The following lines are from his 1870 collection, which has behing it one of the more rousing stories in poetic history; in 1862, Rossetti's wife Lizzie died of an opium overdose, and he, wracked with a mixture of grief and guilt, (and a notoriously manic personality) buried the manuscripts of several dozen of his poems in her coffin. Several years later, regretting that he had squandered some of his best work in the throws of the sort of macabre personal drama common amongst 19th century English poets, he exhumed her body in order to recover the poems. He subesequently published them and went on to fame, if not fortune, a laudanum addiction, bouts of paranoia, adultery with his best friend's wife, and death at the age of 54.
Here is some of his better work:
From "The Portrait":
Here with her face doth memory sit
Meanwhile, and look on day's decline,
'Til other eyes shall look from it,
Eyes of the spirit's Palestine,
Even than the old gaze tenderer;
While hopes and aims long lost with her
Stand round her image side by side,
Like tombs of pilgrims that have died
About the Holy Sepulcher.
"The One Hope":
When vain desire at last and vain regret
Go hand in hand to death, and all is vain,
What shall assuage the unforgotten pain
And teach the unforgetful to forget?
Shall peace be still a sunk dream long unmet-
Or may the soul at once in a green plain
Stoop through the spray of some sweet life fountain
And cull the dew-drenched flowering amulet?
Ah! When the wan soul in that golden air
Between the scriptured petals softly blown
Peers breathless for the gift of grace unknown-
Ah! Let none other alien spell soe'er
But only the one Hope's one name be there-
Not less nor more, but even that word alone.
Ah! Let not hope be still distraught
But find in her its gracious goal,
Whose speach Truth knows not from her thought,
Not Love her body from her soul.