What is a stanza-by-stanza explanation of "The Blessed Damozel" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti?

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In the first stanza, Rossetti describes the eponymous “blessed damozel,” who, he says, has eyes which are “deeper than the depth / Of waters still’d,” and has seven “stars in her hair.”

In the second stanza, Rossetti continues to describe the “blessed damozel.” He says that she possesses a “white rose,” and that her hair is long and “yellow like ripe corn.” From the first two stanzas, we can infer that the woman being described is uncommonly beautiful.

In stanza three, Rossetti explains that the woman has been in heaven for “ten years,” even though she still has a look of “wonder” in her eyes which might suggest that she has only just arrived.

In stanza four, there is a new speaker. The new speaker is the woman’s lover, who misses her terribly. The woman’s lover remembers her well, even though she has been gone for ten years, and he imagines, or remembers the woman leaning over him, and her hair falling “all about (his) face.”

In the fifth stanza, Rossetti describes the place in heaven where the woman seems trapped. This place is like a castle, as implied by the word “rampart,” and is so high up that, “looking downward,” the woman “scarce could see the sun.”

In stanza six, Rossetti emphasizes the distance between the woman in heaven, and her lover below. There is, between the lovers, a “flood / of ether,” and a “void.”

In the seventh stanza, Rossetti describes other lovers, in heaven, who reunite, and speak to one another their “heart-remember’d names.” These reunited lovers pass by the “blessed damozel,” and rise up to God, “like thin flames.” The “damozel,” however, is not so fortunate, and remains separated from her lover.

In stanza eight, the “damozel” is described as melancholic. She spends all of her time leaning against the “rampart” of heaven, aching to be reunited with her lover.

In stanza nine, Rossetti explains that the “damozel” is trapped in heaven. She can see time below her moving forwards, but for her time seems to have stopped.

In the tenth stanza, Rossetti describes the woman’s voice. He describes it as “like the voice the stars / Had when they sang together.” This description of her voice suggests a heavenly being.

In stanza eleven, we hear again from the woman’s lover, who seems to hear in the “bird’s song” the sound of the woman's voice.

In the twelfth stanza, we hear from the “damozel” trapped in heaven. She expresses her grief that she should remain separated from her lover, and she wonders what she must do to be with him again.

In stanza thirteen, we hear again from the “damozel.” She imagines that her lover will be reunited with her after he dies, and that together they shall “bathe … in God’s sight.”

In stanza fourteen, the “damozel” continues to imagine what life will be like once her lover dies, and they can be reunited. She imagines that they will bask in the eternal light of “lamps … stirred continually.”

In stanza fifteen, the “damozel,” still imagining the time when she and her lover will be reunited, thinks about the two of them lying together beneath a “mystic tree.”

In the sixteenth stanza, the “damozel” says that she will teach her lover how to sing the same songs that she sings. She imagines that her lover will find in these songs “some knowledge at each pause.”

In stanza seventeen, we are once more given the perspective of the woman’s lover. He too imagines a time when, after he has died, he shall be reunited with the “damozel.” However, he wonders whether he will be judged good enough to go to heaven.

In stanza eighteen, the “damozel” in heaven imagines that she and her lover will, when he joins her in heaven, go to see “the lady Mary” and Mary’s “five handmaids.”

In stanza nineteen, the “damozel” imagines finding the handmaidens, who will be “Weaving the golden thread” to make “birth-robes” for those who have ascended, or are about to ascend to heaven.

In stanza twenty, the “damozel” imagines that Mary and her handmaidens will “approve” of her lover.

In stanza twenty-one, the “damozel” imagines that Mary will take her lover and her to see Jesus, who will be in the company of many “souls” who are praising him.

In stanza twenty-two, the “damozel” says that she will ask Jesus to let her live with her lover, “as once on Earth” they lived. In other words, she wants permission to live with and forever love her lover.

In stanza twenty-three, the penultimate stanza, the “damozel” stops imagining what the future might hold, and is brought back to her reality. Her reality is all the more disappointing and dispiriting by contrast to the future she has been imagining.

In the final stanza, we hear again from the woman’s lover. He imagines that he can see the woman’s smile, even though they are so far apart, and then he imagines that he can hear her “tears” too. The “damozel” is weeping because nothing seems to have changed, and because she realizes that she must endure the separation from her lover for even more time.

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