[DWJ] Book recommendation

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Jul 17 05:20:03 EDT 2009

Farah Mendlesohn wrote:
> Did you know Rosetti had a wombat? Me neither. The book is all about the
> craze for Australian animals in Victorian England and it's a hoot!

At least two: he got another when the first one died. His sister wrote a 
poem to the dear creature, and he wrote two to one or other of them.

They used to take it (or them, sequentially) for walks in Cheney Walk on 
a lead, according to my sources -- who wouldn't know a wombat if it 
nuzzled them, but lived there and got told this sort of local legend.

Sainte-Beuve eat your heart out, with a mere lobster on a lead and that, 
surely, for effect rather than because it really needed the exercise.


O Uommibatto
by Christina Rossetti

O Uommibatto
Agil, giocondo,
Che ti sei fatto
Liscio e rotondo!
Deh non fuggire
Qual vagabondo
Non disparire
Forando il mondo:
Peso davero
D'un emisfero
Non lieve il pondo.

Ode to a Wombat
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
(written while waiting for his mail-order wombat)

O how the family affections combat
Within this heart, and each hour flings a bomb at
My burning soul! Neither from owl nor from bat
Can peace be gained until I clasp my wombat.

Death of a Wombat
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I never reared the young wombat
To glad me with his pinhole eye
But when he was most sweet and fat
And tailless he was sure to die!

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