Dante Gabriel called him Duns Scotus, –
told Cecilia, –
Rossetti even wrote an epitaph:
Here lies Duns Scotus
Who died of lotus.
But D.G. himself was the first to be laid down.
What will our Cousin C say
Poor Duncy D to see? –
asked the unknown author of ‘Nursery Novelties’.
What did Christina Rossetti call William Bell Scott?
And then: an absent friend.
And after that: the anguish of a lifetime.
One of her biographers, Lona Mosk Parker, contends
that after ‘Autobiographical Notes’ by W. Bell Scott
containing in the highest degree ill-natured attacks
on the personality of her late brother
were posthumously published
Christina’s lifelong infatuation came to an abrupt end,
as “she could have blinded herself no longer
to Scott’s true character”.
Mistake a U for V just once
And you’ll be written down a dunce.
Imprint the W on your wits
Or you are the next the Master hits.
The Foolish Soul she called her own.
But then, who are those who follow on to love?
Our Master lies asleep and is at rest
The sun ashamed has dropt down in the west.
Yet one has to consider the fact
that this ‘lifelong’ infatuation’ is no more
than a product of imagination on the biographer’s part
and later works on Christina Rossetti’s life
usually don’t take it into account.