The Blessed Damozel

Answer any four of the following questions.

1. How would you describe the rhyme scheme? What effect does each of this have on the feel and mood of the poem?

2. What, exactly, is the damozel (at least in the dream vision of her lover on earth) longing and waiting for? What do they ultimately hope will happen to them? Why do you think that the author sets off the earthly lovers conscious thoughts with parentheses (as opposed to, say, italics, which he used in earlier drafts, or some other device)?

3. Consider the poem in relation to Rossettis painting, reproduced in Color Plate 17? What details should we pay special attention to? What aspects of the poem does the painting most strongly accentuate? What aspects of the poem does it complicate (or in what ways might the painting be surprising to readers of the poem)?

4. Read (selectively) the scholarly commentary about the painting that exists on the Rossetti Archives site. What in the reading helps you better understand either the poem or the painting (or both)? If it applies, you can also write about how what you read in the commentary helped you make connections to other things you have learned in other classes.

5. Listen to at least some of Debussys cantata, which is based on the poem. What aspects of the poem does it foreground, for you? Is there anything about the cantata that surprises you or seems inconsistent with your understanding of the poem?

6. How do the authors word choices throughout the poem establish tone, and what does this contribute to the development of the poem? Are there any words or images that are especially striking? Why might the author have chosen that word and not another?

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