A Valentine’s Poem: Lovesight by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

It’s that time of year again, when love is in the air (and in the windows of card shops, perhaps more appropriately…excuse the slightly cynical nature of a long-term singleton). Yes, the day of Saint Valentine is upon us once again – on Sunday to be precise, just as a reminder for anyone who’s forgotten and needs to make a dash for a token of love for their nearest and dearest.

Forget the chocolates, flowers and fluffy teddies, dogs and almost any other kind of animal imaginable (even though they are cute) – if you really want to win the heart of your valentine, then love poetry is definitely the way to go. According to a recent study, most members of the fairer sex would like nothing better as a Valentine’s gift than to receive a love poem or letter from their significant other. Unfortunately, the male population are less than forthcoming in the literary department, with 6% resorting to plagiarism of existing romantic poetry to make a favourable impression – well, at least they’re trying. (Although, to be fair to men, embarrassment may be a major factor in restraining the poet within – Aberystwyth University is conducting some rather intriguing research into whether reading love poems get us hot under the collar.)

No need to take such drastic measures – The Reader Online can come to the rescue for your romantic quandaries with a very special Valentine’s poem. Whether it’s for an unknowing object of desire or a long-term lover (or alternatively if you’re still waiting for Cupid’s arrow to strike, for yourself), nobody will be able to resist these beautiful words courtesy of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Of course if you’d prefer to select your own Valentine’s poem, there are plenty to choose from on Poets.org. Also, The Poetry Archive and The Times Online have teamed up – together with a number of very famous names and poets – to offer recordings of love poems that can be sent to a loved one. So boys (and girls), there really is no excuse!

Lovesight

When do I see thee most, beloved one?
When in the light the spirits of mine eyes
Before thy face, their altar, solemnize
The worship of that Love through thee made known?
Or when in the dusk hours (we two alone,)
Close-kissed and eloquent of still replies
twilight-hidden glimmering visage lies,
And my soul only sees thy soul its own?

O love, my love! if I no more should see
Thyself, nor on the earth the shadow of thee,
Nor image of thine eyes in any spring,–
How then should sound upon Life’s darkening slope
The ground-whirl of the perished leaves of Hope,
The wind of Death’s imperishable wing?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

1 thought on “A Valentine’s Poem: Lovesight by Dante Gabriel Rossetti”

  1. Lisa,

    We hope you won’t be too embarrassed
    Or feel that you are being harassed
    If we confess, on Saint Val’s Sunday,
    Your blog posts brighten up each Monday!

    When set against the great Rossetti
    These lines may sag like wet spaghetti,
    But please accept them as a token
    (However bad, however broken)

    Of how much we all love your updates:
    Hardy, Tennyson, W. B. Yeats…
    You write so well. What wit! What styling!
    Each sentence sounds as if it’s smiling.

    Yes, you deserve a million flowers,
    A serenade that lasts for hours,
    A swish hotel with stunning sea-view.
    Single? Nonsense. We don’t believe you.

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