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Christina Georgina Rossetti

(5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894 / London)

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A Study (A Soul)


She stands as pale as Parian statues stand;
Like Cleopatra when she turned at bay,
And felt her strength above the Roman sway,
And felt the aspic writhing in her hand.
Her face is steadfast toward the shadowy land,
For dim beyond it looms the light of day;
Her feet are steadfast; all the arduous way
That foot-track hath not wavered on the sand.
She stands there like a beacon thro' the night,
A pale clear beacon where the storm-drift is;
She stands alone, a wonder deathly white;
She stands there patient, nerved with inner might,
Indomitable in her feebleness,
Her face and will athirst against the light.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie - 294 Points Ramesh T A (10/16/2012 3:10:00 AM)

    Rossetti's sonnet is fine to read! The character like Cleopatra she has carved here standing as beacon light dimming bright all around gives the shape of flame or soul bright! Character depiction after a deep study perhaps makes this sonnet lively and real like to read! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 182 Points Karen Sinclair (10/16/2012 2:41:00 AM)

    Strange that she should use the word soul in this write as it is positively (to me) disassociated and dare i say quite souless... im not for one minute knocking this work im just saying the language chosen is so stark and desolate, maybe that is the success of this piece...it feels to me that maybe a love was lost and the subject is trying to stand strong..... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Harmon (10/16/2009 10:30:00 PM)

    Par•i•an (pâr-n, pr-)
    adj.
    1. Of or relating to the island of Páros or its inhabitants.
    2. Of or being a type of white, semitranslucent marble quarried at Páros and highly valued in ancient times for making sculptures.
    3. Of or being a fine white porcelain.
    n.
    1. A native or inhabitant of Páros.
    2. Parian marble.
    3. Parian porcelain.

    Also, “Aspic” is archaic for an asp (venomous snake) .
    Both from:

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


    With her brother's (Dante Gabriel) work, another finely-chiseled, erudite-and somewhat cold-sonnet. (Report) Reply

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