Home icon. The Works of Robert Graves. Exhibition: 1 April to 17 June 2011.

Cabinet 18: Poetry

Poems about Love.

Robert Graves, Poems about Love. London: Cassell, 1969.

For 13 years, from 1926 to 1939, Laura Riding maintained a very strong influence on Graves’s thinking, and subsequent literary outputs. Even after the physical and emotional break in June 1939, her presence was still reverberating.

Pasiphaä, daughter of Helios, fell in love with a white bull too beautiful for annual sacrifice. The result of this love was the Minotaur.

While working on The Golden Fleece, Graves used the myth and all its complexities to construct ‘Lament for Pasiphaä’, a poem that helped reconcile his loss of Riding.

According to Richard Perceval Graves, his nephew and biographer, the poem is less about PasiphaĆ« and more about Graves’s mourning for a woman he continued to honour.