In an Artist’s Studio

Christina Georgina Rossetti

One face looks out from all his canvases,
One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,
A saint, an angel – every canvas means
The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,
Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894), first wrote poems under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyne. In 1861, at the urging of her sister-in-law Lizzie Siddal, she prepared her poems for publication, establishing herself as one of the Victorian era’s preeminent poets. In 1891 she was considered to replace Alfred, Lord Tennyson, as Poet Laureate but developed cancer. To this day none of the British Poets Laureate have been women.