Forbidden Fruit: The Goblin Market

Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat,
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town;)

Above is a fragment of the haunting poem, Goblin Market by the English poet Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894). The poem which was illustrated by her brother Pre Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rosestti (1828 -1882), is the story of two sisters. Once considered a fairy tale for children it is now regarded as an ambiguous masterpiece. One sister Laura, is offered forbidden fruit by goblin merchants which she pays for with a lock of her golden hair and a "tear more rare than pearl". The other sister Lizzie resists the sensual temptation. Ultimately Lizzie would save Laura from the wicked merchants and their poisoned fruit. Dante Gabriel Rossetti also designed a stained glass window depicting the goblins that was manufactured by The Morris Firm. A portrait of Christina was begun by English painter John Brett (1831–1902). The unfinished image has the same haunting quality as Rossetti's Goblin Market.