I saw the original of this once in London at a Millais exhibition, it absolutely took my breath away. It’s one of the most beautiful and detailed things I’ve ever seen, it glows so much it feels realler than real, if you know what I mean. I occasionally think about it and always thought it was the Lady of Shalott, even though she was looking out the window. I just looked it up and it’s actually supposed to be Mariana, from Tennyson’s poem. Which actually, I love, so that’s quite a revelation. It’s so cool how you can look at a painting like this, or read a poem, and … and… It’s like the most amazing music sweeping you up and carrying you away in its strong manly muscly sexy arms, it’s like:
Sweet sounds, oh, beautiful music, do not cease!
Reject me not into the world again.
With you alone is excellence and peace,
Mankind made plausible, his purpose plain.
Enchanted in your air benign and shrewd,
With limbs a-sprawl and empty faces pale,
The spiteful and the stingy and the rude
Sleep like the scullions in the fairy-tale.
This moment is the best the world can give:
The tranquil blossom on the tortured stem.
Reject me not, sweet sounds; oh, let me live,
Till Doom espy my towers and scatter them,
A city spell-bound under the aging sun.
Music my rampart, and my only one.