Sunday, 1 March 2015

Goblin Market

On a Facebook page dedicated to Folk Horror (which seems to bouncing back now, after a few years of gore-porn and zombie stuff) I came across this Arthur Rackham illustration of Christina Rossetti's poem 'Goblin Market'.



Weird, eh? Victorians wrote a great deal of poetry on eerie and supernatural themes, much of it supposedly whimsical in intent. But I think if you read the original you'll see that there was more to this market than a healthy selection of organic produce.

The whole poem is a bit long to post, given that most people don't like poetry, (What is wrong with Western civilization, eh?). But here's an extract to give you the flavour of it. I think there's more going on here than meets the literal eye...

One may lead a horse to water,
Twenty cannot make him drink.
Though the goblins cuff’d and caught her,
Coax’d and fought her,
Bullied and besought her,
Scratch’d her, pinch’d her black as ink,
Kick’d and knock’d her,
Maul’d and mock’d her,
Lizzie utter’d not a word;
Would not open lip from lip
Lest they should cram a mouthful in:
But laugh’d in heart to feel the drip
Of juice that syrupp’d all her face,
And lodg’d in dimples of her chin,
And streak’d her neck which quaked like curd.


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