I was going to write an extensive essay, with line by line analysis, about how Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market can be read as a warning to queer women not to mess around with hetero sex, as represented by the goblins. Then I decided to cut right to the chase and just present this particularly torrid passage below.
Goblin Market is about two young women, Lizzie and Laura, who are ostensibly sisters. They regularly hear goblins in the glen, hawking their wares of sensuous and oddly personified fruit. Lizzie avoids the goblins, knowing that they promise beauty and joy, but deliver only corruption. Laura, on the other hand, buys some fruit from the goblins, consumes it, and is then quickly consumed in turn by a wasting illness.
In an effort to save her “sister,” Lizzie seeks out the goblins and asks for more fruit, thinking that it will return Laura’s appetite. The goblins want Lizzie to eat the fruit instead, but she refuses. In their anger, the goblins assault her, pelting her with fruit. Covered with the fruit and slop of goblin fruit, Lizzie returns to Laura and says the following:
464. She cried, “Laura,” up the garden,
465. “Did you miss me?
466. Come and kiss me.
467. Never mind my bruises,
468. Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
469. Squeez’d from goblin fruits for you,
470. Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
471. Eat me, drink me, love me;
472. Laura, make much of me;
473. For your sake I have braved the glen
474. And had to do with goblin merchant men.”
“Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices”?!?!?!?!?!? That is an erotic invitation if I ever heard one. Given language like this, as well as the historical use of the terminology of sisterhood to refer to a female lover, Lizzie and Laura make a way more convincing queer couple than sororal pair.
P.S. Goblin Dew is an all-natural hair conditioner specially formulated for the manes of the woodland fae folk. It increases your glamour and leaves you smelling like an artificial cucumber crossed with an artificial peach, mixed with an artificial watermelon. It also increases your bubble of personal space fivefold since it’s so, uh, pungent. Caution: Consumption of this product has been known to cause hallucinations. Do not ingest. [Fairy kids everywhere then ingest it as a rite of passage.]