I am currently reading a biography about the life of Christina Rossetti, the Pre-Raphaelite English poet, whose "In the Bleak Midwinter" is so popular this time of year. You can read the text of the poem here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/238450
I have always been curious about the melancholy tone of many of her poems. Many are tinged with sadness, and speak of longing for the respite of death. Rossetti lived in England in the mid-1800s, a time when single women seeking employment were often encouraged to be governesses, then wives. Literary genius was thought to be gifted largely to men, but increasingly, women were laying this myth to rest. Also, the many imperfections of a worldly existence paled in comparison to the Heavenly reward awaiting a child of God.
Angst was a vital component of creative genius, and Christina Rossetti channeled this into many of her works. She used her God-given talent to lay bare her soul, and her poetry reflects this on so many levels. Her works survive to this day because the emotions she repressed in her daily life poured themselves out onto the page via her pen. I, for one, am grateful for her openness.