A New Take on a Classic Theme

Rossetti’s “The Blesses Damozel” depicts the rather common literary theme of two lovers who are unable to be together, but portrays it from a unique perspective. In the poem, the damsel is illustrated as a beautiful maiden who is in heaven looking down upon her lover on earth. Dante’s rich descriptions bring the woman to life, as seen on line 11,

“Her hair that lay along her back

Was yellow like ripe corn”

While describing her, Rossetti uses warm words, like the color yellow, to illustrate her as bright and almost holy character. Along with the damsel, Rossetti vividly describes the gap between the two in line 29 by writing,

“So high, that looking downward thence

She scarce could see the sun”

This great divide between the two lovers and the fact that they are not together seems to cause the damsel a lot of pain and grief. Rossetti’s new perspective on the theme of separated lovers is unique because of the setting. This damsel is in Heaven, a place where traditionally everyone is in a state of bliss and disconnected from any earthly or material desires. It’s therefore strange how Rossetti’s depicts the damsel in pain, waiting for her lover still on Earth. Through describing the damsel’s physical appearance, as well as illustrating the mental turmoil she is experiencing, Rossetti gives a unique and comprehensive depiction of this “Blessed Damozel”.

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