Poetas líricos en lengua inglesa: Rossetti, Swinburne, Wilde y otros

Sexta y última parte del prólogo de Silvina Ocampo a la antología Poetas líricos en lengua inglesa (Buenos Aires: Jackson, 1952 y Barcelona: Océano, 1999).


A mediados del siglo XIX surgió en Inglaterra aquella nueva y confusa escuela de poesía y de pintura llamada prerrafaelista, cuyo advenimiento enriqueció la poesía y menoscabó la pintura. Un reducido grupo de artistas protegidos por Ruskin inició el movimiento, que pretendía combatir algunas convenciones del arte literario y pictórico de aquellos tiemps, regresando a las formas más antiguas y más naturales que existían en el arte europeo antes de Rafael. Dante Gabriel Rossetti encabezaba el grupo, formado por William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, William Michael Rossetti, Thomas Woolner, Frederick George Stephens y James Collinson, al que se agregaron después Burne-Jones y William Morris.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti era de origen italiano. Desde su infancia había mostrado marcada predilección por la pintura y fue conocido antes por sus cuadros que por su obra literaria.
En la revista The Germ, que publicaron los prerrafaelistas y que después se llamó Art and Poetry, aparecieron los primeros versos de Rossetti, The Blessed Damozel; luego, en un volumen, una serie de excelentes traducciones de poetas italianos: Dante and his Circle.

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La belleza

“Oh, please! There are some scented rushes!” Alice cried in a sudden transport of delight. “There really are——and such beauties!”

“You needn’t say ‘please’ to me about ‘em,” the Sheep said, without looking up from her knitting: “I didn’t put ‘em there, and I’m not going to take ‘em away.”

“No, but I meant——please, may we wait and pick some?” Alice pleaded. “If you don’t mind stopping the boat for a minute.”

“How am I to stop it?” said the Sheep. “If you leave off rowing, it’ll stop of itself.”

So the boat was left to drift down the stream as it would, till it glided gently in among the waving rushes. And then the little sleeves were carefully rolled up, and the little arms were plunged in elbow-deep, to get hold of the rushes a good long way down before breaking them off——and for a while Alice forgot all about the Sheep and the knitting, as she bent over the side of the boat, with just the ends of her tangled hair dipping into the water——while with bright eager eyes she caught at one bunch after another of the darling scented rushes.

“I only hope the boat won’t tipple over!” she said to herself. “Oh, what a lovely one! Only I couldn’t quite reach it.” And it certainly did seem a little provoking (“almost as if it happened on purpose,” she thought) that, though she managed to pick plenty of beautiful rushes as the boat glided by, there was always a more lovely one that she couldn’t reach.

“The prettiest are always further!” she said at last, with a sigh at the obstinacy of the rushes in growing so far off, as, with flushed cheeks and dripping hair and hands, she scrambled back into her place, and began to arrange her new-found treasures.

What mattered it to her just then that the rushes had begun to fade, and to lose all their scent and beauty, from the very moment that she picked them? Even real scented rushes, you know, last only a very little while——and these, being dream-rushes, melted away almost like snow, as they lay in heaps at her feet——but Alice hardly noticed this, there were so many other curious things to think about.

Fragmento del capítulo quinto de Through the LookingGlass, and What Alice Found There, de Lewis Carroll.

[Traducción de Jaime de Ojeda]