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Additional resources for Christina Rossetti’s Faithful Imagination: The Devotional Poetry and Prose
Solomon is then prefigured as Christ, as Rossetti offers a typological reading of the Song of Solomon, which Christianity read as a prefiguration of God’s love for man and Christ’s love for the Church. The poet addresses God, asking Him to ‘Clothe us as Thy lilies of a day’, personifying lilies as God’s people (3). The lilies are of God’s ‘making’ (5) and, just as importantly, ‘of (His) love partaking’ (6). As in ‘“Consider the Lilies of the Field”’ of 1853, the metaphor of nature becomes useful in conveying what Rossetti sees as the cyclical relationship, created by God’s love, between the earthly and the divine.
43–4). Like Keats’s Madeline, the woman in ‘Repining’ longs for earthly satisfaction from a fantasy lover. Though Madeline offers rituals and prayers to St. Agnes, these acts are more pagan than Christian, as they are rites meant to secure ‘Agnes’ dreams, the sweetest of the year’ (‘The Eve of St. Agnes’, 63). Her praying, too, is ironized by the voyeurism of Porphyro, and by the possibility of collusion from ‘so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint’ (225). Rossetti’s woman, like Madeline, is both innocent and knowing.
The implication here is that Solomon was distracted from God by his own tremendous material wealth, that in fact, his possessions became a burden to him, and an obstacle to his relationship with God. Christ draws an analogy between the lilies of the field and human beings, suggesting that if, like the lilies, they trust in God’s love, they will want for nothing. 15 The lilies symbolize Christ’s people in another way because the lily is a flower native to Palestine. ’ Solomon was famous for his wisdom, his ‘thought’, but his wisdom ultimately would come to nothing before God because it was earthly rather than divine.