The Blessed Damozel as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

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The Blessed Damozel as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

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–Menonim Menonimus

D.G Rossetti's 'The Blessed Damozel' as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

The Blessed Damozel as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

The Blessed Damozel as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

The term ‘Pre-Raphaelite Movement’ refers to a movement in art and literature especially in painting and poetry in England during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). The movement arose as an idealistic reaction against the didacticism, moral fervour, social sordidness and materialism of Victorian Society. The main exponents of this movement were Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everest Millais and William Holman Hunt. They formed a group in 1848 A. D. called The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Later on, Morris and Swinburne joined the brotherhood. It is called so because they derived their inspiration and ideals from the 14th and 15th-century Italian painters, especially from Giotto and Bellini who were prior to Raphael. The members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood advocated freedom of thought, glorification of beauty, mysticism, melancholic note, symbolism, simplicity, melody and cleanliness of style in art and literature in contrast to the existing ideals of the Victorians. In other words, to say, they advocated art for art’s sake. They had no morality to preach, no reform to introduce through the medium of art and literature. To create beauty reflecting human instinct as a source of joy was their hidden motto. In this respect, the Pre- Raphaelite Brotherhood revived the Romanticism of Keats and Coleridge without employing the term ‘Romanticism’. The members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were painters cum poets. D. G. Rossetti was the leading figure of this movement. His poem entitled ‘The Blessed Damozel’ is a representative poem of this movement. In the poem, he has portrayed the freedom of thought, glorification of beauty, sensuous appeal, medieval mysticism, richness of imagination, simplicity, melody and cleanliness of style. Let us illustrate Rossetti’s poem ‘The Blessed Damozel’ as an example of Pre- Raphaelite Poetry.

First, the Poet D. G. Rossetti makes freedom of thought and turns his mind from this ugly, disordered materialistic human society to heaven which is full of beauty, peace and order. He is not concerned with the affairs of what is worldly but with the affairs that are heavenly. Hence he has portrayed a Damozel who is not on the earth but on heaven. The poem is full of fertile imagination which has created the imageries of beauty and beauty alone. For example, we can cite the following lines:

‘The blessed Damozel leaned out

 From the gold bar of heaven

……………………………

She had three lilies in her hand

And the stars in her hand were seven.’ 

Secondly, the description of his sense of beauty is highly sensuous. His imageries affect our sense-organs more than they affect our intellect. His sensuous imageries sometimes become voluptuous.  The whole poem is a bunch of sensuous imagery. In it, we get the imageries of heaven with its ridge, wall, garden and buildings; we get the imageries of Christ, Mary and the imageries of the pair of lovers walking hand in hand. We get such lines in the poem, as:

”Surely she leaned ov’r me, her hair

 Fell at about my face…..”

Thirdly, there is a note of medieval mysticism, as we get in S. T Coleridge’s poem ‘The Rime of Ancient Mariner’. In ‘The Blessed Damozel’ we get such lines, as:

”I’ll take his hand and go with him

 To the deep wells of light

……………………………

And bathe there in God’s sight.”

Fourthly, there is a melancholic note throughout the poem. Though The Blessed Damozel is in heaven, yet she is not happy. She craves to be united with her lover who is on the earth. The poet says:

”And then she cast her arms along

The golden barriers

And laid her face, between her hands,

And wept.”

Fifthly, the technique and the style of the poem are featured by simplicity, melody and cleanliness in the use of words, phrases and cadence. The following lines serve as an example quoted at random:

‘Her voice was like the voice the stars

 Had when they sang together.’

From the illustration done above, it is seen that the poem ‘The Blessed Damozel by D. G. Rossetti is a representative poem of The Pre-Raphaelite School of Poetry where all the features conceived of by the poets of the school have got full depiction. 0 0 0

The Blessed Damozel as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

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The Blessed Damozel as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

N. B. This article entitled ‘The Blessed Damozel as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry’ originally belongs to the book ‘Critical Essays on English Poetry‘ by Menonim Menonimus. The Blessed Damozel as a Pre-Raphaelite Poetry

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period
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Menonimus
I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.

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