Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Poems (1870): Exhumation Proofs, Second Issue (partial), Princeton/Troxell (copy 1)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1869 November (early November)
Printer: Strangeways and Walden
Issue: 1

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

Image of page 0 page: 0
Manuscript Addition: [Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 1828-1882. / Exhumation proofs. London /
Transcription Gap: one line (image unclear)
/ >] First proofs After exhumation /
Transcription Gap: at least one letter (image unclear)
cond issue. / After October 14, 1869 / Copy I.
Editorial Description: Notation on blank page of ms, not in DGR's penmanship.
Image of page 1 page: 1
Sig. B

( Regno Lombardo-Veneto, 1848.)

  • Our Lombard country-girls along the coast
  • Wear daggers in their garters; for they know
  • That they might hate another girl to death
  • Or meet a German lover. Such a knife
  • I bought her, with a hilt of horn and pearl.
  • Father, you cannot know of all my thoughts
  • That day in going to meet her,—that last day
  • For the last time, she said;—of all the love
  • And all the hopeless hope that she might change
  • 10And go back with me. Ah! and everywhere,
  • At places we both knew along the road,
  • Some fresh shape of herself as once she was
  • Grew present at my side; until it seemed—
  • So close they gathered round me—they would all
  • Be with me when I reached the spot at last,
  • To plead my cause with her against herself
  • So changed. O Father, if you knew all this
  • You cannot know, then you would know too, Father,
    Image of page 2 page: 2
  • And only then, if God can pardon me.
  • 20What can be told I'll tell, if you will hear.
  • I passed a village-fair upon my road,
  • And thought, being empty-handed, I would take
  • Some little present, which might prove that day
  • Either a pledge between us, or (God help me!)
  • A parting gift. And there it was I bought
  • The knife I spoke of, such as women wear.
  • That day, some three hours afterwards, I found
  • For certain, it must be a parting gift.
  • And, standing silent now at last, I looked
  • 30Into her scornful face; and heard the sea
  • Still trying hard to din into my ears
  • Some speech it knew which still might change her heart
  • If only it could make me understand.
  • One moment thus. Another, and her face
  • Seemed further off than the last line of sea,
  • So that I thought, if now she were to speak
  • I could not hear her. Then again I knew
  • All, as we stood together on the sand
  • At Iglio, in the first thin shade o'the hills.
  • 40 ‘Take it,’ I said, and held it out to her,
  • While the hilt glanced within my trembling hold;
  • ‘Take it,’ I said, ‘and keep it for my sake.’
    Added Text“Take it and keep it for my sake,” I said.
  • Her neck did not unbend, nor drooped her eyes,
    Added TextHer neck unbent not, neither did her eyes
  • Nor did her foot leave beating of the sand;
    Added TextMove, nor her foot left beating of the sand;
  • Only she put it by from her and laughed.
Note: Two leaves (pages 3-6) missing from extant manuscript.
Image of page 7 page: 7
Manuscript Addition: c
Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper-left corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.
  • She needs must fix him there herself, because
  • I gave him to her and she loved him so,
  • And he should make her love me better yet,
  • If women loved the more, the more they grew.
  • 50But the fit place upon the wall was high
  • For her, and so I held her in my arms:
  • And each time that the heavy pruning-hook
  • I gave her for a hammer slipped away
  • As it would often, still she laughed and laughed
  • And kissed and kissed me. But amid her mirth,
  • Just as she hung the image on the nail,
  • It slipped and all its fragments strewed the ground:
  • And as it fell she screamed, for in her hand
  • The dart had entered deeply and drawn blood.
  • 60And so her laughter turned to tears: and ‘Oh!’
  • I said, the while I bandaged the small hand,—
  • ‘That I should be the first to make you bleed,
  • Who love and love and love you!’—kissing still
  • The fingers till I got her safe to bed.
  • And still she sobbed,—‘not for the pain at all,’
  • She said, ‘but for the Love, the poor good Love
  • You gave me.’ So she cried herself to sleep.
  • Another later thing comes back to me.
  • 'Twas in those hardest foulest days of all,
  • 70When still from his shut palace, sitting clean
  • Above the splash of blood, old Metternich
  • (May his soul die, and never-dying worms
  • Feast on its pain for ever!) used to thin
  • His year's doomed hundreds daintily, each month
    Image of page 8 page: 8
  • Thirties and fifties. This time, as I think,
  • Was when his thrift forbad the poor to take
  • That evil brackish salt which the dry rocks
  • Keep all through winter when the sea draws in.
  • The first I heard of it was a chance shot
  • 80 Here and there in the street, In the street here and there, and on the stones
  • A stumbling clatter as of horse hemmed round.
  • Then, when she saw me hurry out of doors,
  • My gun slung at my shoulder and my knife
  • Stuck in my girdle, she smoothed down my hair
  • And laughed to see me look so brave, and leaped
  • Up to my neck and kissed me. She was still
  • A child; and yet that kiss was on my lips
  • So hot all day where the smoke shut us in.
  • For now, being always with her, the first love
  • 90I had—the father's, brother's love—was changed,
  • I think, in somewise; like a holy thought
  • Which is a prayer before one knows of it.
  • The first time I perceived this, I remember,
  • Was once when after hunting I came home
  • Weary, and she brought food and fruit for me,
  • And sat down at my feet upon the floor
  • Leaning against my side. But when I felt
  • Her sweet head reach from that low seat of hers
  • So high as to be laid upon my heart,
  • 100I turned and looked upon my darling there
  • And marked for the first time how tall she was;
  • And my heart beat with so much violence
  • Under her cheek, I thought she could not choose
    Image of page 9 page: 9
  • But wonder at it soon and ask me why;
  • And so I bade her rise and eat with me.
  • And when, remembering all and counting back
  • The time, I made out fourteen years for her
  • And told her so, she gazed at me with eyes
  • As of the sky and sea on a grey day,
  • 110And drew her long hands through her hair, and asked me
  • If she was not a woman; and then laughed:
  • And as she stooped in laughing, I could see
  • Beneath the growing throat the breasts half globed
  • Like folded lilies deepset in the stream.
  • Yes, let me think of her as then; for so
  • Her image, Father, is not like the sights
  • Which come when you are gone. She had a mouth
  • Made to bring death to life,—the underlip
  • Sucked in, as if it strove to kiss itself.
  • 120Her face was ever pale, as when one stoops
  • Over wan water; and the dark crisped hair
  • And the hair's shadow made it paler still:—
  • Deep-serried locks, the darkness of the cloud
  • Where the moon's gaze is shrined set in eddying gloom.
  • Her body bore her neck as the tree's stem
  • Bears the top branch; and as the branch sustains
  • Its pride of flower and fruit, her high neck bore
    Added Text The full year's flowering f
    Transcription Gap: at least five letters (image unclear)
    Its whole The flower of the year's pride, her proud high neck bore
  • That face made wonderful with night and day.
  • Her voice was swift, yet ever the last words
  • 130Fell lingeringly; and rounded finger-tips
  • She had, that clung a little where they touched
  • And then were gone o' the instant. Her great eyes,
    Image of page 10 page: 10
  • That sometimes turned half dizzily beneath
  • The passionate lids, as faint, when she would speak,
  • Had also in them hidden springs of mirth,
  • Which under the dark lashes evermore
  • Shook to her laugh, as when a bird flies low
  • Between the water and the willow-leaves,
  • And the shade quivers till he wins the light.
  • 140 I was a moody comrade to her then,
  • For all the love I bore her. Italy,
  • The weeping desolate mother, long has claimed
  • Her sons' strong arms to lean on, and their hands
  • To lop the poisonous thicket from her path,
  • Cleaving her way to light. And from her need
  • Had grown the fashion of my whole poor life
  • Which I was proud to yield her, as my father
  • Had yielded his. And this had come to be
  • A game to play, a love to clasp, a hate
  • 150To wreak, all things together that a man
  • Needs for his blood to ripen: till at times
  • All else seemed shadows, and I wondered still
  • To see such life pass muster and be deemed
  • Time's bodily substance. In those hours, no doubt,
  • To the young girl my eyes were like my soul,—
  • Dark wells of death-in-life that yearned for day.
  • And though she ruled me always, I remember
  • That once when I was thus and she still kept
  • Leaping about the place and laughing, I
  • 160Did almost chide her; whereupon she knelt
  • And putting her two hands into my breast
Note: Three leaves (pages 11-16) missing from extant manuscript.
Image of page 17 page: 17
Manuscript Addition: c
Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper-left corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.
Sig. C
  • It is that then we have her with us here,
  • As when she wrung her hair out in my dream
  • To-night, till all the darkness reeked of it.
  • Her hair is always wet, for she has kept
  • Its tresses wrapped about her side for years;
  • And when she wrung them round over the floor,
  • I heard the blood hiss through her fingers; so between her fingers hiss,
  • That I sat straight So that I sat up in my bed and screamed
  • 170Once and again; and once to once, she laughed.
  • Look that you turn not now,—she's at your back:
  • Gather your robe up, Father, and keep close,
  • Or she'll sit down on it and send you mad.
  • At Iglio in the first thin shade o' the hills
  • The sand is black and red. The black was black
  • When what was spilt that day sank into it,
  • And the red scarcely darkened. There I stood
  • This night with her, and saw the sand the same.

  • What would you have me tell you? Father, father,
  • 180How shall I make you know? You have not known
  • The dreadful soul of woman, who one day
  • Forgets the old and takes the new to heart,
  • Forgets what man remembers, and therewith
  • Forgets the man. Nor can I clearly tell
  • How the change happened between her and me.
  • Her eyes looked on me from an emptied heart
  • When most my heart was full of her; and still
    Image of page 18 page: 18
  • In every corner of myself I sought
  • To find what service failed her; and no less
  • 190Than in the good time past, there all was hers.
  • What do you love? Your Heaven? Conceive it spread
  • For one first year of all eternity
  • All round you with all joys and gifts of God;
  • And then when most your soul is blent with it
  • And all yields song together,—then it stands
  • O' the sudden like a pool that once gave back
  • Your image, but now drowns it and is clear
  • Again,—or like a sun bewitched, that burns
  • Your shadow from you, and still shines in sight.
  • 200How could you bear it? Would you not cry out,
  • Among those eyes grown blind to you, those ears
  • That hear no more your voice you hear the same,—
  • ‘God! what is left but hell for company,
  • But hell, hell, hell?’—until the name so breathed
  • Whirled with hot wind and sucked you down in fire?
  • Even so I stood the day her empty heart
  • Left her place empty in our home, while yet
  • I knew not why she went nor where she went
  • Nor how to reach her: so I stood the day
  • 210When to my prayers at last one sight of her
  • Was granted, and I looked on heaven made pale
  • With scorn, and heard heaven mock me in that laugh.
  • O sweet, long sweet! Was that some ghost of you
  • Even as your ghost that haunts me now,—twin shapes
  • Of fear and hatred? May I find you yet
    Image of page 19 page: 19
  • Mine when death wakes? Ah! be it even in flame,
  • We may have sweetness yet, if you but say
  • As once in childish sorrow: ‘Not my pain,
  • My pain was nothing: oh your poor poor love,
  • 220Your broken love!’
  • My Father, it is hard have I not
  • To tell Yet told you the last things of that last day
  • Added TextOn which I went to meet her by the sea?
  • Added TextO God, O God! but I must tell you all.
  • But I must tell you all now. While I stopped
    Added TextMidway upon my journey, when I stopped
  • To buy the dagger at the village fair,
  • I saw two cursed rats about the place
  • I knew for spies—blood-sellers both. That day
  • Was not yet over; for three hours to come
  • I prized my life: and so I looked around
  • 230For safety. A poor painted mountebank
  • Was playing pranks and shouting in a crowd.
  • I knew he must have heard my name, so I
  • Pushed past and whispered to him who I was,
  • And of my danger. Straight he hustled me
  • Into his booth, as it were in the trick,
  • And brought me out next minute with my face
  • All smeared in patches and a zany's gown;
  • And there I handed him his cups and balls
  • And swung the sand-bags round to clear the ring
  • 240For half an hour. The spies came once and looked;
  • And while they stopped, and made all sights and sounds
  • Sharp to my startled senses, I remember
  • A woman laughed above me. I looked up
  • And saw her—a brown handsome harlot—leaning
  • Half through a tavern window thick with vine.
  • Image of page 20 page: 20
    Manuscript Addition: c
    Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper-left corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.
  • Some man had come behind her in the room
  • And caught her by her arms, and she had turned
  • With that coarse empty laugh. I saw him there
  • Munching her neck with kisses, while the vine
  • 250Crawled in her back.
  • And three hours afterwards,
  • When she that I had run all risks to meet
  • Laughed as I told you, my life burned to death
  • Within me, for I thought it like the laugh
  • Heard at the fair. She had not left me long;
  • But all she might have changed to, or might change to,
  • (I know nought since—she never speaks a word—)
  • Seemed in that laugh. Have I not told you yet,
  • Not told you all this time what happened, Father,
  • When I had offered her the little knife,
  • 260And bade her keep it for my sake that loved her,
  • And she had laughed? Have I not told you yet?
  • ‘Take it,’ I said to her the second time,
  • ‘Take it and keep it.’ And then came a fire
  • That burnt my hand; and then the fire was blood.
  • And sea and sky were blood and fire, and all
  • The day was one red blindness; till it seemed
  • Within the whirling brain's entanglement
  • That she or I or all things bled to death.
  • And then I found her lying at my feet
  • 270And knew that I had stabbed her, and saw still
  • The look she gave me when she took the knife
  • Deep in her heart, even as I bade her then,
  • Image of page 21 page: 21
    Manuscript Addition: c
    Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper-left corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.
  • And fell, and her stiff bod dice scooped the sand
  • Into her bosom.
  • And she keeps it, see,
  • Do you not see she keeps it?—there, beneath
  • Wet fingers and wet tresses, in her heart.
  • For look you, when she stirs her hand, it shows
  • The little hilt of horn and pearl,—even such
  • A dagger as our women of the coast
  • 280Twist in their garters.
  • Father, I have done:
  • And from her side now she unwinds the thick
  • Dark hair; all round her side it is wet through,
  • But like the sand at Iglio does not change.
  • Now you may see the dagger clearly. Father,
  • I have told all: tell me at once what hope
  • Can reach me still. For now she draws it out
  • Slowly, and only smiles as yet: look, Father,
  • She scarcely smiles: but I shall hear her laugh
  • Soon, when she shows the crimson blade to God.
Image of page [22] page: [22]
Note: blank page
Image of page 23 page: 23
Manuscript Addition: c
Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper-left corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.

“Vengeance of Jenny's case! Fie on her! Never name her,

child!”—( Mrs. Quickly.)

  • Lazy laughing languid Jenny,
  • Fond of a kiss and fond of a guinea,
  • Whose head is on my knee to-night;—
  • (Have all our dances left it light
  • With their wild tunes?)—Ah, Jenny, queen
  • Of kisses which the blush between
  • Could hardly make much daintier!— Nay,
  • Poor flower left torn since yesterday
  • Until to-morrow leave you bare;
  • 10Poor handful of bright spring-water
  • Flung in the whirlpool's shrieking face!—
  • Poor shameful Jenny, full of grace
  • Thus with your head upon my knee;—
  • Whose person or whose purse may be
  • The lodestar of your reverie?
  • This room of yours, my Jenny, looks
  • A change from mine so full of books,
  • Whose serried ranks hold fast, forsooth,
  • So many captive hours of youth,—
    Image of page 24 page: 24
  • 20The hours they thieve from day and night
  • To make one's cherished work come right,
  • And leave it wrong for all their theft,
  • Even as to-night my work was left:
  • Until I vowed that since my brain
  • And eyes of dancing seemed so fain,
  • My feet should have some dancing too:—
  • And thus it was I met with you.
  • Well, I suppose 'twas hard to part,
  • For here I am. And now, sweetheart,
  • 30You seem too tired to get to bed.
  • It was a careless life I led
  • When rooms like this were scarce so strange
  • Not long ago. What breeds the change,—
  • The many aims or the few years?
  • Because to-night it all appears
  • Something I do not know again.
  • The cloud's not danced out of my brain,—
  • The cloud that made the books so swim/dim it turn and swim
  • At every effort's interim.
    Added TextWhile hour by hour my the books grew dim
  • 40Why, Jenny, as I watch you there,—
  • For all your wealth of loosened hair,
  • Your silk ungirdled and unlac'd
  • And warm sweets open to the waist,
  • All golden in the lamplight's gleam,—
  • You know not what a book you seem,
  • Half-read by lightning in a dream!
  • Image of page 25 page: 25
    Manuscript Addition: c
    Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper-left corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.
    Manuscript Addition: 55
    Editorial Description: Numbers hand-written in upper-right corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.
  • How should you know, my Jenny? Nay,
  • And I should be ashamed to say:—
  • Poor beauty, so well worth a kiss!
  • 50But while my thought runs on like this
  • With wasteful whims more than enough,
  • I wonder what you're thinking of.
  • If of myself you think at all,
  • What is the thought?—conjectural
  • On sorry matters best unsolved?—
  • Or inly is each grace revolved
  • To fit me with a lure?—or (sad
  • To think!) perhaps you're merely glad
  • That I'm not drunk or ruffianly
  • 60And let you rest upon my knee.
  • For sometimes, were the truth confess'd,
  • You're thankful for a little rest,—
  • Glad from the crush to rest within,
  • Form the heart-sickness and the din
  • Where envy's voice at virtue's pitch
  • Mocks you because your gown is rich;
  • And from the pale girl's dumb rebuke,
  • Whose ill-clad grace and toil-worn look
  • Proclaim the strength that keeps her weak
  • 70And other nights than yours bespeak;
  • And from the wise unchildish elf,
  • To schoolmate lesser than himself
  • Pointing you out, what thing you are:—
    Image of page 26 page: 26
  • Yes, from the daily jeer and jar,
  • From shame and shame's outbraving too,
  • Is rest not sometimes sweet to you?—
  • But most from the hatefulness of man
  • Who spares not to end what he began,
  • Whose acts are foul ill and his speech hard, ill,
  • 80Who, having used you , afterward at his will,
  • Thrusts you aside, as when I dine
  • I serve the dishes and the wine.
  • Well, handsome Jenny mine, sit up,
  • I've filled our glasses, let us sup,
  • And do not let me think of you,
  • Lest shame of yours suffice for two.
  • What, still so tired? Well, well then, keep
  • Your head there, so you do not sleep;
  • But that the weariness may pass
  • 90And leave you merry, take this glass.
  • Ah! lazy lily hand, more bless'd
  • If ne'er in rings it had been dress'd
  • Nor ever by a glove conceal'd!
  • Behold the lilies of the field,
  • They toil not neither do they spin;
  • (So doth the ancient text begin,—
  • Not of such rest as one of these
  • Can share.) Another rest and ease
  • Along each summer-sated path
  • 100From its new lord the garden hath,
  • Image of page 27 page: 27
    Manuscript Addition: c
    Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper-left corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.
  • Than that whose spring in blessings ran
  • Which praised the righteous husbandman,
  • Ere yet, in days of hankering breath,
  • The lilies sickened unto death.
  • What, Jenny, are your lilies dead?
  • Aye, and the snow-white leaves are spread
  • Like winter on the garden-bed.
  • But you had roses left in May,—
  • They were not gone too. Jenny, nay,
  • 110But must your roses die away?
  • Even so; the leaves are curled apart,
  • Still red as from the broken heart,
  • And here's the naked stem of thorns.
  • Nay, nay, mere words. Here nothing warns
  • As yet of winter. Sickness here
  • Or want alone could waken fear,—
  • Nothing but passion wrings a tear.
  • Except when there may rise unsought
  • Haply at times a passing thought
  • 120Of the old days which seem to be
  • Much older than any history
  • That is written in any book;
  • When she would lie in fields and look
  • Along the ground through the thick blown grass,
  • And wonder where the city was,
  • Far out of sight, whose broil and bale
  • They told her then for a child's tale.
Added Text
  • Along the ground under the trees
  • That the breeze heaved, and watch the breeze
  • Skim like a vapour all the gra
    Transcription Gap: at least one letter (image unclear)
Note: Stricken emendation by DGR at bottom of page, three lines long.
Image of page 28 page: 28
  • Jenny, you know the city now.
  • A child can tell the tale there, how
  • 130Some things which are not yet enroll'd
  • In market-lists are bought and sold
  • Even till the early Sunday light,
  • When Saturday night is market-night
  • Everywhere, be it dry or wet,
  • And market-night in the Haymarket.
  • Our learned London children know,
  • Poor Jenny, all your mirth and woe;
  • Have seen your lifted silken skirt
  • Advertize dainties through the dirt;
  • 140Have seen your coach-wheels splash rebuke
  • On virtue; and have learned your look
  • When, wealth and health slipped past, you stare
  • Along the streets alone, and there,
  • Round the long park, across the bridge,
  • The cold lamps at the pavement's edge
  • Wind on together and apart,
  • A fiery serpent for your heart.
  • Let the thoughts pass, an empty cloud . !
  • Suppose I were to think aloud,—
  • 150What if to her all this were said?
  • Why, as a volume seldom read
  • Being opened halfway shuts again,
  • So might the pages of her brain
  • Be parted at such words, and thence
  • Close back upon the dusty sense.
Added Text
  • Whose sermoned stones on Sunday morn
  • (The golden London pavement, worn
  • Afresh with every Sabbath-bell,)
  • Rinse thoughts the mind may not dispel
  • Of well-intentioned sheets in Hell
  • Transcription Gap: one line (image trunc and unclear)
Note: Stricken six line emendation, noted by DGR at bottom of page.
Note: Leaf (pages 29-30) missing from extant manuscript.
Image of page 31 page: 31
Manuscript Addition: 60
Editorial Description: Hand-written in the center at the bottom of the page.
  • At Judgment, one of his own race,
  • As frail and lost as you, shall rise,
  • Through all time's hopes of kindred ties
  • His daughter, with his mother's eyes?
  • Each of such curdled lives alike
  • 160A life for which my twelve hours strike
  • And time must be and time must end.
  • Hard to keep sight of! What might tend
  • To give the thought clear presence? Well,
  • Remember it is possible,
  • Whether I please or do not please,
  • That in the making each of these
  • A separate man has lost his soul.
  • Fair shines the gilded aureole
  • In which our highest painters place
  • 170Some living woman's simple face.
  • And the stilled features thus descried
  • As Jenny's long throat droops aside,—
  • The loving underlip drawn in,
  • The shadows where the cheeks are thin,
  • And pure wide curve from ear to chin,—
  • With Raffael's or Da Vinci's hand
  • To show them to men's souls, might stand,
  • Whole ages long, the whole world through,
  • For preachings of what God can do.
  • 180What has man done here? How atone,
  • Great God, for this which man has done?
  • And for the body and soul which by
  • Image of page 32 page: 32
    Manuscript Addition: 2
    Transcription Gap: one character (image unclear)
    Editorial Description: Number hand-written in the left margin by last four lines; second digit could be 4 or 9.
  • Man's pitiless doom must now comply
  • With lifelong hell, what lullaby
  • Of sweet forgetful second birth
  • Remains? All dark. No sign on earth
  • What measure of God's rest endows
  • The many mansions of his house.
  • If but a woman's heart might see
  • 190Such erring heart unerringly
  • For once! But that can never be.
  • Like a rose shut in a book
  • In which pure women may not look,
  • For its base pages claim control
  • To crush the flower within the soul;
  • Where through each dead rose-leaf that clings,
  • Pale as transparent psyche-wings,
  • To the vile text, are traced such things
  • As might make lady's cheek indeed
  • 200More than a living rose to read;
  • So nought save foolish foulness may
  • Watch with hard eyes the sure decay;
  • And so the life-blood of this rose,
  • Puddled with shameful knowledge, flows
  • Through leaves no chaste hand may unclose:
  • Yet still it keeps such faded show
  • Of when 'twas gathered long ago,
  • That the crushed petals' lovely grain,
  • The sweetness of the sanguine stain,
    Image of page 33 page: 33
    Sig. D
  • 210Seen of a woman's eyes, must make
  • Her pitiful heart, so prone to ache,
  • Love roses better for its sake:—
  • Only that this can never be:—
  • Even so unto her sex is she.
  • Yet, Jenny, looking long at you,
  • The woman almost fades from view.
  • A cypher of man's changeless sum
  • Of lust, past, present, and to come,
  • Is left. A riddle that one shrinks
  • 220To challenge from the scornful sphinx.
  • Like a toad within a stone
  • Seated while Time crumbles on;
  • Which sits there since the earth was curs'd
  • For Man's transgression at the first;
  • Which, living through all centuries,
  • Not once has seen the sun arise;
  • Whose life, to its cold circle charmed,
  • The earth's whole summers have not warmed;
  • Which always—whitherso the stone
  • 230Be cast flung—sits there, deaf, blind, alone;—
  • Aye, and shall not be driven out
  • Till that which shuts him round about
  • Break at the very Master's stroke,
  • And the dust thereof vanish as smoke,
  • And the seed of Man vanish as dust:—
  • Even so within this world is Lust.
Image of page 34 page: 34
  • Come, come, what use in thoughts like this?
  • Poor little Jenny, good to kiss,—
  • You'd not believe by what strange roads
  • 240Thought travels, when your beauty goads
  • A man to-night to think of toads!
  • Jenny, wake up. . . . Why, there's the dawn!
  • And there's an early waggon drawn
  • To market, and some sheep that jog
  • Bleating before a barking dog;
  • And the old streets come peering through
  • Another night that London knew;
  • And all as ghostlike as the lamps.
  • So on the wings of day decamps
  • 250My last night's frolic. Glooms begin
  • To shiver off as lights creep in
  • Past the gauze curtains half drawn-to,
  • And the lamp's doubled shade grows blue,—
  • Your lamp, my Jenny, kept alight,
  • Like a wise virgin's, all one night!
  • And in the alcove coolly spread
  • Glimmers with dawn your empty bed;
  • And yonder your fair face I see
  • Reflected lying on my knee,
  • 260Where teems with first foreshadowings
  • Your pier-glass scrawled with diamond rings.
  • And somehow in myself the dawn
    Image of page 35 page: 35
  • Among stirred clouds and veils withdrawn
  • Strikes greyly on her. Let her sleep.
  • But will it wake her if I heap
  • These cushions thus beneath her head
  • Where my knee was? No,—there's your bed,
  • My Jenny, while you dream. And there
  • I lay among your golden hair
  • 270Perhaps the subject of your dreams,
  • These golden coins.
  • For still one deems
  • That Jenny's flattering sleep confers
  • New magic on the magic purse,—
  • Grim web, how clogged with shrivelled flies!
  • Between the threads fine fumes arise
  • And shape their pictures in the brain.
  • There roll no streets in glare and rain,
  • Nor flagrant man-swine whets his tusk;
  • But delicately sighs in musk
  • 280The homage of the dim boudoir;
  • Or like a palpitating star
  • Thrilled into song, the opera-night
  • Breathes faint in the quick pulse of light;
  • Or at the carriage-window shine
  • Rich wares for choice; or, free to dine,
  • Whirls through its hour of health (divine
  • For her) the concourse of the Park.
  • And though in the discounted dark
  • Her functions there and here are one,
  • 290Beneath the lamps and in the sun
    Image of page 36 page: 36
  • There reigns at least the acknowledged belle
  • Apparelled beyond parallel.
  • Ah Jenny, yes, we know your dreams.
  • For even the Paphian Venus seems
  • A goddess o'er the realms of love,
  • When silver-shrined in shadowy grove:
  • Aye, or let offerings nicely placed
  • But hide Priapus to the waist,
  • And whoso looks on him shall see
  • 300An eligible deity.
  • Why, Jenny, waking here alone
  • May help you to remember one!
  • I think I see you when you wake,
  • And rub your eyes for me, and shake
  • My gold, in rising, from your hair,
  • A Danaë for a moment there.
  • Jenny, my love rang true! for still
  • Love at first sight is vague, until
  • That tinkling makes him audible.
  • 310And must I mock you to the last,
  • Ashamed of my own shame, aghast
  • Because some thoughts not born amiss
  • Rose at a poor fair face like this?
  • Well, of such thoughts so much I know:
Added Text
  • Though all the memory's long outworn
  • Of many a double-bedded morn
Note: Stricken emendation by DGR at bottom of page. Same two line emendation recorded and stricken from page 36 of 1B ms.
Note: Three leaves (pages 37-42) missing from extant manuscript.
Image of page 43 page: 43
Printer's Direction: This title a size smaller
Editorial Description: Notation by DGR next to title.
Manuscript Addition: c
Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper-left corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship.
  • Consider the sea's listless chime:
  • Time's self it is, made audible,—
  • The murmur of the earth's own shell.
  • Secret continuance sublime
  • Is the sea's end: our sight may pass
  • No furlong further. Since time was,
  • This sound hath told the lapse of time.
Printer's Direction: topsy turvy
Editorial Description: DGR notes that the “e” at the end of “life” in line 9 is inverted.
  • No quiet, which is death's,—it hath
  • The mournfulness of ancient lif e,
  • 10 Enduring always at dull strife.
  • As the world's heart of rest and wrath,
  • Its painful pulse is in the sands.
  • Last utterly, the whole sky stands,
  • Grey and not known, along its path.
  • Listen alone beside the sea,
  • Listen alone among the woods;
  • Those voices of twin solitudes
  • Shall have one sound alike to thee:
  • Hark where the murmurs of thronged men
    Image of page 44 page: 44
  • 20 Surge and sink back and surge again,—
  • Still the one voice of wave and tree.
  • Gather a shell from the strown beach
  • And listen at its lips: they sigh
  • The same desire and mystery,
  • The echo of the whole sea's speech.
  • And all mankind is thus at heart
  • Not anything but what thou art:
  • And Earth, Sea, Man, are all in each.
Image of page 45 page: 45
Printer's Direction: This title a size smaller.
Editorial Description: Notation by DGR next to title.
  • Give honour unto Luke Evangelist;
  • For he it was (the aged legends say)
  • Who first taught Art to fold her hands and pray.
  • Scarcely at once she dared to read the mist
  • Of devious symbols: but soon having wist
  • How sky-breadth and field-silence and this day
  • Are symbols also in some deeper way,
  • She looked through these to God and was God's priest.
  • And if, past noon, her toil began to irk,
  • 10And she sought talismans, and turned in vain
  • To soulless self-reflections of man's skill,—
  • Yet now, in this the twilight, she might still
  • Kneel in the latter grass to pray again,
  • Ere the night cometh and she may not work.
Image of page [46] page: [46]
Note: blank page
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.