Address to the D--l (Dalziel brothers)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1857


◦ George Somes Layard, Tennyson and his Pre-Raphaelite Publishers 1894

◦ Jan Marsh, “Hoping you will not think me too fastidious: Pre-Raphaelite Artists and the Moxon Tennsyon”, JPRAS 2:1 1989 11-18

◦ WMR, Memoir I. 189-190

◦ Sharp, DGR: A Record and a Study, 107-112.


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1911.

Scholarly Commentary


DGR threw off this epigram in a letter to William Bell Scott of 7 February 1857 (see Fredeman, Correspondence 57. 12). He wrote complaining of the engraver's work in translating his drawings for the Moxon edition of Tennyson's Poems (1857): “I have done a few water colours in my small way lately, and have designed 5 blocks for the Tennyson, some of which are still cutting and maiming. It is a thankless task. After a fortnight's work, my block goes to the engraver like Agag, delicately, & is hewn in pieces before the Lord Harry.” The price that Dalziel paid to DGR for the drawings is uncertain since various acounts have been given. Most likely is that he was paid £12 for each drawing, though some estimates go as high as £30 (see Fredeman, Correspondence 56. 62n).

DGR began work on the drawings in late 1856 and quickly found himself displeased with the engraving of the Dalziels (see his letter to Allingham of 18 December 1856, Fredeman, Correspondence 56. 59) Of the five drawings DGR made, only four went into Moxon's edition: St. Cecilia; King Arthur and the Weeping Queens; The Lady of Shalott; and Mariana in the South. The fifith (rejected) drawing was Sir Galahad at the Ruined Chapel. He wanted to do a second drawing for Sir Galahad as well as a drawing for Tennyson's “The Two Voices” but he never did.

Printing History

First published in William Bell Scott's Autobiographical Notes II. 157 , and first collected by WMR in his edition of 1911.


DGR's epigram is a parody of the popular American song “Woodman, Spare that Tree” (written in 1830 by George P. Morris and set to music in 1837 by Henry Russell).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 1-1857.raw.xml