There came an image in Life’s retinue
That had Love’s wings and bore his gonfalon: 1
Fair was the web, and nobly wrought thereon,
O soul-sequestered face, thy form and hue!
Bewildering sounds, such as Spring wakens to,
Shook in its folds; and through my heart its power
Sped trackless as the immemorable hour
When birth’s dark portal groaned and all was new.
But a veiled woman followed, and she caught
The banner round its staff, to furl and cling,—
Then plucked a feather from the bearer’s wing,
And held it to his lips that stirred it not,
And said to me, ‘Behold, there is no breath:
I and this Love are one, and I am Death.’
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1869
1 The gonfalon or gonfalone (from the early Italian confalone), is a long flag or banner, often pointed, swallow-tailed, or with several streamers, and suspended from a crossbar. It was first adopted by Italian medieval communes, and, later, by local Guilds, Corporations and Districts.