withheld, untrod,

Whose lamps are stirr’d continually

With prayer sent up to God;

And see our old prayers, granted, melt

Each like a little cloud.

 

  • “We two will lie i’ the shadow of

That living mystic tree

Within whose secret growth the Dove

Is sometimes felt to be,

While every leaf that His plumes touch

Saith His Name audibly.

 

  • “And I myself will teach to him,

I myself, lying so,

The songs I sing here; which his voice

Shall pause in, hush’d and slow,

And find some knowledge at each pause,

Or some new thing to know.”

 

  • (Alas! We two, we two, thou say’st!

Yea, one wast thou with me

That once of old. But shall God lift

To endless unity

The soul whose likeness with thy soul

Was but its love for thee?)

 

  • “We two,” she said, “will seek the groves

Where the lady Mary is,

With her five handmaidens, whose names

Are five sweet symphonies,

Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,

Margaret and Rosalys.

 

  • “Circlewise sit they, with bound locks

And foreheads garlanded;

Into the fine cloth white like flame

Weaving the golden thread,

To fashion the birth-robes for them

Who are just born, being dead.

 

  • “He shall fear, haply, and be dumb:

Then will I lay my cheek

To his, and tell about our love,

Not once abash’d or weak:

And the dear Mother will approve

My pride, and let me speak.

 

  • “Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,

To Him round whom all souls

Kneel, the clear-rang’d unnumber’d heads

Bow’d with their aureoles:

And angels meeting us shall sing

To their citherns and citoles.

 

  • “There will I ask of Christ the Lord

Thus much for him and me:–

Only to live as once on earth

With Love,–only to be,

As then awhile, forever now

Together, I and he.”

 

  • She gaz’d and listen’d and then said,

Less sad of speech than mild,–

“All this is when he comes.” She ceas’d.

The light thrill’d towards her, fill’d

With angels in strong level flight.

Her eyes pray’d, and she smil’d.

 

  • (I saw her smile.) But soon their path

Was vague in distant spheres:

And then she cast her arms along

The golden barriers,

And laid her face between her hands,

And wept. (I heard her tears.)

 

 

  • “The Blessed Damozel” is the best known poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
  • It 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 poem was partially inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven”, with its depiction of a lover grieving on Earth over the death of his loved one.
  • The poem describes the damozel observing her lover from heaven, and her unfulfilled yearning for their reunion in heaven.
  • The poem was the inspiration for Claude Debussy’s “La damoiselle élue” (1888), a cantata for two soloists, female choir, and orchestra.

 

Summary:

Stanza 1: The Blessed Damozel Leans Out From Heaven

The blessed damozel is confined to heaven.  She is leaning on the gold fence of heaven and looking longingly at the earth down below.  Her eyes are ‘still’ and do not express any feeling or, rather, her eyes are like deep waters.  As one does not see what is lying in the depth of the pond, one cannot understand the thoughts in the innermost depths of the damozel’s mind.  She is holding three lilies in hand and wearing seven starts in her hair.

 

Stanza 2: The Descriptions of the Damozel

The damozel’s rob is hanging loose from her waist downward.  She is not wearing any buckle or clasp.  Nor is her gown decorated with any embroidered flowers.  She has on her gown a white rose gifted to her by Virgin Mary for her sincere service.  Her yellow hair, which is like ripe com, is lying on her back.

 

Stanza 3: Damozel Becomes A Chorister Of God

It seems to her that she has spent only one day in heaven.  She is a chorister, always singing in praise of God.  The sense of wonder has not yet left her eyes.  A recent entrant into heaven, she is still looking at the objects around her in heaven, with unabated wonder.  The earthly people who have lost the blessed damozel are very sad.  Time seems to move slowly.  They feel as though ten years have passed by.

 

Stanza 4: The Picture Of The Lover On Earth

This stanza shows hoe different people react to the passage of time in different ways.  To the bereaved lover, one day of separation is as long as many years, each day of which is as long as three hundred and sixty-five years.

This stanza is placed within brackets, as it is separated from the preceding three stanzas and contains the reflections of the lover on the earth.  One day of separation is felt by him to be an inordinately long period, consisting of many centuries.  One day of separation is equal to one strange year each day of which lengthening to three hundred and sixty-five years instead damozel.  When she leans on the gold bar, he feels as though she is leaning on him, with her loose hair falling all about his face.  Soon, he realizes the folly of his delusion and handstands that what is falling on his face is not the tresses of her hair but the dry leaves falling from trees in autumn.  The year seems to him to move quickly.

 

Stanza 5: The Position Of Heaven Beyond Space.

The blessed damozel is standing on the rampart built by God round heaven.  Space begins from this rampart.  The sun is so far away from heaven that it is invisible to the blessed damozel.

 

Stanza 6: The Picture Of God’s House

This stanza is a description of the places in and around heaven.  The unique feature of heaven is that God’s house it situated here.  There is a vast space outside heaven. It is not empty but filled with a translucent substance called either.  The poet describes day and night as bright and dark waves which alternate like waves moving forward and backward.  The earth, moving round itself and the sun, is far off and looks like a midge (a small two-winged creature) flying round and round.

 

Stanza 7: The Damozal Lost In Thouhgt

The blessed damozel is so much absorbed in her own thoughts that she is scarcely aware of what is happening around herself in heaven.  The blessed damozel has befriended the souls that have entered heaven recently.  The souls are playing games that promote brotherhood and friendliness.  They are calling one another by their new names which are expressive of their newly acquired purity.  The new souls are going up to God’s seat.  The blessed damozel is not interested in any of these things.

 

Stanza 8: The Damozel Looks At The Earth

The blessed damozel bends down and keeps looking out of heaven at the earth down below.  As she had been leaning on the gold bar of heaven for long, the bar touched by her breasts becomes warm.  Even the lilies in her hand are faded.  It looks as though the lilies had fallen asleep.

 

Stanza 9: The Sway Of Time

The blessed damozel notices Time originating in heaven and spreading on to the entire universe.  It looks as though nothing can escape the ravages of time.  Probable the blessed damozel is worried about how the passage of time might have affected her lover on the earth.  Then, she begins to speak in a voice that is as sweet as the music of the stars or of the spheres,

 

Stanza 10: The Appearance Of The Moon

The sun disappears and the crescent moon arises.  The poet says that the moon has fluttered down the space like a little feature.  The blessed damozel begins to speak in a musical voice that is like the song of the stars.

 

Stanza 11: The Rumination Of The Lover An Earth

The stanza is the rumination of the lover on the earth. He identifies the blessed damozle’s sweet singing with that of birds.  He views the signing of church bells as the sound made by the blessed damozel walking the stairs that connect heaven and the earth in order to reach him.

 

Stanza 12: Joint Prayer Of The Lovers

The blessed damozel prays to God to re-unit her with her lover.  Her lover has also been praying in the same vein.  The damozel is confident that their joint prayer will be granted by God.  She need not despair.

 

Stanza 13: The Damozel’s Proposal To Bathe With Her Lover

The blessed damozel imagines her lover also coming to heaven wearing white clothes and an aureole round his head. The aureole will symbolize his newly acquired state as a blessed soul. She proposes to walk hand in hand with him to ‘the deep wells of light’ and bathe there, as in a stream, in the presence of God.

 

Stanza 14: Description Of The Shrine

The blessed damozel proposes to visit the heavenly shrine with her lover.  The lamps in the shrine burn with the help of the prayers sent up by devotees.  When the prayers are granted God, they vanish like a little cloud.

 

Stanza 15: Description Of The Tree Of Life

The blessed damozel decides to lie with her lover under the Tree of Life whose fruit is supposed to make the eater immortal.  The Dove which symbolizes the Holy Ghost lives among the leaves of this Tree.  The leaves that are touched by the Dove’s feathers loudly proclaim the names of God.

Stanza 16: The Damozel’s Plan To Teach Her Lover The Divine Songs.

The blessed damozel plans to teach her lover all the divine and devotional songs that she has learnt in heaven so far.  The lover may be a slow learner, pausing frequently.  But at every pausing he will gain some new knowledge.

 

Stabza 17: The Lover’s Gloomy Reflections:

This stanza contains the lover’s gloomy reflections on his position.  He says that the unity between himself and the blessed damozel is a thing of the past.  He holds that she is far superior to him in spiritual advancement.  The only thing common between them is their love.  God cannot establish a lasting unity on the basis of their mutual love alone.

 

Stanza 18: The Lovers To Meet Virgin Mary

The blessed dmozel proposes to take her lover to the groves where Virgin Mary and her five hand-maidens, Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen, Margaret and Rosaly, can be seen. These maidens are sweet-natured like symphonies.

 

Stanza 19: Weaving Of Birth-Robes

The handmaidens are busy weaving bright birth – robes for those who die on the earth and are born in heaven.

 

Stanza 20: The Damozel’s Plan To Speak Of Her Love To Mary

The lover may be stunned by the presence of Virgin Mary and become silent.  Then, the blessed damozel will take the initiative.  She will lay her cheek on his without any feeling of shame or modesty and introduce themselves to Mary as lovers.   Mary will appreciate her proud declaration of her love and allow her to speak further.

 

Stanza 21: Mary Will Lead The Lovers To Christ

Virgin Mary will take the blessed damozel and her lover to Jesus Christ before whom the blessed souls are assembled with their heads bowed.  Meeting the lovers, angels will celebrate their love by playing on their musical instruments, the citherns and citoles.

 

Stanza 22: The Damozel’s Proposed Appeal To Christ

The blessed damozel says she will appeal to Christ to keep her and her lover together permanently in heaven, as they lived on the earth.

 

Stabza 23: The Damozel Wakes Up From Her Reverie.

At this time, the blessed damozel awakens from her reverie.  She soliloquizes that she can appeal to God to keep her and her lover together forever in heaven only after he comes to heaven. She is hopeful that he will come to heaven soon. So she smiles.

 

Stanza 24: The Damozel’s Despondency Due To Unfulfilled Longing

The lover on the earth sees her smiling in heaven.  Soon space grows dark.  The blessed damozel standing on the ramparts of heaven becomes despondent because she is separated from her lover by insurmountable barriers.  She lays her face between her hands and weeps bitterly.  For, there is no sign of her lover coming to heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. D.G. Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel

 

  • Robert Buchanan’s classification of D.G. Rosetti as a member of the fleshy school of poetry is found in the following set. (Engg – 2016)

      (A) D.G. Rosetti, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley

      (B) D.G. Rosetti, John Berryman, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath

      (C) D.G. Rosetti, Swinburne, William Morris and John Payne

      (D) D.G. Rosetti, Bryant, Whittier, Lowell

 

  • ‘The Blessed Damozal’ is an example of ____________ (PT – 2006)

      (A) Raphaelite poetry                                      (B) Romantic poetry   

      (C) Movement poetry                                     (D) Pre-Raphaelite poetry

 

  • Damozel realizes at the end, that: (Engg – 2016)

      (A) She could be united with her lover            (B) She would kill her lover

      (C) She would enter heaven                            (D) Her love was not perfect

 

  • Match List – I with List – List II using the codes given: (Engg – 2016)

                  List – I                                                            List – II

      (a) The Blessed Damozel                               –           (i) Dramatic Monologue

      (b) The Wreck of Deutschland                      –           (ii) Lyric

      (c) My Last Duchess                                       –           (iii) Quest Poem

      (d) Dover Beach                                             –           (iv) Pindaric Ode

      Codes:

                  (a)        (b)        (c)        (d)

      (A)       (iii)       (iv)       (i)         (ii)

      (B)       (iv)       (i)         (iii)       (ii)

      (C)       (ii)        (iv)       (i)         (iii)

      (D)       (i)         (ii)        (iv)       (iii)

 

  • In ‘The Blessed Damozal’ the lady asks Christ ___________ (DIET – 2009)

      (A) to go away from heaven                            (B) only to live with her lover on Earth

      (C) to bring her lover to heaven                      (D) to live without her lover in heaven

 

  • The ‘Citherns and Citoles’ in “The Blessed Damozel” refers to ____________ musical instruments. (DIET – 2016)

      (A) ancient                   (B) modern                  (C) medieval                (D) colonial

 

 

 

  • Rossetti was born in __________

      (A) Paris                      (B) London                  (C) Irish                       (D) Lake District

 

  • ‘The Blessed Damozal’ is a __________

            (A) Dramatic Monologue                                (B) Dramatic Irony

            (C) Dramatic Lyric                                         (D) Ode

 

  • ‘The Blessed Damozal’ was published in __________

      (A) The Egoist                                                 (B) The Germ

      (C) The Cornhill Magazine                             (D) The Tatler

 

  • The locale of the poem ‘The Blessed Damozal’ is __________

      (A) Hell                       (B) Heaven                  (C) Earth                     (D) Moon

 

  • What is the central theme of the poem?

      (A) Yearning of Blessed Damozel in heaven for her lover on earth

      (B) The Goddess Diana yearns for her lover in heaven

      (C) The poet celebrates his marriage with Elizabeth Siddal on Earth

      (D) The poet’s aversion on his lover Elizabeth Siddal

 

  • The blessed Damozel has __________ in her hand and _________ in her hair.

      (A) 4 lilies; 7 stars                                           (B) 3 lilies; 7 stars

      (C) 7 lilies; 4 stars                                           (D) 2 lilies; 6 stars

 

  • The blessed Damozel’s hair is like a _______

(A) Yellow corn           (B) Sweet corn             (C) Pop corn               (D) Ripe corn

 

  • According to D.G. Rossetti, one day of heaven is equal to _______ years of this world.

(A) 7 years                   (B) 8 years                   (C) 9 years                  (D) 10 years

 

  • What is the gift of Virgin Mary to the blessed Damozel?

(A) White Lilly             (B) Red Rose               (C) White Rose            (D) Bud Rose

 

  • The Blessed Damozal means _________

      (A) a lady of noble birth                                  (B) Virgin angel         

      (C) a Goddess                                                 (D) a lady from hell

 

  • Which among following is not a handmaiden of Virgin Mary?

      (A) Cecily                    (B) Gertrude                (C) Margaret              (D) Isabella

 

  • “I heard her tears”. The figure of speech in this line is ________

      (A) Simile                    (B) Metaphor               (C) Allusion                 (D) Synecdoche

 

  • The poem ‘Blessed Damozel’ is a ________

      (A) Reverie                  (B) Elegy                     (C) Epic                       (D) Ballad

 

  • What is behind to angel’s head?

      (A) Jasmine                 (B) Aureole                  (B) Star                        (D) Red Rose

 

  • The five handmaidens of Virgin Mary are compared to _________

      (A) Five Angels           (B) Five  Nymphs        (C) Five Symphonies   (D) Five Lilies   

 

  • In ‘Blessed Damozel’ the Earth is compared to _________

      (A) spinning mill          (B) spinning midge      (C) winding mill          (D) flour mill

 

  • In ‘Blessed Damozel’ the blessed Damozel would take her lover to the shrine _________

      (A) tomb                      (B) Occult                    (C) grave                     (D) None of the these

 

  • The leaves of the Tree of Life proclaim the name of ________

      (A) God                       (B) Damozel                (D) Good Angel          (D) Evil spirit

 

  • The souls of saint ascended to heaven passed by blessed Damozel in the form of _______

      (A) thick wood             (B) thin flames             (C) holy spirit              (D) dove  b

 

  • The angels would sing in accompaniment to the their musical instruments _________

      (A) citherns                                                      (B) citoles                   

      (C) citherns and citoles                                   (D) piano

 

  • “But a white rose of Mary’s gift, For service meetly worn”. These lines occurred in _____

      (A) Rose Mary                                                 (B) The King’s Tragedy         

      (C) The White Ship                                          (D) The Blessed Damozel

 

  • Which among the following is not belonged to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood?

(A) Alfred Lord Tennyson                               (B) Dante Gabriel Rossetti

      (C) John Everett Millais                                  (D) William Holman Hunt

 

 

  • The Pre-Raphaelite movement was attacked by _____________ article entitled as “Fleshly School of Poetry” in Contemporary Review in Oct 1871.

      (A) Michael Rossetti’s                                     (B) James Colinson’s

      (C) George Stephens’s                                    (D) Robert Buchanan’s

 

  • In ‘Blessed Damozel’ Dove refer to _________

      (A) Virgin Mary           (B) Poet’s lover           (C) Holy Mother          (D) Holy Ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. D.G. Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel
1 C 11 A 21 C 31   41  
2 D 12 B 22 B 32   42  
3 C 13 D 23 B 33   43  
4 A 14 D 24 A 34   44  
5 C 15 C 25 B 35   45  
6 C 16 A 26 C 36   46  
7 B 17 D 27 D 37   47  
8 C 18 D 28 A 38   48  
9 B 19 A 29 D 39   49  
10 B 20 B 30 D 40   50  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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