Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maids heard the goblins cry:

Congratulations those who guessed! The illustration was from "Goblin Market," by Christina Rossetti.

A.S. Byatt's books always seems to inspire me to read Victorian poetry. The Children's Book is no different, and this time the poetry in question is "Goblin Market." I'm fairly sure the book mentions it and that's why I thought of it, but I might have done anyway. It's one I always meant to read. And it fits very nicely with themes in The Children's Book, with much of the mood.
Backwards up the mossy glen
Turned and trooped the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry,
"Come buy, come buy."
When they reached where Laura was
They stood stock still upon the moss,
Leering at each other,
Brother with queer brother;
Signalling each other,
Brother with sly brother.
One set his basket down,
One reared his plate;
One began to weave a crown
Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
(Men sell not such in any town);
One heaved the golden weight
Of dish and fruit to offer her:
"Come buy, come buy," was still their cry.
I've always loved depictions of a sinister kind of Fairyland, or Elfland. They're so thoroughly rooted in mythology and history, and like the fruits of Elfland, "Plump unpecked cherries-- Melons and raspberries, Bloom-down-cheeked peaches," colourful and enticing and thoroughly dangerous.

You can read the entire poem here.

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