The Poet Swineburne lived on the Isle of Wight where he may have conceived his poem and play about two women named Rosamond. I went looking for Rena in hope she would help me complete her portrait I started, I deciding she would be my version of Fair Rosamond. Last month I made plans to go to Montana to visit the rosy graves of my kindred.
BORN OF TWO ROSES
A half hour ago I talked to Deborah Cryder at the Forestvale Cemetary. She is going to send me information on Ida Rose who died when she was 28 years of age of dropsy. Twenty days later, Ida’s daughter, Dollie Rosamond, dies. She is less then one year old. Royal Rosamond lost his mother and baby sister in one fail swoop. He must have been traumatized. Then, his father gets remarried to a Mildred, who may not have wanted Frank around, and he is “bound” out to his uncle, James Taylor, who married Ida’s sister, Laura Rosamond. Frank will call William Scott Spaulding his father. Did William adopt Frank? If so, when? I believe there is a typo, in regards to the Reese name. John Wesley Rose buried here. Is this where Frank got his middle name? This would make three generations of the Rose Family buried in Montana.
Edward Haney Rose is the grandfather of Ida Rose, and father of John Wesley Rose.
To be born by a mother born Rosemary Rosamond, who named me John, not knowing her great grandfather was named John Rose, is a genealogical wonder. I will be recording my findings with the Rose Family Association.
Oxford he met nearly everyone who would influence his later life, including Rossetti, Morris, and Burne-Jones, who in 1857 were painting their Arthurian murals on the walls of the Oxford Union, and Benjamin Jowett, the master of Balliol College, who recognized his poetic talent and tried to keep him from being expelled when he began celebrating Orsini, the Italian patriot who attempted to assassinate Napoleon III in 1858. Leaving Oxford in 1860, he became very friendly with the Rossettis. After Elizabeth Siddall‘s (Mrs. Rossetti)’s death in 1862, he and Rossetti moved to Tudor House, 16 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.
In December 1677, the Norwich Mayor’s Court granted Elizabeth Soane a licence ‘to make shew of a Motion Called Fayre Rosamond until further order’.¹ Now here, finally, we have a clear reference to a well-known story. This play or ‘Motion’ must have recounted the life and death of one of England’s most famous royal mistresses, a surprisingly crowded field.
Hymn to Proserpine” is a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, published in Poems and Ballads in 1866. The poem is addressed to the goddess Proserpina, the Roman equivalent of Persephone, but laments the rise of Christianity for displacing the pagan goddess and her pantheon.
The epigraph at the beginning of the poem is the phrase Vicisti, Galilaee, Latin for “You have conquered, O Galilean“, the apocryphal dying words of the Emperor Julian. He had tried to reverse the official endorsement of Christianity by the Roman Empire. The poem is cast in the form of a lament by a person professing the paganism of classical antiquity and lamenting its passing, and expresses regret at the rise of Christianity. Lines 35 and 36 express this best:
Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath; We have drunken of things Lethean, and fed on the fullness of death.
The line “Time and the Gods are at strife” inspired the title of Lord Dunsany‘s Time and the Gods.
Swinburne’s poetic works include: Atalanta in Calydon (1865), Poems and Ballads (1866), Songs before Sunrise (1871), Poems and Ballads Second Series, (1878) Tristram of Lyonesse (1882), Poems and Ballads Third Series (1889), and the novel Lesbia Brandon (published posthumously in 1952).
Poems and Ballads caused a sensation when it was first published, especially the poems written in homage of Sappho of Lesbos such as “Anactoria” and “Sapphics“: Moxon and Co. transferred its publication rights to John Camden Hotten. Other poems in this volume such as “The Leper,” “Laus Veneris,” and “St Dorothy” evoke a Victorian fascination with the Middle Ages, and are explicitly mediaeval in style, tone and construction. Also featured in this volume are “Hymn to Proserpine“, “The Triumph of Time” and “Dolores (Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs)“.
Swinburne devised the poetic form called the roundel, a variation of the French Rondeau form, and some were included in A Century of Roundels dedicated to Christina Rossetti. Swinburne wrote to Edward Burne-Jones in 1883: “I have got a tiny new book of songs or songlets, in one form and all manner of metres … just coming out, of which Miss Rossetti has accepted the dedication. I hope you and Georgie [his wife Georgiana, one of the MacDonald sisters] will find something to like among a hundred poems of nine lines each, twenty-four of which are about babies or small children”. Opinions of these poems vary between those who find them captivating and brilliant, to those who find them merely clever and contrived. One of them, A Baby’s Death, was set to music by the English composer Sir Edward Elgar as the song “Roundel: The little eyes that never knew Light“.
Swinburne was influenced by the work of William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Catullus, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Robert Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Victor Hugo. While he was popular in England during his life, Swinburne’s influence has greatly decreased since his death.
After the first Poems and Ballads, Swinburne’s later poetry was increasingly devoted to philosophy and politics, including the unification of Italy, particularly in the volume Songs before Sunrise. He did not stop writing love poetry entirely, including his great epic-length poem, Tristram of Lyonesse, but its content is much less shocking than those of his earlier love poetry. His versification, and especially his rhyming technique, remain in top form to the end.
Is thy name
Babe? Sweet are babes as flowers that wed the sun,
But man may be not born a babe again,
And less than man may woman. Rosamund
Stands radiant now in royal pride of place
As wife of thine and queen of Lombards—not
Cunimund’s daughter. Hadst thou slain her sire
Shamefully, shame were thine to have sought her hand
And shame were hers to love thee: but he died
Manfully, by thy mightier hand than his
Manfully mastered. War, born blind as fire,
Fed not as fire upon her: many a maid
As royal dies disrobed of all but shame
And even to death burnt up for shame’s sake: she
Lives, by thy grace, imperial.