The Choice I
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
As a poet and painter, as well as a translator, Rossetti spent much of his life, often painting on literary themes or, for example, illustrating such volumes as Lord Tennyson's Poems (1857), hesitating between painting and poetry. His poems were first published in 1850 in 'The Germ', the journal of the famous Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood that he had set up, along with six others, in 1848. These included The Blessed Damosel, My Sister's Sleep and a piece of prose writing entitled Hand and Soul. He only published again almost twenty years later with the appearance of sixteen sonnets in 'The Fortnightly Review' in 1869. This was followed by a volume of Poems (1870) that included the first part of what is sometimes referred to as his masterpiece, The House of Life. The second work to appear in 1881, again with another volume entitled Poems (1881), in which Rossetti chiefly rearranged earlier works, was Ballads and Sonnets in which The House of Life was completed and forty-seven new sonnets and some historical ballads added. Other important works are Rossetti's response made to a criticism of the Pre-Raphaelite school, The Stealthy School of Criticism that appeared in 'The Athanaeum' in 1872, and the translations of Dante, Dante and His Circle (1874), and Villon.
Eat thou and drink, tomorrow thou shalt die.
Now kiss, and think that there are really those,