Poems (1870): Mixed Proofs 1869-1870, 1881, 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: 1869 November - 1870 March
Pre-Publication Information: This is a mixed set of the proofs for the first edition; two leaves from other printings are randomly included.
Pagination: 208 (Second Trial Book), [v] (1881 Poems, [xii], 1-10, 255-256, 255-256 (second issue), [un] (WMR's notes), [i-ii] (first issue, first state), i-ii (second issue), 23-26, 41-42, 67-68, 83-86, 101-102, 107-108, 113-114, 119-122, 121-124 (first issue, first state), 123-124 (revise), 135-144 (first issue, first state), 143-144 (revise), 143-144 (duplicate revise), 145-146 (first issue, first state), 153-154 (first issue, second state), 161-162 (revise, first issue, first state), 161-162 (first issue, first state), 163-164 (revise, first issue, first state), 163-166, [175-176], [175-176] (revise, first issue, first state), 177-178 (first issue, first state), 181-182, 185-186 (first issue, second state), 187-188 (first issue, first state), 187-190, 197-198, 207-208, 215-218, 221-224 (first issue, second state), 223-224 (revise, first issue, second state), 225-228 (first issue, second state), 227-228 (revise, first issue, second state), 237-238 (second issue), 239-240 (first issue, first state), 239-240 (first issue, second state), 241-244 (first issue, first state), 243-244 (first issue, second state), 243-250 (first issue, first state), 249-250 (first issue, second state), 251-252 (first issue, first state), 251-252 (first issue, second state), 253-254 (first issue, first state).
Authorization: DGR
Collation: The mixed character of the materials obviates a standard collation.
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: 23306
Note: Originally H. B Forman's copy

Physical Description

Point: 8 point; 5.5 point leading
Lines per Page: 24
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.

Scholarly Commentary


This is a copy of proofs for the first edition of DGR's 1870 Poems . It is a mixed set showing his very latest revisions to various texts, as well as his efforts to re-order the sequence of the poems from the order they had in the proofs to the quite different order they would have in the first edition. These proofs show that the proofs for the First Edition went through three printing stages: the first issue (in two separate states) and the second issue (apparently in one state only).

The pages that here represent First Edition proofs, first issue, first state (i.e., proofs pulled in around 1 March 1870) show that these are the earliest setting, and that the pages represent a true first state of the First Edition proof. The copies of the First Edition proofs in all other libraries represent the second state of the proof. This first state has mixed within it revises of individual sheets that DGR called for as well as some duplicate proof pages. Also gathered in this miscellaneous proof are many pages from the first issue, second state of the First Edition proofs. These were printed off early in March, before the 7th. The latter are distinguished here by DGR's pencil corrections, whereas the first state of the proofs are characteristically marked by DGR in ink. Finally, two leaves from a distinct second issue appear in this collection.

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, Correspondence70.45-70.82), 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 many poems in all three sections of the book. Notable is 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 to the sequence were: “The Love-Letter”, “Barren Spring”, “Love-Sweetness” and “He and I”. DGR also made significant revisions to the Sonnets for Pictures and Other Sonnets section of the book.

Printing History

This is the first prepublication state of the 1870 Poems where the lineation was changed from 29 per page to 24 per page.


Especially notable on these proofs is DGR's drawing for an ornamented title page for this edition. The design was never used so that the proof page in this document is the only instance of the design that survives.


When the prepublication printings of the 1870 Poems reached this state, the basic form of the book and sequences of poetical materials were very near their final forms.

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.