The Slave

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1835
Genre: drama


◦ WMR, Family Letters, I. 65-67

◦ Sharp, DGR: A Record and a Study, 8-9.

Scholarly Commentary


Because of its graphical features, this is one of the most interesting, as it seems to be the earliest, piece of DGR's juvenilia. A drama in two acts, the work's visible language clearly forecasts DGR's later interest in book and page design. It is composed partly in blank verse and partly in what WMR calls “truncated verse, or practical prose” (see Family Letters, I. 65 ). The only extant manuscript is scripted with lines extending margin to margin and with speech headings run in with the lines of text. It is difficult to distinguish the “truncated verse” that WMR speaks of; the work looks for all the world like “practical prose”.

Textual History: Composition

The work was composed in 1835, according to WMR. The surviving manuscript was in WMR's possession in 1895. It later passed to John Robert Wahl and thence to the library of the South African National Gallery, where it is now housed.

Printing History

The work has never been previously published. WMR published three lines of the text: “‘Ho, if thou be alive, come out and fight me!’/ ‘Down, slave, I dare thee on! Coward, thou diest!’/‘But yet I will not live to see thee thus.’” (see Family Letters, I. 65 ).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 1-1835.raw.xml