Poems (1870): Proofs for first edition, Princeton/Troxell Copy

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Document Title: Poems
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Strangeways and Walden
City of publication: London
Date of publication: 1870 March 1-7
Pre-Publication Information: This is a set of the proofs for the first edition.
Pagination: [i-iv], pp [1]-260
Issue: first issue, second state
Authorization: DGR
Collation: [A] 2, B - R 8 S 2
Note on Publication: The collation does not include the pages at the front and at the end containing H. B. Forman's notes and transcripts.
Corrector: DGR


Current Location: Princeton University Library, Troxell Collection
Catalog Number: 23307
Note: Originally H. B Forman's copy

Physical Description

Point: 8 point; 5.5 point leading
Lines per Page: 24
Note on Typography: DGR to WMR, 23 February 1870: “I have sent my proofs for correction and resetting (as I mean now to have only 24 lines in a page instead of 29” (see Fredeman, Correspondence 70.33). Doughty and Wahl, following T. J. Wise (Wise IV 129), say the type was now reset for the first edition proof. But Troxell (see “The Trial Books” 192) shows that the type “is the same, re-leaded but not re-set.” On 7 March DGR wrote to Swinburne saying his book is “now printed wider so as to make more pages” (Fredeman, Correspondence, 70.45). DGR hoped to have a book of approximately 300 pages.
Dimensions of Document: crown octavo, 18.6 x. 12.2 cm


  • Troxell,“The Trial Books”, 188-189.
  • Fraser, “The Rossetti Collection of Janet Camp Troxell”, 164.
  • Keane, “D. G. Rossetti's Poems 1870”, 205-207.
  • Lewis, The Trial Book Fallacy, 187-188.

Scholarly Commentary


This is a copy of the proofs that DGR's publisher F. S. Ellis gave to H. Buxton Forman on 12 March 1870 (that is Forman's date in his manuscript notes at the front of the proofs). The proofs are a pre-publication set that Forman was to use for the review of the volume he wrote and published in Tinsley's Magazine (March 1871). Of the four integral sets of these proofs that we know, this is the only one carrying DGR's final corrections to a number of lines in the texts of various poems.

At the end of the proofs Forman has copied out five poems: the four sonnets that DGR added to bring The House of Life to its 1870 complement of fifty sonnets, and On the French Liberation of Italy, which DGR dropped from the book after printing it in the Penkill Proofs in August 1869. The four additional sonnets for The House of Life were: The Love-Letter, Barren Spring, Love-Sweetness and He and I.

Textual History: Revision

This proof went through several revisions before it was ready to serve as printer's copy for the first edition (see Fredeman, Correspondence 70.43 - 70.82), and certain of the changes proved quite significant. Most important was the addition of The Wine of Circe and The Stream's Secret, and the rearrangement of several poems in the volume, most notably the replacement of Troy Town by The Blessed Damozel as the opening poem of the volume. The House of Life sequence changed slightly during the revision process, and the sonnets in particular were increased to fifty (there are forty-six in the sequence in this proof). The four additional sonnets were: The Love-Letter, Barren Spring, Love-Sweetness and He and I.

Printing History

This is the second state of the first issue.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Copyright: Used with permission of Princeton University. From the Princeton University Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. All rights reserved. Redistribution or republication in any medium requires express written consent from Princeton University Library. Permissions inquiries should be addressed to Associate University Librarian, Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.