This poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sudden Light was inspired by his love for Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal. Between his near poverty and her failing health he did not marry her until the end of their nine year's engagement. It was a union that was ended in less than two years by death in 1862. This London-born son of a Neapolitan museum curator started out his artistic career as a painter then finally switched to writing. He was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. It is probably one of the poems that lay buried with his wife until he gave permission in 1869 to have those previously unpublished manuscripts interred. It has a spaced-out time-warp quality to it, without too much of the expected Victorian florality.


   I have been here before,
      But when or how I cannot tell:
   I know the grass beyond the door,
      The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the
         shore.

   You have been mine before,---
      How long ago I may not know;
   But just when at that swallow's soar
      Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall,---I knew it all of yore.

   Has this been thus before?
      And shall not thus time's eddying flight
   Still with our lives our love restore
      In death's despite,
And day and night yield one delight once
         more?

---Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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