Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Exhumation Proofs for the 1870 Poems, Second Issue, copy 2
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1869 November (early November)
Printer: Strangeways and Walden
Issue: 2

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

page: 0
Editorial Description: Hand-written notations on blank page of ms. Not in DGR's penmanship.
Note: Pages 1-22 missing from extant manuscript.
Image of page 23 page: 23
Manuscript Addition: d
Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper left-hand 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 it turn & swim
  • the books so swim
  • At every effort's interim.
    Added Text At While hour by hour 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: d
    Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper left-hand 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.
  • From 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: d
    Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper left-hand 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.
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.
Note: Seven leaves (pages 29-42) missing from extant manuscript.
Image of page 43 page: 43
Manuscript Addition: c
Editorial Description: Lower-case letter hand-written in upper left-hand corner of page. Not in DGR's penmanship
Printer's Direction: This Title a size smaller
Editorial Description: Notation by DGR next to title.
  • 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.
  • No quiet, which is death's,—it hath
  • The mournfulness of ancient life,
  • 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
  • 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 re a nd 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
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