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Christina Rossetti was born in 1830 in London, one of four children of Italian parents. Her father was the poet Gabriele Rossetti and her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti also became a poet and a painter. Rossetti’s first poems were written in 1842 and printed in the private press of her grandfather. She is best known for her ballads and her mystic religious lyrics. Christina Rossetti is increasingly being reconsidered a major Victorian poet. She has been compared to Emily Dickinson, but the similarity is more in the choice of spiritual topics than in poetic approach, Rossetti’s poetry being one of intense feelings. This poem is one of number she wrote about the Christmas season - her best-known being In the bleak mid-winter. This poem contrasts the innocent and pure baby Jesus with hints of the life and death to come. This poem was written sometime before 1886 at a time of great productivity, and some time before her cancer diagnosis in 1891.
Text by Christina Rossetti