Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: The Staff and Scrip (corrected holograph, Humanities Research Center, U. of Texas)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1851-1852, 1856
Type of Manuscript: draft holograph manuscript
Scribe: DGR

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

Image of page 1 page: 1
Manuscript Addition: Below the etc. / pathetic wind / plaintive
Editorial Description: Lightly jotted readings in DGR's hand, located in the upper left quarter of the MS.
Manuscript Addition: 1
Editorial Description: leaf number at upper left
The Staff & Scrip

(derived from the “Gesta Romanorum”)
  • “How should I your true love know
  • From another one?”
  • “By his cockle-hat & staff
  • And his sandal-shoon.”
Shakespeare —

  • “Who owns these lands?” the Pilgrim said.
  • “Stranger, Queen Blanchelys.”
  • “And who has thus harried them ? then” he said.
  • “It was Duke Luke did this:
  • God's ban be his!”
  • The Pilgrim said: “Where is your house?
  • I'll rest there, with your will.”
  • “Ye've but to climb these swaying blackened boughs,
  • And ye'll see it over the hill,
  • 10 For it burns still.”
  • He stood and prayed within himself.
  • “Friend, bring me to your queen.”
  • “Nay, ye shall seek her out yourself:
  • Duke Luke may there have been,
  • Knocked, and gone in.”
Image of page [1a] page: [1a]
  • “Point me at least the path,” said he.
  • “Not so; lest with some wound
  • Thou come back hither, it may be,
  • And by thy blood i'the ground
  • 20My place be found.”
  • “So be it, friend. God keep thy head,
  • And mine, where I will go;
  • For He is here and there,” he said.
  • He passed the hillside, slow,
  • And stood below.
  • By smouldering cornfields meadows he walked on
  • The corpses, black and charred,
  • Lay in their blood; and where the sun
  • Had dried it afterward,
  • 30The soil was hard.
Deleted Text
  • Throughout the city was no din,
  • But the long streets were fair
  • And clear white for ? all kept house. Within
  • The empty churches there,
  • He knelt in prayer.
  • The stairs before the palace-gate
  • Shone in the sun like glass;
  • But in the hall there was no state.
  • They saw him, what he was:
  • 40And let him pass.
Image of page [1b] page: [1b]
Note: Stanza 4.4 (“No vassal sued for slips of palm”) appears as the fourth unit on the page and was written as an addition as the text was being scripted; it is marked for insertion as given in this transcript, and then was later cancelled.
  • “O Father, lead me to your queen;
  • But take my shrift from me
  • First, lest my soul depart in sin unclean.”
  • “Son, in hoc nomine
  • 50 Absolvo te—”

  • The Queen sat idle at by her loom.
  • She heard the arras stir,
  • And looked up sadly. Through the room
  • The sweetness sickened her,
  • Of musk and myrrh.
  • Her handmaids dames silent women, standing silent two and two,
  • And standing In silence combed ing the fleece.
  • The Pilgrim said, “Peace be with you,
  • Lady;” and bent his knees.
  • 60 She answered, “Peace.”

Deleted Text
  • No vassal sued for slips of palm:
  • No woman, of her son
  • Far distant, asked with boding qualm.
  • An aged priest alone
  • Spoke benison

  • Her eyes were like the skies wave within;
  • Like water-reeds the poise
  • Of her soft body, dainty thin;
  • And like the water's noise
  • So low her silver courteous voice.
  • (Her body, in the poise
  • Of water reeds, linned dainty thin)
Image of page [1c] page: [1c]
  • Nor yet For him, the stream had water[?] never welled
  • In desert tracts malign,
  • So sweet: nor had he ever felt
  • So faint in the sunshine
  • 70 Of Palestine.
  • “Lady,” he said, “your lands lie burnt
  • And waste. To meet your foe
  • All fear. This I have seen and learnt.
  • Say that it shall be so,
  • And I will go.”
  • She gazed at him. “Your cause is just,
  • For I have heard the same,”
  • He said: “God's strength shall be my trust.
  • Fall it to good or grame,
  • 80 'Tis in His Name.”
  • “Sir, take my you are thank s ed. My cause is dead.
  • Why should you toil to break
  • A Its grave, and fall therein?” She said.
  • He paused awhile, and He did not pause but spake;
  • “For my vow's sake.”
Deleted Text
  • “God of that vow shall hold you clear.
  • It meant not this.” “My vow
  • Remains. God heard me there as here.”
  • He fixed and stooped his brow,
  • 90 “Both then and now.”
Image of page 2 page: 2
Manuscript Addition: 2
Editorial Description: leaf number at upper left
Deleted Text
  • “Poor friend, and if thou be thus wild
  • For death,and if thou diest,
  • Shall any praise thee then?” He smiled
  • As knowing it sufficed,
  • And answered, “Christ.”
  • Then all the damsels standing there
  • Bowed at the blessed Lord,
  • And the Queen rose ? out of her chair,
  • And to her pale cheek poured
  • 100 The blood restored.
  • “God took my father's soul,” she said,
  • “His people kept his heart;
  • He loved them living and loves them dead.
  • Go, friend, upon his part:
  • His strength thou art.”
  • Then as he gazed on her he She rose up speaking; & it seemed
  • He saw the spirit rise
  • That round the [???] war so oft had screamed
  • Howling [??] the prize
    Added TextAnd shown[?] the greatest prize
  • 110 Of battle Clear in his eyes.
  • “Take all my soldiers that remain”
  • She said, “and have your will:
  • And if you conquer, come again
  • And ask,—I shall fulfil
  • Your bidding still.”
Image of page [2a] page: [2a]
Deleted Text
  • “Lady if then I ask what I
  • Would gladlier have bestowed,
  • It is to Be it to grant or to deny
  • Not to my vow is owed:—
  • 120 Vows are to God.”
  • They gazed together, he and she,
  • The moment minute while they spoke;
  • And when he ceased, she suddenly
  • Looked round upon her folk,
  • As though she woke.
Deleted Text
  • Then said she softly: “It is well:
  • Sir, though years for long this fray
  • Your life shall last, if prayers prevail.
  • My women, all ? to-day
  • 130'Tis meet we pray.”
  • She went out first. “If I am slain
    Added Text“Fight, Sir,” she said, “my prayers in pain
  • ? with quick lip
    Added TextShall be your fellowship.”
  • To the last damsel of her train
    Added TextHe whisper'd one among her train,
  • Entreat her that she keep
    Added Text“To-night pray her to keep
  • This staff & scrip.”
Deleted Text
  • That day and night the bell piece ceased
  • Within the chapel-tower;
  • Where the queen sung after the priest
  • And they of the queen's bower
  • 130Hour after hour—
Image of page 3 page: 3
Manuscript Addition: 3
Editorial Description: leaf number at upper left
Deleted Text
  • And to the bell that day & night,
  • The squadrons, squares & files,
  • Still gathered, where the palace windy height
  • Looks to the sea & isles
  • An hundred miles.
  • But when he put his armour on,
  • And o'er his spirit crept
  • The night he watched his arms till dawn
  • And praying never slept,
  • 140The pilgrim wept—
  • But when the champion armed at dawn
  • And ch[?] & ch[?] aloof
  • Recalled that watch of arms alone till dawn
  • Held soft once neath the chapel holy roof,
  • His knighthood's proof:—
  • And being minful of the vow,
  • Then registered, to shield
  • Even with his life the truth; which now
  • God, of His greatness, willed
  • 150Should be fulfilled:—
Image of page 3a page: 3a
Note: Two small X's in the right margin indicating that stanza 36 (“But most the look that dwelt on it”) should be moved between stanzas 34 and 35.
Deleted Text
  • And because answer claimed him not
  • Since his dead slain brother's dole;
  • (For still his pilgrimage he sought
  • To win for the dear soul
  • Its aureole)—
  • Remembering too how he saw weep
  • Each night throughout his dream
  • His brother's face, ? confused in sleep
  • With visages supreme
  • 160Not known to him:—
  • He bowed him quickly; yet perchance
  • The tear he might not hide;
  • But when he looked, his countenance,
  • To them that stood beside,
  • 170Seemed glorified—
  • But most the look that dwelt on it, / The spirits' leave-taking
  • When the corpse fell against his feet:— At once each several thing
  • Remembering—
  • The day is ? noon
    Added TextIt is the undertide of noon
  • The battle raves like flame
  • But from the church the holy tune
  • Still rises in the name
  • Of God Christ the same.
  • And But there, save prayer, is nothing said
    Added TextAll day till night the women prayed
  • Nor kneweth any any might know there
  • How the fight went. The Queen has bade
  • That there shall do come to her
  • 180 No messenger.
Image of page 4 page: 4
Note: The second stanza on this page is added in very small handwriting between line 185 ("Of laudes and nones") and line 191 ("Is is the overtide of noon").
Manuscript Addition: 4
Editorial Description: leaf number at upper left
  • The queen is pale, her maidens ail,
  • Yet And to the organ tones
  • They still sing but faintly, who sang well
  • The mutual orisons
  • Of laudes and nones.
  • O God of battles! smile & slay
  • All these thy foes at length
  • And all their generations—yea
  • Unto the ninth & tenth
  • 190O God of strength!
  • It is the overtide of noon
  • The ? oriel-panes are dim
  • With sunlight to their eyes that soon
  • The painted gilded seraphim
  • All shift and swim—
  • O faint weak to them the voice o' the priest
  • As any trance affords;
  • And when the weak voices as each anthem failed & ceased,
  • It seemed that the last chords
  • 200 Still sang the words.
  • O father, is thine ear inclin'd
  • And has thine angel pass'd?
  • For lo! these watchers now are blind
  • With vigil, and at lst
  • Dizzy with fast.
  • It is the eighth hour over noon—
  • No voice to sing have they:
  • Yet pauses not the constant tune
  • Some sleep, and but those that may
  • 210Still kneel & pray.
Image of page [4a] page: [4a]
  • “O what is the light that shines so red?
  • 'Tis long since the sun set;”
  • Quoth the eldest youngest to the eldest maid:
  • “'Twas dusk dim but now, and yet
  • The light is great.”
  • Quoth the other: “'Tis our sight is dazed
  • That we see lights flame i' the air.”
  • But the Queen held her eyes and gazed,
  • And said: “It is the glare
  • 220 Of torches there.”
  • “O what are the sounds that rise & spread?
  • But now All day it was so still;”
  • Quoth the youngest to the eldest maid;
  • “Unto the furthest hill
  • The air they fill.”
  • Quoth the other: “Tis our sense is blurr'd
  • With all the chaunts gone by.”
  • But the Queen held her brows & heard,
  • And said, “It is the cry
  • 230 Of Victory.”
Deleted Text
  • Now rise, My daughters arise,” then said the priest,
  • And meet them on the road,
  • And with great joy prepare the feast,
  • For [?] have prayed, and God
  • Hath gone abroad
Image of page 5 page: 5
Manuscript Addition: 5
Editorial Description: leaf number at upper left
Deleted Text
  • O wan and worn from the battle's heat,
  • Each face returning there home;
  • And pale are the faces that they meet.
  • Yet joyful looks therefore
  • 240Thence as they come.
  • Then The Queen saw descried a chief i' the van,
  • Whom her dead father loved.
  • “And where is the stranger,” she began:
  • That [?]
    Added TextThy [?] well approved,
  • Him [?] well best beloved.—”
  • “O he were first though he come last.”
  • But where And comes he last?” she saith.
  • The old chief looked on her & passed,
  • And said with bated breath,
  • 250“He followeth—”
  • “Oh what do ye bring out of the fight,
  • Thus hid beneath these boughs?”
  • “One that shall be thy guest to-night,
  • And yet shall not carouse,
  • Queen, in thy house.”
  • “Uncover ye his face,” she said.
  • “O cold changed in little space!”
  • She cried: “O pale that was so red!
  • O God, O God of grace!
  • 260 Cover his face.”
Image of page [5a] page: [5a]
  • “O I myself would have served his cup
  • Upon these knees of mine.”
  • “Lady, he takes, where he doth sup,
  • From other hands than thine,
  • Another wine.”
  • Then stept to her side that aged knight,
  • “Even as he fell, full low
  • I stooped, & heard his words aright:
  • She knows Not she,’ he said, but O!
  • 270Thou, Lord, dost know.”
  • (“He said “She shall not know:
  • Lord, be it so!”
  • She bowed upon the ashen face.
  • “And couldst thou think indeed
  • I She knew not,—thus the soul whose place
  • Was in those eyes could plead,
  • Nor I take heed?”
Image of page 6 page: 6
Manuscript Addition: 6
Editorial Description: leaf number at upper left
  • “O ye that heard his vow, held fast
  • With God, hear mark also this:”
  • (And where the assoilzied soul had prest
  • The lips, she laid her kiss.)
  • 280“My vow for his.”
  • Then stept a damsel to her side,
  • And while she spake did weep;
  • “For his sake, Lady, if he died
  • He prayed that thou shouldst keep
  • This staff & scrip.”
  • “O all night long above my head bed,
  • She said Sweet souls, their place shall be:
  • Dear as thy dreams of voice in sleep,” she said,
  • “Not dearer stays with me
  • 290Thy memory—”
  • She kissed there often in her cries,
  • And sobbed: and gazing near
  • Upon the staff, she with suffering eyes
  • She asked: “How sayeth here
  • This character?”
Image of page [6a] page: [6a]
  • She gave it turned her to that ancient knight:
  • And the dead face was proud
  • And pale, as to the torches' light
  • He stooped & read aloud—
  • 300“Vows are to God.”
Image of page [7] page: [7]
Note: This page is a later construction and addition to the previous manuscript pages. On its verso, after the last stanza of the poem, is a holograph copy of one of DGR's translations from Folgore da San Geminiano, Friday. The Day of the Chase.
Manuscript Addition: 10
Editorial Description: leaf number at upper left
Added Text
  • Not tithed with days' and years' decease
  • Far off; but all bestowed
  • But in full count bestowed
  • Here in His golden stalls of peace,
  • He pays thy wage he owed
  • Thy jealous God.

  • That night they hung above her bed,
  • Till morning wet with tears.
  • Year after year with sable spread above her head
  • Her bed that token wears,
  • 310 Five years, ten years.
  • That night the passion of her grief
  • Shook them as there they hung.
  • Each year the wind that shed the leaf
  • Shook them, and in strange tongue
  • A message flung.
Added Text
  • And she would wake with a clear mind
  • That letters writ to calm
  • Her soul lay in the scrip; & find
  • Pink shells, a torpid balm,
  • 320 And dust of palm.
  • Firstly[?]They shook far off with distant palace sport
  • When dance & feast joust were rife;
  • And the hunt shook them from the court;
  • For hers, in peace or strife,
  • Was a Queen's life.
  • A Queen's death now: as now they shake
  • With [???]
    Added TextTo chaunts in chapel dim;
  • There lie where she her rest doth take
    Added TextHung where she sleeps, not seen to wake,
  • (Carved lovely white & slim,)
  • 330 With them, by him.
  • Stand up to-day, still arm'd, with her,
  • Good knight, before His brow
  • Who then as now was here and there,
  • Who had in mind thy vow
  • Then even as now.

  • Not dusk[?] th[?] tithed with days' and years' decease
  • Has [???] gift bestowed
    Added Text[?] thy [???]
  • But in light stalls of golden peace,
  • Here in His [?] above
  • Thy jealous God.
Image of page [7a] page: [7a]
Note: On this page, the last stanza of the poem is written upside down at the bottom of the page. Above this, DGR copied one of his translations from Folgore da San Geminiano, Friday. The Day of the Chase.
  • The lists are set in Heaven to-day,
  • The bright pavilions shine;
  • Fair hangs thy shield, and none gainsay;
  • The trumpets sound in sign
  • 340 That she is thine.
Friday. The Day of the Chase
  • Let Friday be your highest huntingtide,
  • No hound nor brach nor mastiff absent thence,—
  • Through a low wood, by many miles of dens,
  • All covert, where the cunning beasts abide:
  • That Which now driven forth, at first you scatter wide,—
  • Then close on them, & rip forth out blood & breath:
  • Till all your huntsmen's horns wind to the death,
  • And you count up how many beasts have died.
  • Then, men & dogs together [?] brought, you'll say:
  • 10 Go fairly greet from us this friend & that,
  • Bid these make haste to blithest wassailings.
  • Might not one vow that the whole pack had wings?
  • What! hither, Beauty, Dian, Dragon, what!
  • I think we held a royal hunt to-day.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 1-1851.texms.rad.xml
Copyright: © Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.