The Porch of Life

Georgiana MacDonald

General Description

Date: 1856
Rhyme: blank verse
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: lyric


◦ Georgiana Burne–Jones, Memorials.

Scholarly Commentary

Guest Editor: PC Fleming


The very last work in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine is the only one that is signed: the initials G. B. M., for Georgiana MacDonald ((1840-1920), appear at the bottom of the last page. Whether the B stands for Burne-Jones is uncertain; the couple were engaged in 1856, but did not marry until 1860 (Memorials 203).

The poem reiterates the Romantic notion of childhood innocence, and in that is similar to Fulford’s poem Childhood, published the previous month. MacDonald complicates this common trope by asking whether adults, in their fallen state, can begin comprehend the child’s mind. The last image is striking, as she brings together the child at prayer and the angels who did not follow Satan into the image of “soldiers in a conquer’d town, / Who, in their Captain’s absence, had maintain’d / Their early discipline and loyalty of heart.”

Printing History

First printed in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine , December, 1856.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1