Friday 17 May 2013

The End of the Wombat

As I explained in Wednesday's post, Dante Gabriel Rossetti ordered a mail-order wombat. When it arrived he was ecstatic. He wrote to his brother saying that the wombat was "a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness".

But the wombat died. So Rossetti wrote another poem:

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!

He even painted two memorial paintings. One is of the wombat ascending to heaven alongside Jane Morris (William Morris's wife).

The wombat has a halo.

The other illustrates the poem above and is a self-portrait of the poet in mourning. 

 The wombat never actually got a tomb like this. Instead, he had it stuffed. I'm off to Australia now and whether I blog or not before my return on June 2nd is a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma.


  1. Just thought I would point out that the verse is a parody of Thomas Moore's Lalla Rookh (1817): ‘I never nurs'd a dear gazelle / To glad me with its soft black eye, / But when it came to know me well / And love me, it was sure to die!'
    This gem was also parodied by Thomas Hood, Dickens and of course Lewis Carroll.

  2. The real loser there was probably the wombat.. Poor little fat thing!