“When I am dead, my dearest”- poem by Christina Rossetti




“When I am dead, my dearest”- poem by Christina Rossetti


When I am dead, my dearest

Sing no sad songs for me

Plant thou no roses at my head

Nor shady cypress tree

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet

And if thou wilt, remember

And if thou wilt, forget

I shall not see the shadows

I shall not feel the rain

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain

And dreaming throughout the twilight

That doth not rise nor set

Haply I may remember

And haply may forget

On December 5, 1830, Christina Rossetti was born in London, one of four children of Italian parents. Her father was the poet Gabriele Rossetti; her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti also became a poet and a painter. Rossetti’s first poems were written in 1842 and printed in the private press of her grandfather. In 1850, under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyne, she contributed seven poems to the Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ, which had been founded by her brother William Michael and his friends.

Rossetti is best known for her ballads and her mystic religious lyrics. Her poetry is marked by symbolism and intense feeling. Rossetti’s best-known work, Goblin Market and Other Poems, was published in 1862. The collection established Rossetti as a significant voice in Victorian poetry. The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems, appeared in 1866 followed by Sing-Song, a collection of verse for children, in 1872 (with illustrations by Arthur Hughes).

By the 1880s, recurrent bouts of Graves’ disease, a thyroid disorder, made Rossetti an invalid, and ended her attempts to work as a governess. While the illness restricted her social life, she continued to write poems. Among her later works are A Pageant and Other Poems (1881), and The Face of the Deep (1892). Rossetti also wrote religious prose works, such as Seek and Find (1879), Called To Be Saints (1881) and The Face of the Deep (1892). In 1891, Rossetti developed cancer, of which she died in London on December 29, 1894. Rossetti’s brother, William Michael, edited her collected works in 1904, but the Complete Poems were not published before 1979.

Christina Rossetti is increasingly being reconsidered a major Victorian poet. She has been compared to Emily Dickinson but the similarity is more in the choice of spiritual topics than in poetic approach, Rossetti’s poetry being one of intense feelings, her technique refined within the forms established in her time.


Here is the poem being read by the Canadian actor Jonathan Frid (1924-2012). Jonathan was a RADA trained stage actor, who became widely admired for his brilliant portrayal of the mesmerising vampire Barnabas Collins on the TV series Dark Shadows (1966-1971). Jonathan had a particularly beautiful voice, rich and sonorous. He reads this poignant poem with great tenderness and beauty.

Muse (short fiction) by Nicola Belte



White as china, she is, a new polished plate, ready to be broken. She ain’t more than ten-and-fifteen, made very tiny by the master’s heavy, black overcoat what’s thrown about her shoulders. I stand back as the door swings wide, the carriage crunching away over the gravel, her boots tipping and tapping on the step, not wanting in but not keen on staying out, neither. I’d tell her to bolt, to run screaming, but there ain’t no-one what can see me. Her skirts swoosh into the parlour, and there’s that rattle and clank of buckets, as the maids make ready her bath.

* * *

Maud’s her name. The morning sun has her propped up in her nest of feather quilts, her eyes bold and bright. There’s food on a tray aside the bed — poached eggs and bacon and sweet, milky tea. At first. As soon as the master starts his work they quick lose the stomach for it.

“Will it hurt?” she mutters to herself, shaping the burnt rind into the curl of a question. I think of her mother, weighting her empty heart and home to the velvet sack of shillings in her pocket. Think of a sweetheart, perhaps, seeing her face, for a while, in every passing flower-girl; her shape forming in each swirl of steam from the trains what growl across the arches. But they’ll forget.

“I daresay it will,” I whisper. I stare out over the spindly trees and the tall metal gates, run my fingers over the frost what’s gathered on the inside of the glass. I don’t feel nothing, and I’m glad for it.

* * *

“Consumption. To be consumed, to be eaten up, to have all that is superfluous burned away, in one glorious moment.” The master and his men talk in the parlour as I stand outside. I put my face to their long coats on the hat-stand, choke back the smell of January rain and the suffocating smog of the city. “A woman is most beautiful on the brink of death. It is capturing the apple at its ripest, before it starts to decay. There is beauty in death, and in death there is art.”



Beethoven  Hero: documentary film trilogy by Kerry Candaele




Beethoven  Hero is a continuing exploration of the man, his music, and his extraordinary reach across time and space. The trilogy takes us on a journey through history and around the world, telling stories of the enduring power of Beethoven’s creations—of the ways they live within us and transcend the boundaries that separate us.

The legacy of Beethoven—in our personal lives and in the public conflicts, tragedies and occasional triumphs that define our times—is complex, and Beethoven | Hero explores this complexity. The first part of the trilogy,Following the Ninth (2013), followed the music to China, Chile, Germany and Japan. The second part, Love & Justice, takes us to Chile once more, using Beethoven’s Fidelio to explore the darkness of political repression and the way Chileans tried to sustain hope in the shadow of Pinochet. The third part, Last Will and Testament, will follow in the footsteps of Beethoven’s powerful Late Quartets.

While I do believe that Beethoven’s music somehow captures universal virtues—the courageous and passionate will to overcome all defeats, spiritual and physical—I am also open to the fact that I am living within the mythos of Beethoven the Hero. His image, both biographical and musical, continues to pull us toward the man and his creations. We puzzle over the man, and we embrace the music in an attempt, always incomplete, to understand who we are as humans, in pain, in love, in joy, in accents both spiritual and sensual at equal turns.

At a time when art and music are disappearing from school curricula, we are designing the Beethoven | Hero trilogy to be used in schools across the country to improve students’ understanding of the arts and of the historical contexts in which they are created and experienced. Beethoven | Hero tells the story of how art—emerging from the collision of history and flawed, brilliant humanity—outlives its creator to challenge, inspire and occasionally transform us.