Rossetti and the wombat
July 5, 2015 10:42 PM   Subscribe

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (/ˈdænti ˈɡeɪbriəl rəˈzɛti/;[1] 12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter, translator and wombat enthusiast. He celebrated it in poetry and image; others have since done so with baking.
The wombat was to become a principal obsession of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his unofficial trademark. He wrote loving poems about the creature and captured it in paint and pen. He later bought two of them for £8, and added them to his Cheyne Walk menagerie, naming one of them Top after his rival in love, William Morris. The attraction apparently lay in the sheer absurdity of the beast and its funny-sounding name. ‘The Wombat is a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness!’ Rossetti declared, and before long his crowd of acolytes embraced the wombat cult as a badge of loyalty to their leader.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen (12 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Poor wombat. Or wombats (he bought two). And the llama. And the toucan. I'm glad he couldn't afford the elephant.
posted by pracowity at 1:00 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Numbats have a comparably absurd name, but they haven't got the embonpoint to carry it off.
posted by Segundus at 1:16 AM on July 6, 2015

You know who else loved wombats? (No - that other German.)

Also: Rossetti's sister liked them too.
posted by progosk at 2:50 AM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

You have to understand, back then rhyming poetry and celebration of battles were important and wombat was the only thing to rhyme with combat. Also.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:29 AM on July 6, 2015

Wombat rhymed with combat in progressive rock: a worked example.
posted by Devonian at 5:45 AM on July 6, 2015

Oh 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.

posted by flyingsquirrel at 5:59 AM on July 6, 2015

In my opinion, this post needs more wombat visuals
posted by Gor-ella at 6:01 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is your periodic reminder that wombats poop cubes.
posted by moonmilk at 6:26 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Pictures of wombat poop cubes, with a bonus video of a running wombat.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:56 AM on July 6, 2015

This is your periodic reminder that wombats poop cubes.

And inspire poetry in doing so.
posted by jcm at 7:01 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Rosetti's cartoon of "Mrs. Morris and the Wombat," where the Wombat has a halo(!), is on my office door and never ceases to amuse.
posted by honest knave at 7:09 AM on July 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

I feel I should contribute to this conversation in some way.

However, as a wombat, my skill lies more in having a bit of a snooze.

So I shall do that instead.
posted by Combat Wombat at 9:44 PM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

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