Lady Godiva lived in England during the 1000's. She was the wife of Earl Leofric of Mercia. According to legend, she asked her husband to reduce the taxes he had imposed on the people. He said he would only agree if she rode naked on a horse through town. After asking all the townspeople to close their doors and stay inside, she rode through the town with only her long hair to cover her body. A later story adds that a tailor named Tom, disobeyed Lady Godiva, and peeped out of his window to see her. Thus being the first 'peeping tom', he was immediately struck blind. Lady Godiva's selfless act for her people was celebrated in the streets annually until the late 1800's.
The Blessed Damozel
|Rossetti both wrote the poem and painted his interpretation of The
Blessed Damozel. The theme comes from Vita Nuova, by Dante.
Lovers are separated by the death of the Damozel. She wants desperately
to enter heaven, but feels that she cannot without her lover. She laments
to him of the separation of their two worlds.
The blessed damozel leaned out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.
Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary's gift,
For service meetly worn;
Her hair that lay along her back
Was yellow like ripe corn.