Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve with Christina Rossetti

photo © Mark Butkus 2003
A bridal robe of spotless snow...

Christmas hath a darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon,
Christmas hath a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas hath a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Earth, strike up your music,
Birds that sing and bells that ring;
Heaven hath answering music
For all Angels soon to sing:
Earth, put on your whitest
Bridal robe of spotless snow:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.


— Christina Rossetti


Is it surprising that a child of December, named after Christ, would have a canon of beloved Christmas poems?

Born on December 5, 1830 Christina Rossetti was considered the natural successor to Elizabeth Barrett Browning following Browning's death in 1861. Born into one of the most creative families of 19th century England, Rossetti's enduring legacy is owed in part to her Christmas poems which have been set to music by Holst among others.