Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: The Burden of Nineveh (revised manuscript fragment, facsimile)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1850
Type of Manuscript: corrected copy
Scribe: DGR

The full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.

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Manuscript Addition: 5
Editorial Description: Stanza number
  • The The sun waxed fully present. Blue
  • And huge, the beast its shadow threw.
  • No shade that plague of darkness knew,
  • No light, no shade, while older grew
  • By ages the old earth and sea.
  • How much Heaven's thunder,—how much else
  • Man's puny roar,—what cry of shells
  • Cleft amid leaguered citadels,
  • How many lordships loud with bells,
  • 40Heardst thou in secret Nineveh?
  • On the grey stones the shape lay scor'd.
  • That day when, nigh the gates, the Lord
  • Shelter'd h His Jonah with a gourd,
  • This sun, (I said) that here present, pour'd
  • Even thus this shadow that I see.
  • This shadow has been shed the same
  • From sun and moon,—from lamps which came
  • For worship,—from those days in flame,
  • That searched into a shrivelled name
  • 50Sardanapalus' Nineveh.
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  • Within this shadow, haply, knelt once
  • Sennacherib has knelt, whose sons
  • Did smite him twixt the altar-stones;
  • Thou peradventure heard his groans
  • For his god Nisroch thou may'st be
  • Ah! and what men else have asked thine aid
  • In years of old, till neath thy shade
  • Within those trenches he had made
  • Last year the Christian knelt & prayed
  • 60In thy reconquered Nineveh.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Copyright: By permission of the Special Collections Library, Duke University