Friday, February 15, 2008

Maria Rossetti on Eigendunkel

eaning of the expletive."
The elder Miss Rossetti had also something of her elder brother's artistic faculty. Two or three designs in A Shadow of Dante were her own work. In addition to this book there is one imaginative essay by her which is practically unknown. It is very scarce indeed; possibly not half a dozen copies are extant. I have seen one copy only, that which was lent me by Miss Christina Rossetti. it was printed privately in 1846, when the authoress was in her nineteenth year. The title is The Rivulet; a Dream not all a Dream, and the matter is an allegory of life and religion, where the personalities are introduced as Liebe (Love), Selbsucht (Selfishness), Eigendunkel (Presumption), and Faule (Indolence). The "rivulets" represent the natural heart of man; the "serpents " who are for ever fouling the waters, the devil ; the fruit and flowers overhanging the banks and poisonous when 'they fall into streams, the grosser and less palpably sinful allurements of the world the crystal mirror which the guardian of each rivulet has in keeping represents the Scriptures ; the vases of perfume, prayer ; and the healing water, baptism. The booklet is animated by the same extreme religious sentiment of renunciation that many years later prompted the authoress to enter the All Saints motherhood.

No comments: