Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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Если бы не трагические события в жизни этого редкого по дарованиям поэта, я бы вспомнила русскую поговорку: "всяк по своему с ума сходит".

Прочтите все до конца и вы поймете, о чем идет речь.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) is an English poet, illustrator, painter, and translator.

England, 1869

Rossetti loved exotic animals and began to collect them with a passion after the tragic death of his wife Elizabeth Siddal in 1862. He had moved to 16 Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, a house with a large garden that soon became a miniature zoo.
Much to the distress of his neighbours, the list of animals grew to include:
 – two wombats (два вомбата),
 – owls (совы), 
 – kangaroos (кенгуру), 
 – wallabies (кенгуру-валлаби), 
 – a deer (лань), 
 – armadillos (броненосцы), 
 – parakeets (длиннохвостый попугай), 
 – peacocks (павлины), 
 – a racoon (енот), 
 – a Canadian marmot (канадский сурок) or woodchuck (лесной сурок), 
 – a Japanese salamander(японская саламандра), 
 – two laughing jackasses (два больших австралийских зимородка) 
 – and a zebu (зебу) or small Brahminee bull (небольшой Brahminee бык).
He even made enquiries about purchasing a young African elephant.

The wombats* had a special place in Rossetti’s heart. In a letter to his brother he described the arrival of the first one as ‘a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness’. This drawing commemorates the short-lived second wombat:

Rossetti lamenting the death of his wombat, a pen drawing


It is inscribed with a verse:

I never reared a young wombat
To glad me with his pin-hole eye,
But when
he was most sweet and fat
And tail-less
he was sure to die’

The inscribed verse is a parody of Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh (1817):

‘I never nurs’d a dear gazelle / To glad me with its soft black eye,

/ But when it came to know me well / And love me, it was sure to die!’

Instead of being layed to rest in the handsome tomb we see here, the unfortunate marsupial was actually stuffed and placed in Rossetti’s entrance hall.

***

*wombat – животное из сумчатых, величиной с кролика, но не прыгает, живет в Австралии

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