Do you ever think of me? you who died
Ere our Youth's first fervour chilled,
With your soft eyes and your pulses stilled
Lying alone, aside,
Do you ever think of me, left in the light,
From the endless calm of your dawnless night?
|Dante Rossetti, Beata Beatrix, ca 1870|
I am faithful always: I do not say
That the lips which thrilled to your lips of old
To lesser kisses are always cold;
Had you wished for this in its narrow sense
Our love perhaps had been less intense;
But as we held faithfulness, you and I,
I am faithful always, as you who lie,
Asleep for ever, beneath the grass,
While the days and nights and the seasons pass, -
I keep your memory near my heart,
My brilliant, beautiful guiding Star,
Till long live over, I too depart
To the infinite night where perhaps you are.
Oh, are you anywhere? Loved so well!
I would rather know you alive in Hell
Than think your beauty is nothing now,
With its deep dark eyes and tranquil brow
Where the hair fell softly. Can this be true
That nothing, nowhere, exists of you?
Nothing, nowhere, oh, loved so well
I have never forgotten.
Do you still keep
Thoughts of me through your dreamless sleep?
Oh, gone from me! lost in Eternal Night,
Lost Star of light,
Risen splendidly, set so soon,
Through the weariness of life's afternoon
I dream of your memory yet.
My loved and lost, whom I could not save,
My youth went down with you to the grave,
Though other planets and stars may rise,
I dream of your soft and sorrowful eyes
And I cannot forget.
|G.F. Watts ca 1870|
It is also a poem of philosophical angst - there is no surety here like in Golden Eyes that two souls united in life will always meet again and again. Instead the poet poses anxious questions about exactly where the Beloved is, and longs for some real answers and a change of fate, even if it means going to an actual Hell to get it. This is an echo of the Orpheus myth, with the female poet taking the place of the immortal musician who gladly travels to Hades to recover his loved one.
|Christina Rossetti, poet|
|Laurence Hope, poet|
Notice the similarity of pose
and garment in these photos.
Interestingly, even though Remember is a Petrarchan Sonnet, the poem Goblin Market is written in an experimental form without a set rhyme scheme or metrical pattern. The book's success showed that it was acceptable to write in both formal and experimental styles, something that Hope also does throughout her Indian works. It may also be worth examining the idea that the Victoriana "cult of mourning," perfectly demonstrated in poems like Remember, must have made an essential mark on the consciousness of young Adela which she carried forward into her life and works.
|de Morgan, ca 1890|
Angel of Death
Along with most female poets, Hope was snubbed by academia (as described in Anindyo Roy's discussion on David Perkins) which determined who was taught in school. Though enormously popular for decades, this non-status has eventually doomed her work and the study of her life to the shadows. Her memory may be almost dead, "Lying alone, aside," except to a handful of us for whom she will always be more than just remembered, but unforgotten.
NOTE: "Unforgotten" is recorded in the sixth section of India's Love Lyrics and may be listened to here. This is a sneak preview, and will not be available on Librivox until the entire book has been recorded.