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Dracula’s Bleak Midwinter

Christina Rossetti wrote the poem “A Christmas Carol”, aka “In the Bleak Midwinter”, in 1872. It was set to music in the early 20th Century, at which point it became a popular Christmas song. Though its popularity has waned in the decades since, you still hear it on occasion.

Here are the lines/lyrics:

“In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan; Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter Long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold Him Nor earth sustain, Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign: In the bleak mid-winter A stable-place sufficed The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ. Enough for Him, whom Cherubim Worship night and day, A breastful of milk And a mangerful of hay; Enough for Him, whom Angels Fall down before, The ox and ass and camel Which adore. Angels and Archangels May have gathered there, Cherubim and seraphim Thronged the air; But only His Mother In her maiden bliss Worshipped the Beloved With a kiss. What can I give Him, Poor as I am? If I were a Shepherd I would bring a lamb; If I were a Wise Man I would do my part, Yet what I can I give Him, Give my heart.”

Now here are the Dracula connections:

Rossetti was the niece of John Polidori, who wrote THE VAMPYRE. Her brother, Dante Rossetti, several years after losing his wife, Elizabeth Siddal, to death, exhumed her to retrieve the poems he had buried with her. Hall Caine worked as Dante Rossetti’s secretary and lived with him for a year or so, and certainly would have known the story of this desecration. Hall Caine is the “Hommy Beg” to whom Bram Stoker dedicated DRACULA. Caine would have then told the story to Stoker, and this recounting may have inspired the scene wherein Lucy Westenra is exhumed (and staked) in Stoker’s novel.

TheCheezman • January 4, 2019


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