Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1873): the Tauchnitz Edition, page proofs with author's corrections
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1873 November (early November)
Publisher: Bernhard Tauchnitz
Printer: Printing Office to the Publisher

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

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Printer's Direction: extra M.S. at end / to be inserted according to Table
Editorial Description: DGR cancels through all the print material for the 1873 Tauchnitz printing. DGR's note scrawled across lower part of the page. It seems to refer to a manuscript page of the Table of Contents.
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The Right of Translation is reserved.

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Sig. Rossetti 1
Note: The page signature is on the lower right, and the author's name appears, crossed out, on the bottom left.

  • The blessed damozel leaned out
  • From the gold bar of Heaven;
  • Her eyes were deeper than the depth
  • Of waters stilled at even;
  • She had three lilies in her hand,
  • And the stars in her hair were seven.
  • Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
  • No wrought flowers did adorn.
  • But a white rose of Mary's gift,
  • 10 For service meetly worn;
  • Her hair that lay along her back
  • Was yellow like ripe corn.
  • Herseemed she scarce had been a day
  • One of God's choristers;
  • Image of page 2 page: 2
    Manuscript Addition: n-f
    Editorial Description: Printer's note for line 23.
  • The wonder was not yet quite gone
  • From that still look of hers;
  • Albeit, to them she left, her day
  • Had counted as ten years.
  • (To one, it is ten years of years.
  • 20 . . . Yet now, and in this place,
  • Surely she leaned o'er me—her hair
  • Fell all about my face. . . .
  • Nothing: the autumn fall of leaves.
  • The whole year sets apace.)
  • It was the rampart of God's house
  • That she was standing on;
  • By God built over the sheer depth
  • The which is Space begun;
  • So high, that looking downward thence
  • 30 She scarce could see the sun.
  • It lies in Heaven, across the flood
  • Of ether, as a bridge.
  • Beneath, the tides of day and night
  • With flame and darkness ridge
  • The void, as low as where this earth
  • Spins like a fretful midge.
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Manuscript Addition: 13
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
Sig. 1*
  • Around her, lovers, newly met
  • 'Mid deathless love's acclaims,
  • Spoke evermore among themselves
  • 40 Their rapturous new heart-remembered names;
  • And the souls mounting up to God
  • Went by her like thin flames.
  • And still she bowed herself and stooped
  • Out of the circling charm;
  • Until her bosom must have made
  • The bar she leaned on warm,
  • And the lilies lay as if asleep
  • Along her bended arm.
  • From the fixed place of Heaven she saw
  • 50 Time like a pulse shake fierce
  • Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove
  • Within the gulf to pierce
  • Its path; and now she spoke as when
  • The stars sang in their spheres.
  • The sun was gone now; the curled moon
  • Was like a little feather
  • Fluttering far down the gulf; and now
  • She spoke through the still weather.
  • Image of page 4 page: 4
  • Her voice was like the voice the stars
  • 60 Had when they sang together.
  • (Ah sweet! Even now, in that bird's song,
  • Strove not her accents there,
  • Fain to be hearkened? When those bells
  • Possessed the mid-day air,
  • Strove not her steps to reach my side
  • Down all the echoing stair?)
  • “I wish that he were come to me,
  • For he will come,” she said.
  • “Have I not prayed in Heaven?—on earth,
  • 70 Lord, Lord, has he not pray'd?
  • Are not two prayers a perfect strength?
  • And shall I feel afraid?
  • “When round his head the aureole clings,
  • And he is clothed in white,
  • I'll take his hand and go with him
  • To the deep wells of light;
  • We will step down as to a stream,
  • And bathe there in God's sight.
  • “We two will stand beside that shrine,
  • 80 Occult, withheld, untrod,
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    Manuscript Addition: 14
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • Whose lamps are stirred continually
  • With prayer sent up to God;
  • And see our old prayers, granted, melt
  • Each like a little cloud.
  • “We two will lie i' the shadow of
  • That living mystic tree
  • Within whose secret growth the Dove
  • Is sometimes felt to be,
  • While every leaf that His plumes touch
  • 90 Saith His Name audibly.
  • “And I myself will teach to him,
  • I myself, lying so,
  • The songs I sing here; which his voice
  • Shall pause in, hushed and slow,
  • And find some knowledge at each pause,
  • Or some new thing to know.”
  • (Alas! We two, we two, thou say'st!
  • Yea, one wast thou with me
  • That once of old. But shall God lift
  • 100 To endless unity
  • The soul whose likeness with thy soul
  • Was but its love for thee?)
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  • “We two,” she said, “will seek the groves
  • Where the lady Mary is,
  • With her five handmaidens, whose names
  • Are five sweet symphonies,
  • Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
  • Margaret and Rosalys.
  • “Circlewise sit they, with bound locks
  • 110 And foreheads garlanded;
  • Into the fine cloth white like flame
  • Weaving the golden thread,
  • To fashion the birth-robes for them
  • Who are just born, being dead.
  • “He shall fear, haply, and be dumb:
  • Then will I lay my cheek
  • To his, and tell about our love,
  • Not once abashed or weak:
  • And the dear Mother will approve
  • 120 My pride, and let me speak.
  • “Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,
  • To him round whom all souls
  • Kneel, the clear-ranged unnumbered heads
  • Bowed with their aureoles:
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  • And angels meeting us shall sing
  • To their citherns and citoles.
  • “There will I ask of Christ the Lord
  • Thus much for him and me:—
  • Only to live as once on earth
  • 130 With Love,—only to be,
  • As then awhile, for ever now
  • Together, I and he.”
  • She gazed and listened and then said,
  • Less sad of speech than mild,—
  • “All this is when he comes.” She ceased.
  • The light thrilled towards her, fill'd
  • With angels in strong level flight.
  • Her eyes prayed, and she smil'd.
  • (I saw her smile.) But soon their path
  • 140 Was vague in distant spheres:
  • And then she cast her arms along
  • The golden barriers,
  • And laid her face between her hands,
  • And wept. (I heard her tears.)
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  • Master of the murmuring courts
  • Where the shapes of sleep convene!—
  • Lo! my spirit here exhorts
  • All the powers of thy demesne
  • For their aid to woo my queen.
  • What reports
  • Yield thy jealous courts unseen?
  • Vaporous, unaccountable,
  • Dream land world lies forlorn of light,
  • 10Hollow like a breathing shell.
  • Ah! that from all dreams I might
  • Choose one dream and guide its flight!
  • I know well
  • What her sleep should tell to-night.
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  • There the dreams are multitudes:
  • Some that will not wait for sleep,
  • Deep within the August woods;
  • Some that hum while rest may steep
  • Weary labour laid a-heap;
  • 20 Interludes,
  • Some, of grievous moods that weep.
  • Poets' fancies all are there:
  • There the elf-girls flood with wings
  • Valleys full of plaintive air;
  • There breathe perfumes; there in rings
  • Whirl the foam-bewildered springs;
  • Siren there
  • Winds her dizzy hair and sings.
  • Thence the one dream mutually
  • 30 Dreamed in bridal unison,
  • Less than waking ecstasy;
  • Half-formed visions that make moan
  • In the house of birth alone;
  • And what we
  • At death's wicket see, unknown.
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  • But for mine own sleep, it lies
  • In one gracious form's control,
  • Fair with honorable eyes,
  • Lamps of an auspicious soul:
  • 40 O their glance is loftiest dole,
  • Sweet and wise,
  • Wherein Love descries his goal.
  • Reft of her, my dreams are all
  • Clammy trance that fears the sky:
  • Changing footpaths shift and fall;
  • From polluted coverts nigh,
  • Miserable phantoms sigh;
  • Quakes the pall,
  • And the funeral goes by.
  • 50Master, is it soothly said
  • That, as echoes of man's speech
  • Far in secret clefts are made,
  • So do all men's bodies reach
  • Shadows o'er thy sunken beach,—
  • Shape or shade
  • In those halls pourtrayed of each?
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  • Ah! might I, by thy good grace
  • Groping in the windy stair,
  • (Darkness and the breath of space
  • 60 Like loud waters everywhere,)
  • Meeting mine own image there
  • Face to face,
  • Send it from that place to her!
  • Nay, not I; but oh! do thou,
  • Master, from thy shadowkind
  • Call my body's phantom now:
  • Bid it bear its face declin'd
  • Till its flight her slumbers find,
  • And her brow
  • 70Feel its presence bow like wind.
  • Where in groves the gracile Spring
  • Trembles, with mute orison
  • Confidently strengthening,
  • Water's voice and wind's as one
  • Shed an echo in the sun.
  • Soft as Spring,
  • Master, bid it sing and moan.
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  • Song shall tell how glad and strong
  • Is the night she soothes alway;
  • 80Moan shall grieve with that parched tongue
  • Of the brazen hours of day:
  • Sounds as of the springtide they,
  • Moan and song,
  • While the chill months long for May.
  • Not the prayers which with all leave
  • The world's fluent woes prefer,—
  • Not the praise the world doth give,
  • Dulcet fulsome whisperer;—
  • Let it yield my love to her,
  • 90 And achieve
  • Strength that shall not grieve or err.
  • Wheresoe'er my dreams befall,
  • Both at night-watch, (let it say,)
  • And where round the sundial
  • The reluctant hours of day,
  • Heartless, hopeless of their way,
  • Rest and call;—
  • There her glance doth fall and stay.
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  • Suddenly her face is there:
  • 100 So do mounting vapours wreathe
  • Subtle-scented transports where
  • The black firwood sets its teeth.
  • Part the boughs and look beneath,—
  • Lilies share
  • Secret waters there, and breathe.
  • Master, bid my shadow bend
  • Whispering thus till birth of light,
  • Lest new shapes that sleep may send
  • Scatter all its work to flight;—
  • 110 Master, master of the night,
  • Bid it spend
  • Speech, song, prayer, and end aright.
  • Yet, ah me! if at her head
  • There another phantom lean
  • Murmuring o'er the fragrant bed,—
  • Ah! and if my spirit's queen
  • Smile those alien words prayers between,—
  • Ah! poor shade!
  • Shall it strive, or fade unseen?
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  • 120How should love's own messenger
  • Strive with love and be love's foe?
  • Master, nay! If thus, in her,
  • Sleep a wedded heart should show,—
  • Silent let mine image go,
  • Its old share
  • Of thy spell-bound air to know.
  • Like a vapour wan and mute,
  • Like a flame, so let it pass;
  • One low sigh across her lute,
  • 130 One dull breath against her glass;
  • And to my sad soul, alas!
  • One salute
  • Cold as when death's foot shall pass.
  • Then, too, let all hopes of mine,
  • All vain hopes by night and day,
  • Slowly at thy summoning sign
  • Rise up pallid and obey.
  • Dreams, if-this is thus, were they:—
  • Be they thine,
  • 140 And to dreamland pine away.
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Sig. Rossetti. 2
  • “Look, I bring thee a carven cup;
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • See it here as I hold it up,—
  • Shaped it is to the heart's desire,
  • Fit to fill when the gods would sup.
  • 20 (O Troy's down,)
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • “It was moulded like my breast;
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • He that sees it may not rest,
  • Rest at all for his heart's desire.
  • O give ear to my heart's behest!
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • “See my breast, how like it is;
  • 30 (O Troy Town!)
  • See it bare for the air to kiss!
  • Is the cup to thy heart's desire?
  • O for the breast, O make it his!
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
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  • “Yea, for my bosom here I sue;
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • Thou must give it where 'tis due,
  • Give it there to the heart's desire.
  • 40Whom do I give my bosom to?
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • “Each twin breast is an apple sweet.
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • Once an apple stirred the beat
  • Of thy heart with the heart's desire:—
  • Say, who brought it then to thy feet?
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • 50“They that claimed it then were three:
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • For thy sake two hearts did he
  • Make forlorn of the heart's desire.
  • Do for him as he did for thee!
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
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Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
Sig. 2*
  • “Mine are apples grown to the south,
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • Grown to taste in the days of drouth,
  • 60Taste and waste to the heart's desire:
  • Mine are apples meet for his mouth.”
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • Venus looked on Helen's gift,
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • Looked and smiled with subtle drift,
  • Saw the work of her heart's desire:—
  • “There thou kneel'st for Love to lift!”
  • (O Troy's down,
  • 70 Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • Venus looked in Helen's face,
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • Knew far off an hour and place,
  • And fire lit from the heart's desire;
  • Laughed and said, “Thy gift hath grace!”
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
page: 20
Manuscript Addition: 81 ls
Editorial Description: Notation at top margin
  • Cupid looked on Helen's breast,
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • 80Saw the heart within its nest,
  • Saw the flame of the heart's desire,—
  • Marked his arrow's burning crest.
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • Cupid took another dart,
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • Fledged it for another heart,
  • Winged the shaft with the heart's desire,
  • Drew the string and said, “Depart!”
  • 90 (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • Paris turned upon his bed,
  • (O Troy Town!)
  • Turned upon his bed and said,
  • Dead at heart with the heart's desire,—
  • “O to clasp her golden head!”
  • (O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
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Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • In our Museum galleries
  • To-day I lingered o'er the prize
  • Dead Greece vouchsafes to living eyes,—
  • Her Art for ever in fresh wise
  • From hour to hour rejoicing me.
  • Sighing I turned at last to win
  • Once more the London dirt and din;
  • And as I made the swing-door spin
  • And issued, they were hoisting in
  • 10 A wingèd beast from Nineveh.
  • A human face the creature wore,
  • And hoofs behind and hoofs before,
  • And flanks with dark runes fretted o'er.
  • 'Twas bull, 'twas mitred Minotaur,
  • A dead disbowelled mystery;
  • page: 22
  • The mummy of a buried faith
  • Stark from the charnel without scathe,
  • Its wings stood for the light to bathe,—
  • Such fossil cerements as might swathe
  • 20 The very corpse of Nineveh.
  • The print of its first rush-wrapping,
  • Wound ere it dried, still ribbed the thing.
  • What song did the brown maidens sing,
  • From purple mouths alternating,
  • When that was woven languidly?
  • What vows, what rites, what prayers preferr'd,
  • What songs has the strange image heard?
  • In what blind vigil stood interr'd
  • For ages, till an English word
  • 30 Broke silence first at Nineveh?
  • Oh when upon each sculptured court,
  • Where even the wind might not resort,—
  • O'er which Time passed, of like import
  • With the wild Arab boys at sport,—
  • A living face looked in to see:—
  • Oh seemed it not—the spell once broke—
  • As though the carven warriors woke,
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  • Manuscript Addition: 23
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • As though the shaft the string forsook,
  • The cymbals clashed, the chariots shook,
  • 40 And there was life in Nineveh?
  • On London stones our sun anew
  • The beast's recovered shadow threw.
  • (No shade that plague of darkness knew,
  • No light, no shade, while older grew
  • By ages the old earth and sea.)
  • Lo thou! could all thy priests have shown
  • Such proof to make thy godhead known?
  • From their dead Past thou liv'st alone;
  • And still thy shadow is thine own
  • 50 Even as of yore in Nineveh.
  • That day whereof we keep record,
  • When near thy city-gates the Lord
  • Sheltered his Jonah with a gourd,
  • This sun, (I said) here present, pour'd
  • Even thus this shadow that I see.
  • This shadow has been shed the same
  • From sun and moon,—from lamps which came
  • For prayer,—from fifteen days of flame,
  • The last, while smouldered to a name
  • 60 Sardanapalus' Nineveh.
Image of page 24 page: 24
  • Within thy shadow, haply, once
  • Sennacherib has knelt, whose sons
  • Smote him between the altar-stones:
  • Or pale Semiramis her zones
  • Of gold, her incense brought to thee,
  • In love for grace, in war for aid: . . . .
  • Ay, and who else? . . . . till 'neath thy shade
  • Within his trenches newly made
  • Last year the Christian knelt and pray'd—
  • 70 Not to thy strength—in Nineveh.*
  • Now, thou poor god, within this hall
  • Where the blank windows blind the wall
  • From pedestal to pedestal,
  • The kind of light shall on thee fall
  • Which London takes the day to be:
  • While school-foundations in the act
  • Of holiday, three files compact,
  • Shall learn to view thee as a fact
  • Connected with that zealous tract:
  • 80 “Rome,—Babylon and Nineveh.”
Transcribed Footnote (page 24):

* During the excavations, the Tiyari workmen held their services in the

shadow of the great bulls. ( Layard's “Nineveh,” ch. ix.)

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  • The day that Jonah bore abroad
  • To Nineveh the voice of God,
  • A brackish lake lay in his road,
  • Where erst Pride fixed her sure abode,
  • 130 As then in royal Nineveh.
  • The day when he, Pride's lord and Man's,
  • Showed all the kingdoms at a glance
  • To Him before whose countenance
  • The years recede, the years advance,
  • And said, Fall down and worship me:—
  • 'Mid all the pomp beneath that look,
  • Then stirred there, haply, some rebuke,
  • Where to the wind the Salt Pools shook,
  • And in those tracts, of life forsook,
  • 140 That knew thee not, O Nineveh!
  • Delicate harlot! On thy throne
  • Thou with a world beneath thee prone
  • In state for ages sat'st alone;
  • And needs were years and lustres flown
  • Ere strength of man could vanquish thee:
  • Whom even thy victor foes must bring,
  • Still royal, among maids that sing
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    Manuscript Addition: N117
    Editorial Description: Number written at upper left.
  • As with doves' voices, taboring
  • Upon their breasts, unto the King,—
  • 150 A kingly conquest, Nineveh!
  • . . . Here woke my thought. The wind's slow sway
  • Had waxed; and like the human play
  • Of scorn that smiling spreads away,
  • The sunshine shivered off the day:
  • The callous wind, it seemed to me,
  • Swept up the shadow from the ground:
  • And pale as whom the Fates astound,
  • The god forlorn stood winged and crown'd:
  • Within I knew the cry lay bound
  • 160 Of the dumb soul of Nineveh.
  • And as I turned, my sense half shut
  • Still saw the crowds of kerb and rut
  • Go past as marshalled to the strut
  • Of ranks in gypsum quaintly cut.
  • It seemed in one same pageantry
  • They followed forms which had been erst;
  • To pass, till on my sight should burst
  • That future of the best or worst
  • When some may question which was first,
  • 170 Of London or of Nineveh.
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Manuscript Addition: 26
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • For as that Bull-god once did stand
  • And watched the burial-clouds of sand,
  • Till these at last without a hand
  • Rose o'er his eyes, another land,
  • And blinded him with destiny:—
  • So may he stand again; till now,
  • In ships of unknown sail and prow,
  • Some tribe of the Australian plough
  • Bear him afar,—a relic now
  • 180 Of London, not of Nineveh!
  • Or it may chance indeed that when
  • Man's age is hoary among men,—
  • His centuries threescore and ten,—
  • His furthest childhood shall seem then
  • More clear than later times may be:
  • Who, finding in this desert place
  • This form, shall hold us for some race
  • That walked not in Christ's lowly ways,
  • But bowed its pride and vowed its praise
  • 190 Unto the God of Nineveh.
  • The smile rose first,—anon drew nigh
  • The thought: . .Those heavy wings spread high
  • Image of page 30 page: 30
  • So sure of flight, which do not fly;
  • That set gaze never on the sky;
  • Those scriptured flanks it cannot see;
  • Its crown, a brow-contracting load;
  • Its planted feet which trust the sod: . . .
  • (So grew the image as I trod:)
  • O Nineveh, was this thy God,—
  • 200 Thine also, mighty Nineveh?
Image of page 31 page: 31
Printer's Direction: change burden throughout
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer at upper right.
Manuscript Addition: 32
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • It was Lilith the wife of Adam:
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
    Added Text(Sing Eden Bower!)
  • Not a drop of her blood was human,
  • But she was made like a soft sweet woman.
  • Lilith stood on the skirts of Eden;
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
    Added Text(Alas the hour!
  • She was the first that thence was driven;
  • With her was hell and with Eve was heaven.
  • In the ear of the Snake said Lilith:—
  • 10 (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • “To thee I come when the rest is over;
  • A snake was I when thou wast my lover.
  • “I was the fairest snake in Eden:
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • By the earth's will, new form and feature
  • Made me a wife for the earth's new creature.
Image of page 32 page: 32
  • “Take me thou as I come from Adam:
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Once again shall my love subdue thee;
  • 20The past is past and I am come to thee.
  • “O but Adam was thrall to Lilith!
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • All the threads of my hair are golden,
  • And there in a net his heart was holden.
  • “O and Lilith was queen of Adam!
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • All the day and the night together
  • My breath could shake his soul like a feather.
  • “What great joys had Adam and Lilith!—
  • 30 (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Sweet close rings of the serpent's twining,
  • As heart in heart lay sighing and pining.
  • ‘What bright babes had Lilith and Adam!—
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Shapes that coiled in the woods and waters,
  • Glittering sons and radiant daughters.
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Manuscript Addition: 33
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
Sig. Rossetti. 3
Note: The name is on the lower left and the signature number on the lower right.
  • “O thou God, the Lord God of Eden!
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Say, was this fair body for no man,
  • 40That of Adam's flesh thou mak'st him a woman?
  • “O thou Snake, the King-snake of Eden!
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • God's strong will our necks are under,
  • But thou and I may cleave it in sunder.
  • “Help, sweet Snake, sweet lover of Lilith!
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • And let God learn how I loved and hated
  • Man in the image of God created.
  • “Help me once against Eve and Adam!
  • 50 (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Help me once for this one endeavour,
  • And then my love shall be thine for ever!
  • “Strong is God, the fell foe of Lilith:
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Nought in heaven or earth may affright him;
  • But join thou with me and we will smite him.
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  • “Strong is God, the great God of Eden:
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Over all He made He hath power;
  • 60But lend me thou thy shape for an hour!
  • “Lend thy shape for the love of Lilith!
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Look, my mouth and my cheek are ruddy,
  • And thou art cold, and fire is my body.
  • “Lend thy shape for the hate of Adam!
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • That he may wail my joy that forsook him,
  • And curse the day when the bride-sleep took him.
  • “Lend thy shape for the shame of Eden!
  • 70 (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Is not the foe-God weak as the foeman
  • When love grows hate in the heart of a woman?
  • “Would'st thou know the heart's hope of Lilith?
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Then bring thou close thine head till it glisten
  • Along my breast, and lip me and listen.
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Printer's Direction: change throughout
Editorial Description: DGR's note on the poem's refrains.
Manuscript Addition: 34
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
Sig. 3*
  • “Am I sweet, O sweet Snake of Eden?
  • (And O the bower and the hour!) Sing Eden Bower!
    Added TextAlas the hour!
  • Then ope thine ear to my warm mouth's cooing
  • 80And learn what deed remains for our doing.
  • “Thou didst hear when God said to Adam:—
  • (Eden bower's in flower.) (Sing Eden Bower!)
  • “Of all this wealth I have made thee warden;
  • Thou'rt free to eat of the trees of the garden:
  • “‘Only of one tree eat not in Eden;
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • All save one I give to thy freewill,—
  • The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.’
  • “O my love, come nearer to Lilith!
  • 90 (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • In thy sweet folds bind me and bend me,
  • And let me feel the shape thou shalt lend me!
  • “In thy shape I'll go back to Eden;
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • In these coils that Tree will I grapple,
  • And stretch this crowned head forth by the apple.
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  • “Lo, Eve bends to the breath of Lilith!
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • O how then shall my heart desire
  • 100All her blood as food to its fire!
  • “Lo, Eve bends to the words of Lilith!—
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • ‘Nay, this Tree's fruit,—why should ye hate it,
  • Or Death be born the day that ye ate it?
  • “‘Nay, but on that great day in Eden,
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • By the help that in this wise Tree is,
  • God knows well ye shall be as He is.’
  • “Then Eve shall eat and give unto Adam;
  • 110 (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • And then they both shall know they are naked,
  • And their hearts ache as my heart hath achèd.
  • “Aye, let them hide in the trees of Eden,
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • As in the cool of the day in the garden
  • God shall walk without pity or pardon.
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Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • “Hear, thou Eve, the man's heart in Adam!
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Of his brave words hark to the bravest:—
  • 120‘This the woman gave that thou gavest.’
  • “Hear Eve speak, yea list to her, Lilith!
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Feast thine heart with words that shall sate it—
  • ‘This the serpent gave and I ate it.’
  • “O proud Eve, cling close to thine Adam,
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Driven forth as the beasts of his naming
  • By the sword that for ever is flaming.
  • “Know, thy path is known unto Lilith!
  • 130 (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • While the blithe birds sang at thy wedding,
  • There her tears grew thorns for thy treading.
  • “O my love, thou Love-snake of Eden!
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • O to-day and the day to come after!
  • Loose me, love,—give breath to my laughter!
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  • “O bright Snake, the Death-worm of Adam!
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Wreathe thy neck with my hair's bright tether,
  • 140And wear my gold and thy gold together!
  • “On that day on the skirts of Eden,
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • In thy shape shall I glide back to thee,
  • And in my shape for an instant view thee.
  • “But when thou'rt thou and Lilith is Lilith,
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • In what bliss past hearing or seeing
  • Shall each one drink of the other's being!
  • “With cries of ‘Eve!’ and ‘Eden!’ and ‘Adam!’
  • 150 (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • How shall we mingle our love's caresses,
  • I in thy coils, and thou in my tresses!
  • “With those names, ye echoes of Eden,
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Fire shall cry from my heart that burneth,—
  • ‘Dust he is and to dust returneth!’
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Manuscript Addition: 36
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • “Yet to-day, thou master of Lilith,—
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Wrap me round in the form I'll borrow
  • 160And let me tell thee of sweet to-morrow.
  • “In the planted garden eastward in Eden,
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Where the river goes forth to water the garden,
  • The springs shall dry and the soil shall harden.
  • “Yea, where the bride-sleep fell upon Adam,
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • None shall hear when the storm-wind whistles
  • Through roses choked among thorns and thistles.
  • “Yea, beside the east-gate of Eden,
  • 170 (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Where God joined them and none might sever,
  • The sword turns this way and that for ever.
  • “What of Adam cast out of Eden?
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Lo! with care like a shadow shaken,
  • He tills the hard earth whence he was taken.
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  • “What of Eve too, cast out of Eden?
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • Nay, but she, the bride of God's giving,
  • 180Must yet be mother of all men living.
  • “Lo, God's grace, by the grace of Lilith!
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • To Eve's womb, from our sweet to-morrow,
  • God shall greatly multiply sorrow.
  • “Fold me fast, O God-snake of Eden!
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • What more prize than love to impel thee?
  • Grip and lip my limbs as I tell thee!
  • “Lo! two babes for Eve and for Adam!
  • 190 (And O the bower and the hour!)
  • Lo! sweet Snake, the travail and treasure,—
  • Two men-children born for their pleasure!
  • “The first is Cain and the second Abel:
  • (Eden bower's in flower.)
  • The soul of one shall be made thy brother,
  • And thy tongue shall lap the blood of the other.”
  • (And O the bower and the hour!)
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Manuscript Addition: 37
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • Mother of the Fair Delight,
  • Thou handmaid perfect in God's sight,
  • Now sitting fourth beside the Three,
  • Thyself a woman-Trinity,—
  • Being a daughter borne to God,
  • Mother of Christ from stall to rood,
  • And wife unto the Holy Ghost:—
  • Oh when our need is uttermost,
  • Think that to such as death may strike
  • 10Thou once wert sister sisterlike!
  • Thou headstone of humanity,
  • Groundstone of the great Mystery,
  • Fashioned like us, yet more than we!
  • Mind'st thou not (when June's heavy breath
    Image of page 42 page: 42
  • Warmed the long days in Nazareth,)
  • That eve thou didst go forth to give
  • Thy flowers some drink that they might live
  • One faint night more amid the sands?
  • Far off the trees were as pale wands
  • 20Against the fervid sky: the sea
  • Sighed further off eternally
  • As human sorrow sighs in sleep.
  • Then suddenly the awe grew deep,
  • As of a day to which all days
  • Were footsteps in God's secret ways:
  • Until a folding sense, like prayer,
  • Which is, as God is, everywhere,
  • Gathered about thee; and a voice
  • Spake to thee without any noise,
  • 30Being of the silence:—“Hail,” it said,
  • “Thou that art highly favourèd;
  • The Lord is with thee here and now;
  • Blessed among all women thou.”
  • Ah! knew'st thou of the end, when first
  • That Babe was on thy bosom nurs'd?—
  • Or when He tottered round thy knee
  • Did thy great sorrow dawn on thee?—
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    Manuscript Addition: 38
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • And through His boyhood, year by year
  • Eating with Him the Passover,
  • 40Didst thou discern confusedly
  • That holier sacrament, when He,
  • The bitter cup about to quaff,
  • Should break the bread and eat thereof?—
  • Or came not yet the knowledge, even
  • Till on some day forecast in Heaven
  • His feet passed through thy door to press
  • Upon His Father's business?—
  • Or still was God's high secret kept?
  • Nay, but I think the whisper crept
  • 50Like growth through childhood. Work and play,
  • Things common to the course of day,
  • Awed thee with meanings unfulfill'd;
  • And all through girlhood, something still'd
  • Thy senses like the birth of light,
  • When thou hast trimmed thy lamp at night
  • Or washed thy garments in the stream;
  • To whose white bed had come the dream
  • That He was thine and thou wast His
  • Who feeds among the field-lilies.
  • 60O solemn shadow of the end
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  • In that wise spirit long contain'd!
  • O awful end! and those unsaid
  • Long years when It was Finishèd!
  • Mind'st thou not (when the twilight gone
  • Left darkness in the house of John,)
  • Between the naked window-bars
  • That spacious vigil of the stars?—
  • For thou, a watcher even as they,
  • Wouldst rise from where throughout the day
  • 70Thou wroughtest raiment for His poor;
  • And, finding the fixed terms endure
  • Of day and night which never brought
  • Sounds of His coming chariot,
  • Wouldst lift through cloud-waste unexplor'd
  • Those eyes which said, “How long, O Lord?”
  • Then that disciple whom He loved,
  • Well heeding, haply would be moved
  • To ask thy blessing in His name;
  • And that one thought in both, the same
  • 80Though silent, then would clasp ye round
  • To weep together,—tears long bound,
  • Sick tears of patience, dumb and slow.
  • Yet, “Surely I come quickly,”—so
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    Manuscript Addition: 39
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • He said, from life and death gone home.
  • Amen: even so, Lord Jesus, come!
  • But oh! what human tongue can speak
  • That day when death was sent to break
  • From the tir'd spirit, like a veil,
  • Its covenant with Gabriel
  • 90Endured at length unto the end?
  • What human thought can apprehend
  • That mystery of motherhood
  • When thy Beloved at length renew'd
  • The sweet communion severèd,—
  • His left hand underneath thine head
  • And His right hand embracing thee?—
  • Lo! He was thine, and this is He!
  • Soul, is it Faith, or Love, or Hope . ,
  • That lets me see her standing up
  • 100Where the light of the Throne is bright?
  • Unto the left, unto the right,
  • The cherubim, arrayed succinct, conjoint,
  • Float inward to a golden point,
  • And from between the seraphim
  • The glory issues for a hymn.
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  • O Mary Mother, be not loth
  • To listen,—thou whom the stars clothe,
  • Who seëst and mayst not be seen!
  • Hear us at last, O Mary Queen!
  • 110Into our shadow bend thy face,
  • Bowing thee from the secret place,
  • O Mary Virgin, full of grace!
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Manuscript Addition: 40
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • “Who owns rules these lands?” the Pilgrim said.
  • “Stranger, Queen Blanchelys.”
  • “And who has thus harried them?” he said.
  • “It was Duke Luke did this:
  • God's ban be his!”
  • The Pilgrim said: “Where is your house?
  • I'll rest there, with your will.”
  • “You've but to climb these blackened boughs
  • And you'll see it over the hill,
  • 10 For it burns still.”
  • “Which road, to seek your Queen?” said he.
  • “Nay, nay, but with some wound
  • You'll fly back hither, it may be,
  • And by your blood i' the ground
  • My place be found.”
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  • “Friend, stay in peace. God keep your head,
  • And mine, where I will go;
  • For He is here and there,” he said.
  • He passed the hill-side, slow,
  • 20 And stood below.
  • The Queen sat idle by her loom:
  • She heard the arras stir,
  • And looked up sadly: through the room
  • The sweetness sickened her
  • Of musk and myrrh.
  • Her women, standing two and two,
  • In silence combed the fleece.
  • The pilgrim said, “Peace be with you,
  • Lady;” and bent his knees.
  • 30 She answered, “Peace.”
  • Her eyes were like the wave within;
  • Like water-reeds the poise
  • Of her soft body, dainty thin;
  • And like the water's noise
  • Her plaintive voice.
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Manuscript Addition: 41
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
Sig. Rossetti. 4
Note: The name is on the lower left and the signature number on the lower right.
  • For him, the stream had never well'd
  • In desert tracts malign
  • So sweet; nor had he ever felt
  • So faint in the sunshine
  • 40 Of Palestine.
  • Right so, he knew that he saw weep
  • Each night through every dream
  • The Queen's own face, confused in sleep
  • With visages supreme
  • Not known to him.
  • “Lady,” he said, “your lands lie burnt
  • And waste: to meet your foe
  • All fear: this I have seen and learnt.
  • Say that it shall be so,
  • 50 And I will go.”
  • She gazed at him. “Your cause is just,
  • For I have heard the same:”
  • He said: “God's strength shall be my trust.
  • Fall it to good or grame,
  • 'Tis in His name.”
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  • “Sir, you are thanked. My cause is dead.
  • Why should you toil to break
  • A grave, and fall therein?” she said.
  • He did not pause but spake:
  • 60 “For my vow's sake.”
  • “Can such vows be, Sir—to God's ear,
  • Not to God's will?” “My vow
  • Remains: God heard me there as here,”
  • He said with reverent brow,
  • “Both then and now.”
  • They gazed together, he and she,
  • The minute while he spoke;
  • And when he ceased, she suddenly
  • Looked round upon her folk
  • 70 As though she woke.
  • “Fight, Sir,” she said: “my prayers in pain
  • Shall be your fellowship.”
  • He whispered one among her train,—
  • “To-morrow bid her keep
  • This staff and scrip.”
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Manuscript Addition: 42
Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
Sig. 4*
  • She sent him a sharp sword, whose belt
  • About his body there
  • As sweet as her own arms he felt.
  • He kissed its blade, all bare,
  • 80 Instead of her.
  • She sent him a green banner wrought
  • With one white lily stem,
  • To bind his lance with when he fought.
  • He writ upon the same
  • And kissed her name.
  • She sent him a white shield, whereon
  • She bade that he should trace
  • His will. He blent fair hues that shone,
  • And in a golden space
  • 90 He kissed her face.
  • Born of the day that died, that eve
  • Now dying sank to rest;
  • As he, in likewise taking leave,
  • Once with a heaving breast
  • Looked to the west.
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  • And there the sunset skies unseal'd,
  • Like lands he never knew,
  • Beyond to-morrow's battle-field
  • Lay open out of view
  • 100 To ride into.
  • Next day till dark the women pray'd:
  • Nor any might know there
  • How the fight went: the Queen has bade
  • That there do come to her
  • No messenger.
Added Text
  • The Queen is pale, her maidens ail;
  • And to the organ-tones
  • They sing but faintly, who sang well
  • The matin-orisons,
  • 110 The lauds and nones.
  • Lo, Father, is thine ear inclin'd,
  • And hath thine angel pass'd?
  • For these thy watchers now are blind
  • With vigil, and at last
  • Dizzy with fast.
  • Weak now to them the voice o' the priest
  • As any trance affords;
  • And when each anthem failed and ceas'd,
  • It seemed that the last chords
  • 120 Still sang the words.
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Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • “Oh what is the light that shines so red?
  • 'Tis long since the sun set;”
  • Quoth the youngest to the eldest maid:
  • “'Twas dim but now, and yet
  • The light is great.”
  • Quoth the other: “'Tis our sight is dazed
  • That we see flame i' the air.”
  • But the Queen held her brows and gazed,
  • And said, “It is the glare
  • 130 Of torches there.”
  • “Oh what are the sounds that rise and spread?
  • All day it was so still;”
  • Quoth the youngest to the eldest maid;
  • “Unto the furthest hill
  • The air they fill.”
  • Quoth the other; “'Tis our sense is blurr'd
  • With all the chants gone by.”
  • But the Queen held her breath and heard,
  • And said, “It is the cry
  • 140 Of Victory.”
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  • The first of all the rout was sound,
  • The next were dust and flame,
  • And then the horses shook the ground:
  • And in the thick of them
  • 140 A still band came.
  • “Oh what do ye bring out of the fight,
  • Thus hid beneath these boughs?”
  • “Thy conquering guest returns to-night,
  • And yet shall not carouse,
  • Queen, in thy house.”
  • “Uncover ye his face,” she said.
  • “O changed in little space!”
  • She cried, “O pale that was so red!
  • O God, O God of grace!
  • 150 Cover his face.”
  • His sword was broken in his hand
  • Where he had kissed the blade.
  • “O soft steel that could not withstand!
  • O my hard heart unstayed,
  • That prayed and prayed!”
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Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • His bloodied banner crossed his mouth
  • Where he had kissed her name.
  • “O east, and west, and north, and south,
  • Fair flew my web, for shame,
  • To guide Death's aim!”
  • The tints were shredded from his shield
  • Where he had kissed her face.
  • “Oh, of all gifts that I could yield,
  • Death only keeps its place,
  • 170 My gift and grace!”
  • Then stepped a damsel to her side,
  • And spoke, and needs must weep:
  • “For his sake, lady, if he died,
  • He prayed of thee to keep
  • This staff and scrip.”
  • That night they hung above her bed,
  • Till morning wet with tears.
  • Year after year above her head
  • Her bed his token wears,
  • 180 Five years, ten years.
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  • That night the passion of her grief
  • Shook them as there they hung.
  • Each year the wind that shed the leaf
  • Shook them and in its tongue
  • 180 A message flung.
  • And once she woke with a clear mind
  • That letters writ to calm
  • Her soul lay in the scrip; to find
  • Only a torpid balm
  • And dust of palm.
  • They shook far off with palace sport
  • When joust and dance were rife;
  • And the hunt shook them from the court;
  • For hers, in peace or strife,
  • 190 Was a Queen's life.
  • A Queen's death now: as now they shake
  • To gusts in chapel dim,—
  • Hung where she sleeps, not seen to wake,
  • (Carved lovely white and slim),
  • With them by him.
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Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • Stand up to-day, still armed, with her,
  • Good knight, before His brow
  • Who then as now was here and there,
  • Who had in mind thy vow
  • Then even as now.
  • The lists are set in Heaven to-day,
  • The bright pavilions shine;
  • Fair hangs thy shield, and none gainsay;
  • The trumpets sound in sign
  • 210 That she is thine.
  • Not tithed with days' and years' decease
  • He pays thy wage He owed,
  • But with imperishable peace
  • Here in His own abode,
  • Thy jealous God.
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(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—
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    Manuscript Addition: 46
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
    Manuscript Addition: 145T
    Editorial Description: Number written at upper right.
  • 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,
  • 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: such might prove, I said,
  • 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,
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  • 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 and keep it for my sake,” I said.
  • Her neck unbent not, neither did her eyes
  • Move, nor her foot left beating of the sand;
  • Only she put it by from her and laughed.
  • Father, you hear my speech and not her laugh;
  • But God heard that. Will God remember all?
  • It was another laugh than the sweet sound
  • Which rose from her sweet childish heart, that day
  • 50Eleven years before, when first I found her
  • Alone upon the hill-side; and her curls
  • Shook down in the warm grass as she looked up
  • Out of her curls in my eyes bent to hers.
  • She might have served a painter to pourtray
  • That heavenly child which in the latter days
  • Shall walk between the lion and the lamb.
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  • I had been for nights in hiding, worn and sick
  • And hardly fed; and so her words at first
  • Seemed fitful like the talking of the trees
  • 60And voices in the air that knew my name.
  • And I remember that I sat me down
  • Upon the slope with her, and thought the world
  • Must be all over or had never been,
  • We seemed there so alone. And soon she told me
  • Her parents both were gone away from her.
  • I thought perhaps she meant that they had died;
  • But when I asked her this, she looked again
  • Into my face, and said that yestereve
  • They kissed her long, and wept and made her weep,
  • 70And gave her all the bread they had with them,
  • And then had gone together up the hill
  • Where we were sitting now, and had walked on
  • Into the great red light: “and so,” she said,
  • “I have come up here too; and when this evening
  • They step out of the light as they stepped in,
  • I shall be here to kiss them.” And she laughed.
  • Then I bethought me suddenly of the famine;
  • And how the church-steps throughout all the town,
  • When last I had been there a month ago,
  • Image of page 62 page: 62
  • 80Swarmed with starved folk; and how the bread was
  • weighed
  • By Austrians armed; and women that I knew
  • For wives and mothers walked the public street,
  • Saying aloud that if their husbands feared
  • To snatch the children's food, themselves would stay
  • Till they had earned it there. So then this child
  • Was piteous to me; for all told me then
  • Her parents must have left her to God's chance,
  • To man's or to the Church's charity,
  • Because of the great famine, rather than
  • 90To watch her growing thin between their knees.
  • With that, God took my mother's voice and spoke,
  • And sights and sounds came back and things long since,
  • And all my childhood found me on the hills;
  • And so I took her with me.
  • I was young,
  • Scarce man then, Father; but the cause which gave
  • The wounds I die of now had brought me then
  • Some wounds already; and I lived alone,
  • As any hiding hunted man must live.
  • It was no easy thing to keep a child
  • 100In safety; for herself it was not safe,
  • And doubled my own danger: but I knew
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  • That God would help me.
  • Yet a little while
  • Pardon me, Father, if I pause. I think
  • I have been speaking to you of some matters
  • There was no need to speak of, have I not?
  • You do not know how clearly those things stood
  • Within my mind, which I have spoken of,
  • Nor how they strove for utterance. Life all past
  • Is like the sky when the sun sets in it,
  • 110Clearest where furthest off.
  • I told you how
  • She scorned my parting gift and laughed. And yet
  • A woman's laugh's another thing sometimes:
  • I think they laugh in Heaven. I know last night
  • I dreamed I saw into the garden of God,
  • Where women walked whose painted images
  • I have seen with candles round them in the church.
  • They bent this way and that, one to another,
  • Playing: and over the long golden hair
  • Of each there floated like a ring of fire
  • 120Which when she stooped stooped with her, and when
  • she rose
  • Rose with her. Then a breeze flew in among them,
  • As if a window had been opened in heaven
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  • For God to give his blessing from, before
  • This world of ours should set; (for in my dream
  • I thought our world was setting, and the sun
  • Flared, a spent taper;) and beneath that gust
  • The rings of light quivered like forest-leaves.
  • Then all the blessed maidens who were there
  • Stood up together, as it were a voice
  • 130That called them; and they threw their tresses back,
  • And smote their palms, and all laughed up at once,
  • For the strong heavenly joy they had in them
  • To hear God bless the world. Wherewith I woke:
  • And looking round, I saw as usual
  • That she was standing there with her long locks
  • Pressed to her side; and her laugh ended theirs.
  • For always when I see her now, she laughs.
  • And yet her childish laughter haunts me too,
  • The life of this dead terror; as in days
  • 140When she, a child, dwelt with me. I must tell
  • Something of those days yet before the end.
  • I brought her from the city—one such day
  • When she was still a merry loving child,—
  • The earliest gift I mind my giving her;
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  • A little image of a flying Love
  • Made of our coloured glass-ware, in his hands
  • A dart of gilded metal and a torch.
  • And him she kissed and me, and fain would know
  • Why were his poor eyes blindfold, why the wings
  • 150And why the arrow. What I knew I told
  • Of Venus and of Cupid,—strange old tales.
  • And when she heard that he could rule the loves
  • Of men and women, still she shook her head
  • And wondered; and, “Nay, nay,” she murmured still,
  • “So strong, and he a younger child than I!”
  • And then she'd have me fix him on the wall
  • Fronting her little bed; and then again
  • She needs must fix him there herself, because
  • I gave him to her and she loved him so,
  • 160And he should make her love me better yet,
  • If women loved the more, the more they grew.
  • But 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,
  • Image of page 66 page: 66
  • It slipped and all its fragments strewed the ground:
  • 170And as it fell she screamed, for in her hand
  • The dart had entered deeply and drawn blood.
  • And 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.
  • 180 Another later thing comes back to me.
  • 'Twas in those hardest foulest days of all,
  • When 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
  • 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
  • 190Keep all through winter when the sea draws in.
  • The first I heard of it was a chance shot
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    Sig. 5*
  • 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
  • 200So hot all day where the smoke shut us in.
  • For now, being always with her, the first love
  • I 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
  • 210Her sweet head reach from that low seat of hers
  • So high as to be laid upon my heart,
  • I 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
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  • Under her cheek, I thought she could not choose
  • 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
  • 220And told her so, she gazed at me with eyes
  • As of the sky and sea on a grey day,
  • And 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
  • 230Made to bring death to life,—the underlip
  • Sucked in, as if it strove to kiss itself.
  • Her face was ever pearly 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 dimness of the cloud
  • Where the moon's gaze is set in eddying gloom.
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  • Her body bore her neck as the tree's stem
  • Bears the top branch; and as the branch sustains
  • The flower of the year's pride, her high neck bore
  • 240That face made wonderful with night and day.
  • Her voice was swift, yet ever the last words
  • Fell lingeringly; and rounded finger-tips
  • She had, that clung a little where they touched
  • And then were gone o' the instant. Her great eyes,
  • 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
  • 250Between the water and the willow-leaves,
  • And the shade quivers till he wins the light.
  • 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
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  • Which I was proud to yield her, as my father
  • 260Had yielded his. And this had come to be
  • A game to play, a love to clasp, a hate
  • To 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
  • 270That once when I was thus and she still kept
  • Leaping about the place and laughing, I
  • Did almost chide her; whereupon she knelt
  • And putting her two hands into my breast
  • Sang me a song. Are these tears in my eyes?
  • 'Tis long since I have wept for anything.
  • I thought that song forgotten out of mind,
  • And now, just as I spoke of it, it came
  • All back. It is but a rude thing, ill rhymed,
  • Such as a blind man chaunts and his dog hears
  • 280Holding the platter, when the children run
  • To merrier sport and leave him. Thus it goes:—
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  • La bella donna*
  • Piangendo disse:
  • “Come son fisse
  • Le stelle in cielo!
  • Quel fiato anelo
  • Dello stanco sole,
  • Quanto m' assonna!
  • E la luna, macchiata

Transcribed Footnote (page 71):
Note: Pagenote formatted in two columns at bottom of page.
  • * She wept, sweet lady,
  • And said in weeping:
  • “What spell is keeping
  • The stars so steady?
  • Why does the power
  • Of the sun's noon-hour
  • To sleep so move me?
  • And the moon in heaven,
  • Stained where she passes
  • 10 As a worn-out glass is,—
  • Wearily driven,
  • Why walks she above me?
  • “Stars, moon, and sun too,
  • I'm tired of either
  • And all together!
  • Whom speak they unto
  • That I should listen?
  • For very surely,
  • Though my arms and shoulders
  • 20 Dazzle beholders,
  • And my eyes glisten,
  • All's nothing purely!
  • What are words said for
  • At all about them,
  • If he they are made for
  • Can do without them?”
  • She laughed, sweet lady,
  • And said in laughing:
  • “His hand clings half in

  • Column Break

  • 30 My own already!
  • Oh! do you love me?
  • Oh! speak of passion
  • In no new fashion,
  • No loud inveighings,
  • But the old sayings
  • You once said of me.
  • “You said: ‘As summer,
  • Through boughs grown brittle,
  • Comes back a little
  • 40 Ere frosts benumb her,—
  • So bring'st thou to me
  • All leaves and flowers,
  • Though autumn's gloomy
  • To-day in the bowers.’
  • “Oh! does he love me,
  • When my voice teaches
  • The very speeches
  • He then spoke of me?
  • Alas! what flavour
  • 50 Still with me lingers?”
  • (But she laughed as my kisses
  • Glowed in her fingers
  • With love's old blisses.)
  • “Oh! what one favour
  • Remains to woo him,
  • Whose whole poor savour
  • Belongs not to him?”
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  • 290Come uno specchio
  • Logoro e vecchio,—
  • Faccia affannata,
  • Che cosa vuole?
  • “Chè stelle, luna, e sole,
  • Ciascun m' annoja
  • E m' annojano insieme;
  • Non me ne preme
  • Nè ci prendo gioja.
  • E veramente,
  • 300Che le spalle sien franche
  • E le braccia bianche
  • E il seno caldo e tondo,
  • Non mi fa niente.
  • Chè cosa al mondo
  • Posso più far di questi
  • Se non piacciono a te, come dicesti?”
  • La donna rise
  • E riprese ridendo:—
  • “Questa mano che prendo
  • 310E dunque mia?
  • Tu m' ami dunque?
  • Dimmelo ancora,
  • Non in modo qualunque,
  • Ma le parole
  • Belle e precise
  • Che dicesti pria.
  • Siccome suole
  • La state talora
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  • (Dicesti) un qualche istante
  • 320 Tornare innanzi inverno,
  • Così tu fai ch' io scerno
  • Le foglie tutte quante,
  • Ben ch' io certo tenessi
  • Per passato l' autunno.
  • “Eccolo il mio alunno!
  • Io debbo insegnargli
  • Quei cari detti istessi
  • Ch' ei mi disse una volta!
  • Oimè! Che cosa dargli,”
  • 330(Ma ridea piano piano
  • Dei baci in sulla mano,)
  • “Ch' ei non m'abbia da lungo tempo tolta?”
  • That I should sing upon this bed!—with you
  • To listen, and such words still left to say!
  • Yet was it I that sang? The voice seemed hers,
  • As on the very day she sang to me;
  • When, having done, she took out of my hand
  • Something that I had played with all the while
  • And laid it down beyond my reach; and so
  • 340Turning my face round till it fronted hers,—
  • “Weeping or laughing, which was best?” she said.
  • But these are foolish tales. How should I show
  • The heart that glowed then with love's heat, each day
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  • More and more brightly?—when for long years now
  • The very flame that flew about the heart,
  • And gave it fiery wings, has come to be
  • The lapping blaze of hell's environment
  • Whose tongues all bid the molten heart despair.
  • Yet one more thing comes back on me to-night
  • 350Which I may tell you: for it bore my soul
  • Dread firstlings of the brood that rend it now.
  • It chanced that in our last year's wanderings
  • We dwelt at Monza, far away from home,
  • If home we had: and in the Duomo there
  • I sometimes entered with her when she prayed.
  • An image of Our Lady stands there, wrought
  • In marble by some great Italian hand
  • In the great days when she and Italy
  • Sat on one throne together: and to her
  • 360And to none else my loved one told her heart.
  • She was a woman then; and as she knelt,—
  • Her sweet brow in the sweet brow's shadow there,—
  • They seemed two kindred forms whereby our land
  • (Whose work still serves the world for miracle)
  • Made manifest herself in womanhood.
  • Father, the day I speak of was the first
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  • For weeks that I had borne her company
  • Into the Duomo; and those weeks had been
  • Much troubled, for then first the glimpses came
  • 370Of some impenetrable restlessness
  • Growing in her to make her changed and cold.
  • And as we entered there that day, I bent
  • My eyes on the fair Image, and I said
  • Within my heart, “Oh turn her heart to me!”
  • And so I left her to her prayers, and went
  • To gaze upon the pride of Monza's shrine,
  • Where in the sacristy the light still falls
  • Upon the Iron Crown of Italy,
  • On whose crowned heads the day has closed, nor yet
  • 380The daybreak gilds another head to crown.
  • But coming back, I wondered when I saw
  • That the sweet Lady of her prayers now stood
  • Alone without her; until further off,
  • Before some new Madonna gaily decked,
  • Tinselled and gewgawed, a slight German toy,
  • I saw her kneel, still praying. At my step
  • She rose, and side by side we left the church.
  • I was much moved, and sharply questioned her
  • Of her transferred devotion; but she seemed
  • 390Stubborn and heedless; till she lightly laughed
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  • And said: “The old Madonna? Aye indeed,
  • She had my old thoughts,—this one has my new.”
  • Then silent to the soul I held my way:
  • And from the fountains of the public place
  • Unto the pigeon-haunted pinnacles,
  • Bright wings and water winnowed the bright air;
  • And stately with her laugh's subsiding smile
  • She went, with clear-swayed waist and towering neck
  • And hands held light before her; and the face
  • 400Which long had made a day in my life's night
  • Was night in day to me; as all men's eyes
  • Turned on her beauty, and she seemed to tread
  • Beyond my heart to the world made for her.
  • Ah there! my wounds will snatch my sense again:
  • The pain comes billowing on like a full cloud
  • Of thunder, and the flash that breaks from it
  • Leaves my brain burning. That's the wound he gave,
  • The Austrian whose white coat I still made match
  • With his white face, only the two were grew red
  • 410As suits his trade. The devil makes them wear
  • White for a livery, that the blood may show
  • Braver that brings them to him. So he looks
  • Sheer o'er the field and knows his own at once.
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  • Give me a draught of water in that cup;
  • My voice feels thick; perhaps you do not hear;
  • But you must hear. If you mistake my words
  • And so absolve me, I am sure the blessing
  • Will burn my soul. If you mistake my words
  • And so absolve me, Father, the great sin
  • 420Is yours, not mine: mark this: your soul shall burn
  • With mine for it. I have seen pictures where
  • Souls burned with Latin shriekings in their mouths:
  • Shall my end be as theirs? Nay, but I know
  • 'Tis you shall shriek in Latin. Some bell rings,
  • Rings through my brain: it strikes the hour in hell.
  • You see I cannot, Father; I have tried,
  • But cannot, as you see. These twenty times
  • Beginning, I have come to the same point
  • And stopped. Beyond, there are but broken words
  • 430Which will not let you understand my tale.
  • 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,
  • Image of page 78 page: 78
  • I heard the blood between her fingers hiss;
  • So that I sat up in my bed and screamed
  • Once and again; and once to once, she laughed.
  • 440Look 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,
  • How shall I make you know? You have not known
  • 450The 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
  • In every corner of myself I sought
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  • To find what service failed her; and no less
  • Than in the good time past, there all was hers.
  • 460What 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.
  • How could you bear it? Would you not cry out,
  • 470Among 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
  • When to my prayers at last one sight of her
  • 480Was granted, and I looked on heaven made pale
  • With scorn, and heard heaven mock me in that laugh.
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  • 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
  • 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,
  • Your broken love!”
  • My Father, have I not
  • 490Yet told you the last things of that last day
  • On which I went to meet her by the sea?
  • O God, O God! but I must tell you all.
  • Midway 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
  • For safety. A poor painted mountebank
  • 500Was playing tricks 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
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    Sig. Rossetti. 6
  • 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
  • For half an hour. The spies came once and looked;
  • 510And 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 where a brown-shouldered harlot leaned
  • Half through a tavern window thick with vine.
  • Some man had come behind her in the room
  • And caught her by her arms, and she had turned
  • With that coarse empty laugh on him, as now
  • He munched her neck with kisses, while the vine
  • Crawled in her back.
  • And three hours afterwards,
  • 520When 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—)
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  • 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,
  • And bade her keep it for my sake that loved her,
  • 530And 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 eclipse, that she
  • Or I or all things bled or burned to death.
  • And then I found her laid against my feet
  • And knew that I had stabbed her, and saw still
  • 540Her look in falling. For she took the knife
  • Deep in her heart, even as I bade her then,
  • And fell; and her stiff bodice 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
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    Sig. 6*
  • The little hilt of horn and pearl,—even such
  • A dagger as our women of the coast
  • Twist in their garters.
  • Father, I have done:
  • 550And from her side now she unwinds the thick
  • Dark hair; all round her side it is wet through,
  • But , like the s tand 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 steel to God.
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  • ‘Yea, thou shalt learn how salt his food who fares
  • Upon another's bread,—how steep his path
  • Who treadeth up and down another's stairs.’
( Div. Com. Parad. XVII.)
  • ‘Behold, even I, even I am Beatrice.’
( Div. Com. Purg. XXX.)
  • Of Florence and of Beatrice
  • Servant and singer from of old,
  • O'er Dante's heart in youth had toll'd
  • The knell that gave his Lady peace;
  • And now in manhood flew the dart
  • Wherewith his City pierced his heart.
  • Yet if his Lady's home above
  • Was Heaven, on earth she filled his soul;
  • And if his City held control
  • 10To cast the body forth to rove,
  • The soul could soar from earth's vain throng,
  • And Heaven and Hell fulfil the song.
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  • Follow his feet's appointed way;—
  • But little light we find that clears
  • The darkness of the exiled years.
  • Follow his spirit's journey:—nay,
  • What fires are blent, what winds are blown
  • On paths his feet may tread alone?
  • Yet of the twofold life he led
  • 20 In chainless thought and fettered will
  • Some glimpses reach us,—somewhat still
  • Of the steep stairs and bitter bread,—
  • Of the soul's quest whose stern avow
  • For years had made him haggard now.
  • Alas! the Sacred Song whereto
  • Both heaven and earth had set their hand
  • Not only at Fame's gate did stand
  • Knocking to claim the passage through,
  • But toiled to ope that heavier door
  • 30 Which Florence shut for evermore.
  • Shall not his birth's baptismal Town
  • One last high presage yet fulfil,
  • And at that font in Florence still
  • Image of page 86 page: 86
  • His forehead take the laurel-crown?
  • O God! or shall dead souls deny
  • The undying soul its prophecy?
  • Aye, 'tis their hour. Not yet forgot
  • The bitter words he spoke that day
  • When for some great charge far away
  • 40Her rulers his acceptance sought.
  • “And if I go, who stays?”—so rose
  • His scorn:—“and if I stay, who goes?”
  • “Lo! thou art gone now, and we stay:”
  • (The curled lips mutter): “and no star
  • Is from thy mortal path so far
  • As streets where childhood knew the way.
  • To Heaven and Hell thy feet may win,
  • But thine own house they come not in.”
  • Therefore, the loftier rose the song
  • 50 To touch the secret things of God,
  • The deeper pierced the hate that trod
  • On base men's track who wrought the wrong;
  • Till the soul's effluence came to be
  • Its own exceeding agony.
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  • Arriving only to depart,
  • From court to court, from land to land,
  • Like flame within the naked hand
  • His body bore his burning heart
  • That still on Florence strove to bring
  • 60 God's fire for a burnt offering.
  • Even such was Dante's mood, when now,
  • Mocked for long years with Fortune's sport,
  • He dwelt at yet another court,
  • There where Verona's knee did bow
  • And her voice hailed with all acclaim
  • Can Grande della Scala's name.
  • As that lord's kingly guest awhile
  • His life we follow; through the days
  • Which walked in exile's barren ways,—
  • 70The nights which still beneath one smile
  • Heard through all spheres one song increase,—
  • “Even I, even I am Beatrice.”
  • At Can La Scala's court, no doubt,
  • Due reverence did his steps attend;
  • The ushers on his path would bend
  • Image of page 88 page: 88
  • At ingoing as at going out;
  • The penmen waited on his call
  • At council-board, the grooms in hall.
  • And pages hushed their laughter down,
  • 80 And gay squires stilled the merry stir,
  • When he passed up the dais-chamber
  • With set brows lordlier than a frown;
  • And tire-maids hidden among these
  • Drew close their loosened bodices.
  • Perhaps the priests, (exact to span
  • All God's circumference,) if at whiles
  • They found him wandering in their aisles,
  • Grudged ghostly greeting to the man
  • By whom, though not of ghostly guild,
  • 90 With Heaven and Hell men's hearts were fill'd.
  • And the court-poets (he, forsooth,
  • A whole world's poet strayed to court!)
  • Had for his scorn their hate's retort.
  • He'd meet them flushed with easy youth,
  • Hot on their errands. Like noon-flies
  • They vexed him in the ears and eyes.
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  • But at this court, peace still must wrench
  • Her chaplet from the teeth of war:
  • By day they held high watch afar,
  • 100At night they cried across the trench;
  • And still, in Dante's path, the fierce
  • Gaunt soldiers wrangled o'er their spears.
  • But vain seemed all the strength to him,
  • As golden convoys sunk at sea
  • Whose wealth might root out penury:
  • Because it was not, limb with limb,
  • Knit like his heart-strings round the wall
  • Of Florence, that ill pride might fall.
  • Yet in the tiltyard, when the dust
  • 110 Cleared from the sundered press of knights
  • Ere yet again it swoops and smites,
  • He almost deemed his longing must
  • Find force to wield that multitude
  • And hurl that strength the way he would.
  • How should he move them,—fame and gain
  • On all hands calling them at strife?
  • He still might find but his one life
  • Image of page 90 page: 90
  • To give, by Florence counted vain;
  • One heart the false hearts made her doubt,
  • 120 One voice she heard once and cast out.
  • Oh! if his Florence could but come,
  • A lily-sceptred damsel fair,
  • As her own Giotto painted her
  • On many shields and gates at home,—
  • A lady crowned, at a soft pace
  • Riding the lists round to the dais:
  • Till where Can Grande rules the lists,
  • As young as Truth, as calm as Force,
  • She draws her rein now, while her horse
  • 130Bows at the turn of the white wrists;
  • And when each knight within his stall
  • Gives ear, she speaks and tells them all:
  • All the foul tale,—truth sworn untrue
  • And falsehood's triumph. All the tale?
  • Great God! and must she not prevail
  • To fire them ere they heard it through,—
  • And hand achieve ere heart could rest
  • That high adventure of her quest?
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  • How would his Florence lead them forth,
  • 140 Her bridle ringing as she went;
  • And at the last within her tent,
  • 'Neath golden lilies worship-worth,
  • How queenly would she bend the while
  • And thank the victors with her smile!
  • Also her lips should turn his way
  • And murmur: “O thou tried and true,
  • With whom I wept the long years through!
  • What shall it profit if I say,
  • Thee I remember? Nay, through thee
  • 150 All ages shall remember me.”
  • Peace, Dante, peace! The task is long,
  • The time wears short to compass it.
  • Within thine heart such hopes may flit
  • And find a voice in deathless song:
  • But lo! as children of man's earth,
  • Those hopes are dead before their birth.
  • Fame tells us that Verona's court
  • Was a fair place. The feet might still
  • Wander for ever at their will
  • Image of page 92 page: 92
  • 160In many ways of sweet resort;
  • And still in many a heart around
  • The Poet's name due honour found.
  • Watch we his steps. He comes upon
  • The women at their palm-playing.
  • The conduits round the gardens sing
  • And meet in scoops of milk-white stone,
  • Where wearied damsels rest and hold
  • Their hands in the wet spurt of gold.
  • One of whom, knowing well that he,
  • 170 By some found stern, was mild with them,
  • Would run and pluck his garment's hem,
  • Saying, “Messer Dante, pardon me,”—
  • Praying that they might hear the song
  • Which first of all he made, when young.
  • “Donne che avete”* . . . Thereunto
  • Thus would he murmur, having first
  • Drawn near the fountain, while she nurs'd
  • Transcribed Footnote (page 92):

    *“Donne che avete intelletto d'amore:”—the first canzone of the “Vita Nuova.”

    Image of page 93 page: 93
    Manuscript Addition: 67
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  • His hand against her side: a few
  • Sweet words, and scarcely those, half said:
  • 180 Then turned, and changed, and bowed his head.
  • For then the voice said in his heart,
  • “Even I, even I am Beatrice;”
  • And his whole life would yearn to cease:
  • Till having reached his room, apart
  • Beyond vast lengths of palace-floor,
  • He drew the arras round his door.
  • At such times, Dante, thou hast set
  • Thy forehead to the painted pane
  • Full oft, I know; and if the rain
  • 190Smote it outside, her fingers met
  • Thy brow; and if the sun fell there,
  • Her breath was on thy face and hair.
  • Then, weeping, I think certainly
  • Thou hast beheld, past sight of eyne,—
  • Within another room of thine
  • Where now thy body may not be
  • But where in thought thou still remain'st,—
  • A window often wept against:
Image of page 94 page: 94
  • The window thou, a youth, hast sought,
  • 200 Flushed in the limpid eventime,
  • Ending with daylight the day's rhyme
  • Of her; where oftenwhiles her thought
  • Held thee—the lamp untrimmed to write—
  • In joy through the blue lapse of night.
  • At Can La Scala's court, no doubt,
  • Guests seldom wept. It was brave sport,
  • No doubt, at Can La Scala's court,
  • Within the palace and without;
  • Where music, set to madrigals,
  • 210 Loitered all day through groves and halls.
  • Because Can Grande of his life
  • Had not had six-and-twenty years
  • As yet. And when the chroniclers
  • Tell you of that Vicenza strife
  • And of strifes elsewhere,—you must not
  • Conceive for church-sooth he had got
  • Just nothing in his wits but war:
  • Though doubtless 'twas the young man's joy
  • (Grown with his growth from a mere boy,)
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Sig. 7*
  • Then smiled Can Grande to the rest:—
  • “Our Dante's tuneful mouth indeed
  • Lacks not the gift on flesh to feed!”
  • “Fair host of mine,” replied the guest,
  • “So many bones you'd not descry
  • If so it chanced the dog were I.”*
  • But wherefore should we turn the grout
  • In a drained cup, or be at strife
  • From the worn garment of a life
  • 310To rip the twisted ravel out?
  • Good needs expounding; but of ill
  • Each hath enough to guess his fill.
  • They named him Justicer-at-Law:
  • Each month to bear the tale in mind
  • Of hues a wench might wear unfin'd
  • And of the load an ox might draw;
  • To cavil in the weight of bread
  • And to see purse-thieves gibbeted.
Transcribed Footnote (page 99):

* “ Messere, voi non vedreste tant 'ossa se cane io fossi. ” The point of

the reproach is difficult to render, depending as it does on the literal meaning

of the name Cane.

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  • And when his spirit wove the spell
  • 320 (From under even to over-noon
  • In converse with itself alone,)
  • As high as Heaven, as low as Hell,—
  • He would be summoned and must go:
  • For had not Gian stabbed Giacomo?
  • Therefore the bread he had to eat
  • Seemed brackish, less like corn than tares;
  • And the rush-strown accustomed stairs
  • Each day were steeper to his feet;
  • And when the night-vigil was done,
  • 330 His brows would ache to feel the sun.
  • Nevertheless, when from his kin
  • There came the tidings how at last
  • In Florence a decree was pass'd
  • Whereby all banished folk might win
  • Free pardon, so a fine were paid
  • And act of public penance made,—
  • This Dante writ in answer thus,
  • Words such as these: “That clearly they
  • In Florence must not have to say,—
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    Manuscript Addition: 71
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  • 340The man abode aloof from us
  • Nigh fifteen years, yet lastly skulk'd
  • Hither to candleshrift and mulct.
  • “That he was one the Heavens forbid
  • To traffic in God's justice sold
  • By market-weight of earthly gold,
  • Or to bow down over the lid
  • Of steaming censers, and so be
  • Made clean of manhood's obloquy.
  • “That since no gate led, by God's will,
  • 350 To Florence, but the one whereat
  • The priests and money-changers sat,
  • He still would wander; for that still,
  • Even through the body's prison-bars,
  • His soul possessed the sun and stars.”
  • Such were his words. It is indeed
  • For ever well our singers should
  • Utter good words and know them good
  • Not through song only; with close heed
  • Lest, having spent for the work's sake
  • 360 Six days, the man be left to make.
Image of page 102 page: 102
  • Months o'er Verona, till the feast
  • Was come for Florence the Free Town:
  • And at the shrine of Baptist John
  • The exiles, girt with many a priest
  • And carrying candles as they went,
  • Were held to mercy of the saint.
  • On the high seats in sober state,—
  • Gold neck-chains range o'er range below
  • Gold screen-work where the lilies grow,—
  • 370The Heads of the Republic sate,
  • Marking the humbled face go by
  • Each one of his house-enemy.
  • And as each proscript rose and stood
  • From kneeling in the ashen dust
  • On the shrine-steps, some magnate thrust
  • A beard into the velvet hood
  • Of his front colleague's gown, to see
  • The cinders stuck in the bare knee.
  • Tosinghi passed, Manelli passed,
  • 380 Rinucci passed, each in his place;
  • But not an Alighieri's face
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    Manuscript Addition: 72
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  • Went by that day from first to last
  • In the Republic's triumph; nor
  • A foot came home to Dante's door.
  • (Respublica—a public thing:
  • A shameful shameless prostitute,
  • Whose lust with one lord may not suit,
  • So takes by turns its revelling
  • A night with each, till each at morn
  • 390 Is stripped and beaten forth forlorn,
  • And leaves her, cursing her. If she,
  • Indeed, have not some spice-draught, hid
  • In scent under a silver lid,
  • To drench his open throat with—he
  • Once hard asleep; and thrust him not
  • At dawn beneath the boards stairs to rot. )
Added Text
  • Such this Republic!—not the Maid
  • He yearned for; she who yet should stand
  • With Heaven's accepted hand in hand,
  • 400 Invulnerable and unbetray'd:
  • To whom, even as to God, should be
  • Obeisance one with Liberty.)
  • Years filled out their twelve moons, and ceased
  • One in another; and alway
  • There were the whole twelve hours each day
  • And each night as the years increased;
  • And rising moon and setting sun
  • Beheld that Dante's work was done.
Image of page 104 page: 104
  • What of his work for Florence? Well
  • 410 It was, he knew, and well must be.
  • Yet evermore her hate's decree
  • Dwelt in his thought intolerable:—
  • His body to be burned,*—his soul
  • To beat its wings at hope's vain goal.
  • What of his work for Beatrice?
  • Now well-nigh was the third song writ,—
  • The stars a third time sealing it
  • With sudden music of pure peace:
  • For echoing thrice the threefold song,
  • 420 The unnumbered stars the tone prolong.**
  • Each hour, as then the Vision pass'd,
  • He heard the utter harmony
  • Of the nine trembling spheres, till she
  • Bowed her eyes towards him in the last,
  • So that all ended with her eyes,
  • Hell, Purgatory, Paradise.
Transcribed Footnote (page 104):

* Such was the last sentence passed by Florence against Dante, as a

recalcitrant exile.

Transcribed Footnote (page 104):

** “E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.” Inferno.

“Puro e disposto a salire alle stelle.” Purgatorio.

“L'amor che muove il sole e l'altre stelle.” Paradiso.

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  • “It is my trust, as the years fall,
  • To write more worthily of her
  • Who now, being made God's minister,
  • 430Looks on His visage and knows all.”
  • Such was the hope that love did blend
  • With grief's slow fires, to make an end
  • Of the “New Life,” his youth's dear book:
  • Adding thereunto: “In such trust
  • I labour, and believe I must
  • Accomplish this which my soul took
  • In charge, if God, my Lord and hers,
  • Leave my life with me a few years.”
  • The trust which he had borne in youth
  • 440 Was all at length accomplished. He
  • At length had written worthily—
  • Yea even of her; no rhymes uncouth
  • 'Twixt tongue and tongue; but by God's aid
  • The first words Italy had said.
  • Ah! haply now the heavenly guide
  • Was not the last form seen by him:
  • But there that Beatrice stood slim
  • And bowed in passing at his side,
  • Image of page 106 page: 106
  • For whom in youth his heart made moan
  • 450 Then when the city sat alone.*
  • Clearly herself; the same whom he
  • Met, not past girlhood, in the street,
  • Low-bosomed and with hidden feet;
  • And then as woman perfectly,
  • In years that followed, many an once,—
  • And now at last among the suns
  • In that high vision. But indeed
  • It may be memory did might recall
  • Last to him then the first of all,—
  • 460The child his boyhood bore in heed
  • Nine years. At length the voice brought peace,—
  • “Even I, even I am Beatrice.”
  • All this, being there, we had not seen.
  • Seen only was the shadow wrought
  • On the strong features bound in thought;
  • The vagueness gaining gait and mien;
  • The white streaks gathering clear to view
  • In the burnt beard the women knew.
Transcribed Footnote (page 106):

* “ Quomodo sedet sola civitas!”—the words quoted by Dante in the

“Vita Nuova” when he speaks of the death of Beatrice.

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Manuscript Addition: 73b
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  • For a tale tells that on his track,
  • 470 As through Verona's streets he went,
  • This saying certain women sent:—
  • “Lo, he that strolls to Hell and back
  • At will! Behold him, how Hell's reek
  • Has crisped his beard and singed his cheek.”
  • “Whereat” (Boccaccio's words) “he smil'd
  • For pride in fame.” It might be so:
  • Nevertheless we cannot know
  • If haply he were not beguil'd
  • To bitterer mirth, who scarce could tell
  • 480 If he indeed were back from Hell.
  • So the day came, after a space,
  • When Dante felt assured that there
  • The sunshine must lie sicklier
  • Even than in any other place,
  • Save only Florence. When that day
  • Had come, he rose and went his way.
  • He went and turned not. From his shoes
  • It may be that he shook the dust,
  • As every righteous dealer must
  • Image of page 108 page: 108
  • 490Once and again ere life can close:
  • And unaccomplished destiny
  • Struck cold his forehead, it may be.
  • No book keeps record how the Prince
  • Sunned himself out of Dante's reach,
  • Nor how the Jester stank in speech;
  • While courtiers, used to smile and wince,
  • Poets and harlots, all the throng,
  • Let loose their scandal and their song.
  • No book keeps record if the seat
  • 500 Which Dante held at his host's board
  • Were sat in next by clerk or lord,—
  • If leman lolled with dainty feet
  • At ease, or hostage brooded there,
  • Or priest lacked silence for his prayer.
  • Eat and wash hands, Can Grande;—scarce
  • We know their deeds now: hands which fed
  • Our Dante with that bitter bread;
  • And thou the watch-dog of those stairs
  • Which, of all paths his feet knew well,
  • 510 Were steeper found than Heaven or Hell.
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“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 upon my knee to-night
  • Rests for a while, as if grown light
  • With all our dances and the sound
  • To which the wild tunes spun you round:
  • Fair Jenny mine, the thoughtless queen
  • Of kisses which the blush between
  • Could hardly make much daintier;
  • 10Whose eyes are as blue skies, whose hair
  • Is countless gold incomparable:
  • Fresh flower, scarce touched with signs that tell
  • Of Love's exuberant hotbed:—Nay,
  • Poor flower left torn since yesterday
  • Until to-morrow leave you bare;
  • Poor handful of bright spring-water
  • Flung in the whirlpool's shrieking face;
  • Image of page 110 page: 110
  • Poor shameful Jenny, full of grace
  • Thus with your head upon my knee;—
  • 20Whose 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,—
  • The 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:
  • 30Until 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,
  • You 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,—
  • Image of page 111 page: 111
    Manuscript Addition: 75
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  • 40The 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 and swim
  • While hour by hour the books grew dim.
  • Why, 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,
  • 50All golden in the lamplight's gleam,—
  • You know not what a book you seem,
  • Half-read by lightning in a dream!
  • How should you know, my Jenny? Nay,
  • And I should be ashamed to say:—
  • Poor beauty, so well worth a kiss!
  • But 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,
  • 60What is the thought?—conjectural
  • On sorry matters best unsolved?—
  • Image of page 112 page: 112
  • 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
  • And 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,
  • 70From 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
  • And other nights than yours bespeak;
  • And from the wise unchildish elf,
  • To schoolmate lesser than himself
  • Pointing you out, what thing you are:—
  • 80Yes, 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,
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    Manuscript Addition: 76
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
    Sig. Rossetti. 8
  • Whose acts are ill and his speech ill,
  • Who, having used you at his will,
  • Thrusts you aside, as when I dine
  • I serve the dishes and the wine.
  • Well, handsome Jenny mine, sit up,
  • 90I'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
  • And 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!
  • 100 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
  • From its new lord the garden hath,
  • Image of page 114 page: 114
  • Than that whose spring in blessings ran
  • Which praised the bounteous husbandman,
  • Ere yet, in days of hankering breath,
  • 110The 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,
  • But must your roses die, and those
  • Their purfled buds that should unclose?
  • Even so; the leaves are curled apart,
  • Still red as from the broken heart,
  • 120And 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
  • Of the old days which seem to be
  • Much older than any history
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    Manuscript Addition: 77
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
    Sig. 8*
  • That is written in any book;
  • 130When she would lie in fields and look
  • Along the ground through the 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.
  • Jenny, you know the city now.
  • A child can tell the tale there, how
  • Some things which are not yet enroll'd
  • In market-lists are bought and sold
  • Even till the early Sunday light,
  • 140When 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 pride and woe;
  • Have seen your lifted silken skirt
  • Advertize dainties through the dirt;
  • Have seen your coach-wheels splash rebuke
  • On virtue; and have learned your look
  • When, wealth and health slipped past, you stare
  • 150Along the streets alone, and there,
  • Round the long park, across the bridge,
  • Image of page 116 page: 116
  • 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,—
  • What if to her all this were said?
  • Why, as a volume seldom read
  • Being opened halfway shuts again,
  • 160So might the pages of her brain
  • Be parted at such words, and thence
  • Close back upon the dusty sense.
  • For is there hue or shape defin'd
  • In Jenny's desecrated mind,
  • Where all contagious currents meet,
  • A Lethe of the middle street?
  • Nay, it reflects not any face,
  • Nor sound is in its sluggish pace,
  • But as they coil those eddies clot,
  • 170And night and day remember not.
  • Why, Jenny, you're asleep at last!—
  • Asleep, poor Jenny, hard and fast,—
  • So young and soft and tired; so fair,
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    Manuscript Addition: 78
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • With chin thus nestled in your hair,
  • Mouth quiet, eyelids almost blue
  • As if some sky of dreams shone through!
  • Just as another woman sleeps!
  • Enough to throw one's thoughts in heaps
  • Of doubt and horror,—what to say
  • 180Or think,—this awful secret sway,
  • The potter's power over the clay!
  • Of the same lump (it has been said)
  • For honour and dishonour made,
  • Two sister vessels. Here is one.
  • My cousin Nell is fond of fun,
  • And fond of dress, and change, and praise,
  • So mere a woman in her ways:
  • And if her sweet eyes rich in youth
  • Are like her lips that tell the truth,
  • 190My cousin Nell is fond of love.
  • And she's the girl I'm proudest of.
  • Who does not prize her, guard her well?
  • The love of change, in cousin Nell,
  • Shall find the best and hold it dear:
  • The unconquered mirth turn quieter
  • Image of page 118 page: 118
  • Not through her own, through others' woe:
  • The conscious pride of beauty glow
  • Beside another's pride in her,
  • One little part of all they share.
  • 200For Love himself shall ripen these
  • In a kind soil to just increase
  • Through years of fertilizing peace.
  • Of the same lump (as it is said)
  • For honour and dishonour made,
  • Two sister vessels. Here is one.
  • It makes a goblin of the sun.
  • So pure,—so fall'n! How dare to think
  • Of the first common kindred link?
  • Yet, Jenny, till the world shall burn
  • 210It seems that all things take their turn;
  • And who shall say but this fair tree
  • May need, in changes that may be,
  • Your children's children's charity?
  • Scorned then, no doubt, as you are scorn'd!
  • Shall no man hold his pride forewarn'd
  • Till in the end, the Day of Days,
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    Manuscript Addition: 79
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • At Judgment, one of his own race,
  • As frail and lost as you, shall rise,—
  • His daughter, with his mother's eyes?
  • 220 How Jenny's clock ticks on the shelf!
  • Might not the dial scorn itself
  • That has such hours to register?
  • Yet as to me, even so to her
  • Are golden sun and silver moon,
  • In daily largesse of earth's boon,
  • Counted for life-coins to one tune.
  • And if, as blindfold fates are toss'd,
  • Through some one man this life be lost,
  • Shall soul not somehow pay for soul?
  • 230 Fair shines the gilded aureole
  • In which our highest painters place
  • Some living woman's simple face.
  • And the stilled features thus descried
  • As Jenny's long throat droops aside,—
  • The shadows where the cheeks are thin,
  • And pure wide curve from ear to chin,—
  • With Raffael's , or Da Vinci's , Lionardo's hand
  • To show them to men's souls, might stand,
  • Image of page 120 page: 120
  • Whole ages long, the whole world through,
  • 240For preachings of what God can do.
  • What has man done here? How atone,
  • Great God, for this which man has done?
  • And for the body and soul which by
  • 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.
  • 250 If but a woman's heart might see
  • Such 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
  • 260As might make lady's cheek indeed
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    Manuscript Addition: 80
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • More 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,
  • 270The sweetness of the sanguine stain,
  • Seen 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 cipher of man's changeless sum
  • Of lust, past, present, and to come,
  • 280Is left. A riddle that one shrinks
  • To challenge from the scornful sphinx.
  • Like a toad within a stone
  • Seated while Time crumbles on;
  • Image of page 122 page: 122
  • 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;
  • 290Which always—whitherso the stone
  • Be 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.
  • Come, come, what use in thoughts like this?
  • Poor little Jenny, good to kiss,—
  • 300You'd not believe by what strange roads
  • Thought 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
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    Manuscript Addition: 129K
    Editorial Description: Notation at upper left.
    Manuscript Addition: 81
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
  • Bleating before a barking dog;
  • And the old streets come peering through
  • Another night that London knew;
  • And all as ghostlike as the lamps.
  • 310 So on the wings of day decamps
  • My 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
  • 320Reflected lying on my knee,
  • Where teems with first foreshadowings
  • Your pier-glass scrawled with diamond rings . :
Added Text
  • And on your bosom all night worn
  • Yesterday's rose now droops forlorn,
  • But dies not yet this summer morn.
    • And now without, as if some word
    • Had called upon them that they heard,
    • The London sparrows far and nigh
    • Clamour together suddenly;
    • 330And Jenny's cage-bird grown awake
    • Image of page 124 page: 124
    • Here in their song his part must take,
    • Because here too the day doth break.
    • And somehow in myself the dawn
    • 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
    • 340I lay among your golden hair
    • Perhaps 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;
    • 350But delicately sighs in musk
    • The homage of the dim boudoir;
    • Or like a palpitating star
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      Manuscript Addition: 82
      Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
    • 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
    • 360Her functions there and here are one,
    • Beneath the lamps and in the sun
    • 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,
    • 370And whoso looks on him shall see
    • An eligible deity.
    • Why, Jenny, waking here alone
    • May help you to remember one,
    • Though all the memory's long outworn
    • Image of page 126 page: 126
    • Of many a double-pillowed morn.
    • 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.
    • 380 Jenny, my love rang true! for still
    • Love at first sight is vague, until
    • That tinkling makes him audible.
    • And 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:
    • In my life, as in hers, they show,
    • By a far gleam which I may near,
    • 390A dark path I can strive to clear.
    • Only one kiss. Goodbye, my dear.
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    Manuscript Addition: 83
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
    • This is her picture as she was:
    • It seems a thing to wonder on,
    • As though mine image in the glass
    • Should tarry when myself am gone.
    • I gaze until she seems to stir,—
    • Until mine eyes almost aver
    • That now, even now, the sweet lips part
    • To breathe the words of the sweet heart:—
    • And yet the earth is over her.
    • 10Alas! even such the thin-drawn ray
    • That makes the prison-depths more rude,—
    • The drip of water night and day
    • Giving a tongue to solitude.
    • Yet only this, of all love's perfect whole prize,
    • Remains; save what in mournful guise
    • Image of page 128 page: 128
    • Takes counsel with my soul alone,—
    • Save what is secret and unknown,
    • Below the earth, above the skies.
    • In painting her I shrined her face
    • 20 Mid mystic trees, where light falls in
    • Hardly at all; a covert place
    • Where you might think to find a din
    • Of doubtful talk, and a live flame
    • Wandering, and many a shape whose name
    • Not itself knoweth, and old dew,
    • And your own footsteps meeting you,
    • And all things going as they came.
    • A deep dim wood; and there she stands
    • As in that wood that day: for so
    • 30Was the still movement of her hands
    • And such the pure line's gracious flow.
    • And passing fair the type must seem,
    • Unknown the presence and the dream.
    • 'Tis she: though of herself, alas!
    • Less than her shadow on the grass
    • Or than her image in the stream.
    Manuscript Addition: 84
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
    Image of page 129 page: 129
    Sig. Rossetti. 9
    • That day we met there, I and she
    • One with the other all alone;
    • And we were blithe; yet memory
    • 40 Saddens those hours, as when the moon
    • Looks upon daylight. And with her
    • I stooped to drink the spring-water,
    • Athirst where other waters sprang;
    • And where the echo is, she sang,—
    • My soul another echo there.
    • But when that hour my soul won strength
    • For words whose silence wastes and kills,
    • Dull raindrops smote us, and at length
    • Thundered the heat within the hills.
    • 50That eve I spoke those words again
    • Beside the pelted window-pane;
    • And there she hearkened what I said,
    • With under-glances that surveyed
    • The empty pastures blind with rain.
    • Next day the memories of these things,
    • Like leaves through which a bird has flown,
    • Still vibrated with Love's warm wings;
    • Till I must make them all my own
    • Image of page 130 page: 130
    • And paint this picture. So, 'twixt ease
    • 60Of talk and sweet long silences,
    • She stood among the plants in bloom
    • At windows of a summer room,
    • To feign the shadow of the trees.
    • And as I wrought, while all above
    • And all around was fragrant air,
    • In the sick burthen of my love
    • It seemed each sun-thrilled blossom there
    • Beat like a heart among the leaves.
    • O heart that never beats nor heaves,
    • 70 In that one darkness lying still,
    • What now to thee my love's great will
    • Or the fine web the sunshine weaves?
    • For now doth daylight disavow
    • Those days,—nought left to see or hear.
    • Only in solemn whispers now
    • At night-time these things reach mine ear;
    • When the leaf-shadows at a breath
    • Shrink in the road, and all the heath,
    • Forest and water, far and wide,
    • 80 In limpid starlight glorified,
    • Lie like the mystery of death.
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    Manuscript Addition: 85
    Editorial Description: Number written at lower right.
    Sig. 9*
    • Last night at last I could have slept,
    • And yet delayed my sleep till dawn,
    • Still wandering. Then it was I wept:
    • For unawares I came upon
    • Those glades where once she walked with me:
    • And as I stood there suddenly,
    • All wan with traversing the night,
    • Upon the desolate verge of light
    • 90Yearned loud the iron-bosomed sea.
    • Even so, where Heaven holds breath and hears
    • The beating heart of Love's own breast,—
    • Where round the secret of all spheres
    • All angels lay their wings to rest,—
    • How shall my soul stand rapt and awed,
    • When, by the new birth borne abroad
    • Throughout the music of the suns,
    • It enters in her soul at once
    • And knows the silence there for God!
    • 100Here with her face doth memory sit
    • Meanwhile, and wait the day's decline,
    • Till other eyes shall look from it,
    • Eyes of the spirit's Palestine,
    • Image of page 132 page: 132
    • Even than the old gaze tenderer:
    • While hopes and aims long lost with her
    • Stand round her image side by side,
    • Like tombs of pilgrims that have died
    • About the Holy Sepulchre.
    Image of page 133 page: 133
    Manuscript Addition: b 86
    Editorial Description: Letter at lower left, number at lower right.
    • “Why did you melt your waxen man,
    • Sister Helen?
    • To-day is the third since you began.”
    • “The time was long, yet the time ran,
    • Little brother.”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Three days to-day, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • “But if you have done your work aright,
    • Sister Helen,
    • 10 You'll let me play, for you said I might.”
    • “Be very still in your play to-night,
    • Little brother.”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Third night, to-night, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Image of page 134 page: 134
    • “You said it must melt ere vesper-bell,
    • Sister Helen;
    • If now it be molten, all is well.”
    • “Even so,—nay, peace! you cannot tell,
    • Little brother.”
    • 20 (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • O what is this, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “Oh the waxen knave was plump to-day,
    • Sister Helen;
    • How like dead folk he has dropped away!”
    • “Nay now, of the dead what can you say,
    • Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • What of the dead, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “See, see, the sunken pile of wood,
    • 30 Sister Helen,
    • Shines through the thinned wax red as blood!”
    • “Nay now, when looked you yet on blood,
    • Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • How pale she is, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Image of page 135 page: 135
    Manuscript Addition: 87
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “Now close your eyes, for they're sick and sore,
    • Sister Helen,
    • And I'll play without the gallery door.”
    • “Aye, let me rest,—I'll lie on the floor,
    • 40 Little brother.”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • What rest to-night, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “Here high up in the balcony,
    • Sister Helen,
    • The moon flies face to face with me.”
    • “Aye, look and say whatever you see,
    • Little brother.”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • What sight to-night, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • 50“Outside it's merry in the wind's wake,
    • Sister Helen;
    • In the shaken trees the chill stars shake.”
    • “Hush, heard you a horse-tread as you spake,
    • Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • What sound to-night, between Hell and Heaven?)
    Image of page 136 page: 136
    • “I hear a horse-tread, and I see,
    • Sister Helen,
    • There Three horsemen that ride terribly.”
    • 60Little brother, whence come the three,
    • Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Whence should they come, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “They come by the hill-verge from Boyne Bar,
    • Sister Helen,
    • And one draws nigh, but two are afar.”
    • “Look, look, do you know them who they are,
    • Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • 70 Who should they be, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “Oh, it's Keith of Eastholm rides so fast,
    • Sister Helen,
    • For I know the white mane on the blast.”
    • “The hour has come, has come at last,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Her hour at last, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Image of page 137 page: 137
    Manuscript Addition: 88
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “He has made a sign and called Halloo!
    • Sister Helen,
    • 80 And he says that he would speak with you.”
    • “Oh tell him I fear the frozen dew,
    • Little brother.”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Why laughs she thus, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “The wind is loud, but I hear him cry,
    • Sister Helen,
    • That Keith of Ewern's like to die.”
    • “And he and thou, and thou and I,
    • Little brother.”
    • 90 (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • And they and we, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Added Text
    • “Three days ago, on his marriage-morn,
    • Sister Helen,
    • He sickened, and lies since then forlorn.
    • “For bridegroom's side is the bride a thorn,
    • Little brother?”
    • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Cold bridal cheer, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • For three days now Three days and nights he has lain abed,
    • 100 Sister Helen,
    • And he prays in torment to be dead.”
    • “The thing may chance, if he have prayed,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • If he have prayed, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Image of page 138 page: 138
    • “But he has not ceased to cry to-day,
    • Sister Helen,
    • That you should take your curse away.”
    • My prayer was heard,—he need but pray,
    • 110 Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Shall God not hear, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “But he says, till you take back your ban,
    • Sister Helen,
    • His soul would pass, yet never can.”
    • “Nay then, shall I slay a living man,
    • Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • A living soul, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • 120“But he calls for ever on your name,
    • Sister Helen,
    • And says that he melts before a flame.”
    • “My heart for his pleasure fared the same,
    • Little brother.”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Fire at the heart, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Image of page 139 page: 139
    Manuscript Addition: 88
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “Here's Keith of Westholm riding fast,
    • Sister Helen,
    • For I know the white plume on the blast.”
    • 130“The hour, the sweet hour I forecast,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Is the hour sweet, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “He stops to speak, and he stills his horse,
    • Sister Helen;
    • But his words are drowned in the wind's course.”
    • “Nay hear, nay hear, you must hear perforce,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • 140 A word ill heard What word were heard, between Hell and Heaven ! ?)
    • “Oh he says that Keith of Ewern's cry,
    • Sister Helen,
    • Is ever to see you ere he die.”
    • “He sees me in earth, in moon and sky,
      Added Text“In all that his soul sees, there am I,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Earth, moon and sky The soul's one sight, between Hell and Heaven!)
    page: 140
    • “He sends a ring and a broken coin,
    • Sister Helen,
    • 150 And bids you mind the banks of Boyne.”
    • “What else he broke will he ever join,
    • Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Oh, never more No, never joined, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • “He yields you these and craves full fain,
    • Sister Helen,
    • You pardon him in his mortal pain.”
    • “What else he took will he give again,
    • Little brother?”
    • 160 (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • No more, no more Not twice to give, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • “He calls your name in an agony,
    • Sister Helen,
    • That even dead Love must weep to see.”
    • “Hate, born of Love, is blind as he,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Love turned to hate, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Image of page 141 page: 141
    Manuscript Addition: 90
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “Oh it's Keith of Keith now that rides fast,
    • 170 Sister Helen,
    • For I know the white hair on the blast.”
    • “The short short hour will soon be past,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Will soon be past, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • “He looks at me and he tries to speak,
    • Sister Helen,
    • But oh! his voice is sad and weak!”
    • “What here should the mighty Baron seek,
    • 180 Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Is this the end, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • “Oh his son still cries, if you forgive,
    • Sister Helen,
    • The body dies but the soul shall live.”
    • “Fire shall forgive me as I forgive,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • As she forgives, between Hell and Heaven!)
    page: 142
    Printer's Direction: NB Here insert 6 M S stanzas
    Editorial Description: DGR's note added after stanza 29.
    • 190“Oh he prays you, as his heart would rive,
    • Sister Helen,
    • To save his dear son's soul alive.”
    • “Fire cannot slay it, it shall thrive,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Alas, alas, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • “He cries to you, kneeling in the road,
    • Sister Helen,
    • To go with him for the love of God!”
    • 200“The way is long to his son's abode,
    • Little brother.”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • The way is long, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • “O Sister Helen, you heard the bell,
    • Sister Helen!
    • More loud than the vesper-chime it fell.”
    • “No vesper-chime, but a dying knell,
    • 250 Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • His dying knell, between Hell and Heaven!)
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    Manuscript Addition: 93
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “Alas! but I fear the heavy sound,
    • Sister Helen;
    • Is it in the sky or in the ground?”
    • “Say, have they turned their horses round,
    • Little brother?”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • What would she more, between Hell and Heaven?)
    • 260“They have raised the old man from his knee,
    • Sister Helen,
    • And they ride in silence hastily.”
    • “More fast the naked soul doth flee,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • The naked soul, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Added Text
    • “Flank to flank are the white steeds gone,
    • Sister Helen,
    • But the lady's white dark steed goes alone.”
    • 270 “And lonely her bridegroom's soul hath flown,
    • Little brother.”
    • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • The ? lonely ghost, between Hell & Heaven! )
    • “Oh the wind is sad in the iron chill,
    • Sister Helen,
    • And weary sad they look by the hill.”
    • “But he and I are sadder still,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • 280 Most sad of all, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Image of page 144 page: 144
    • “See, see, the wax has dropped from its place,
    • Sister Helen,
    • And the flames are winning up apace!”
    • “Yet here they burn but for a space,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Here for a space, between Hell and Heaven!)
    • “Ah! what white thing at the door has cross'd,
    • Sister Helen?
    • 290 Ah! what is this that sighs in the frost?”
    • “A soul that's lost as mine is lost,
    • Little brother!”
    • (O Mother, Mary Mother,
    • Lost, lost, all lost, between Hell and Heaven!)
    Image of page 145 page: 145
    Manuscript Addition: 94
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    Sig. Rossetti. 10
    • “O have you seen the Stratton flood
    • That's great with rain to-day?
    • It runs beneath your wall, Lord Sands,
    • Full of the new-mown hay.
    • “I led your hounds to Hutton bank
    • To bathe at early morn:
    • They got their bath by Borrowbrake
    • Above the standing corn.”
    • Out from the castle-stair Lord Sands
    • 10 Looked up the western lea;
    • The rook was grieving on her nest,
    • The flood was round her tree.
    • Over the castle-wall Lord Sands
    • Looked down the eastern hill:
    • The stakes swam free among the boats,
    • The flood was rising still.
    Image of page 146 page: 146
    • “What's yonder far below that lies
    • So white against the slope?”
    • “O it's a sail o' your bonny barks
    • 20 The waters have washed up.”
    • “But I have never a sail so white,
    • And the water's not yet there.”
    • “O it's the swans o' your bonny lake
    • The rising flood doth scare.”
    • “The swans they would not hold so still,
    • So high they would not win.”
    • “O it's Joyce my wife has spread her smock
    • And fears to fetch it in.”
    • “Nay, knave, it's neither sail nor swans,
    • 30 Nor aught that you can say;
    • For though your wife might leave her smock,
    • Herself she'd bring away.”
    • Lord Sands has passed the turret-stair,
    • The court, and yard, and all;
    • The kine were in the byre that day,
    • The nags were in the stall.
    Image of page 147 page: 147
    Manuscript Addition: 95
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    Sig. 10*
    • Lord Sands has won the weltering slope
    • Whereon the white shape lay:
    • The clouds were still above the hill,
    • 40 And the shape was still as they.
    • Oh pleasant is the gaze of life
    • And sad is death's blind head;
    • But awful are the living eyes
    • In the face of one thought dead!
    • “In God's name, Janet, is it me
    • Thy ghost has come to seek?”
    • “Nay, wait another hour, Lord Sands,—
    • Be sure my ghost shall speak.”
    • A moment stood he as a stone,
    • 50 Then grovelled to his knee.
    • “O Janet, O my love, my love,
    • Rise up and come with me!”
    • “O once before you bade me come,
    • And it's here you have brought me!
    • “O many's the sweet word, Lord Sands,
    • You've spoken oft to me;
    • But all that I have from you to-day
    • Is the rain on my body.
    Image of page 148 page: 148
    • “And many's the good gift, Lord Sands,
    • 60 You've promised oft to me;
    • But the gift of yours I keep to-day
    • Is the babe in my body.
    • “O it's not in any earthly bed
    • That first my babe I'll see;
    • For I have brought my body here
    • That the flood may cover me.”
    • His face was close against her face,
    • His hands of hers were fain:
    • O her wet cheeks were hot with tears,
    • 70 Her wet hands cold with rain.
    • “They told me you were dead, Janet,—
    • How could I guess the lie?”
    • “They told me you were false, Lord Sands,—
    • What could I do but die?”
    • “Now keep you well, my brother Giles,—
    • Through you I deemed her dead!
    • As wan as your towers be to-day,
    • To-morrow they'll be red.
    Image of page 149 page: 149
    Manuscript Addition: 96
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “Look down, look down, my false mother,
    • 80 That bade me not to grieve:
    • You'll look up when our marriage fires
    • Are lit to-morrow eve.
    • “O more than one and more than two
    • The sorrow of this shall see:
    • But it's to-morrow, love, for them,—
    • To-day's for thee and me.”
    • He's drawn her face between his hands
    • And her pale mouth to his:
    • No bird that was so still that day
    • 90 Chirps sweeter than his kiss.
    • The flood was creeping round their feet.
    • “O Janet, come away!
    • The hall is warm for the marriage-rite,
    • The bed for the birthday.”
    • “Nay, but I hear your mother cry,
    • ‘Go bring this bride to bed!
    • And would she christen her babe unborn
    • So wet she comes to wed?’
    Image of page 150 page: 150
    • “I'll be your wife to cross your door
    • 100 And meet your mother's e'e.
    • We plighted troth to wed i' the kirk,
    • And it's there you'll wed with me.”
    • He's ta'en her by the short girdle
    • And by the dripping sleeve:
    • “Go fetch Sir Jock my mother's priest,—
    • You'll ask of him no leave.
    • “O it's one half-hour to reach the kirk
    • And one for the marriage-rite;
    • And kirk and castle and castle-lands
    • 110 Shall be our babe's to-night.”
    • “The flood's in the kirkyard, Lord Sands,
    • And round the belfry-stair.”
    • “I bade ye fetch the priest,” he said,
    • “Myself shall bring him there.
    • “It's for the lilt of wedding bells
    • We'll have the hail to pour,
    • And for the clink of bridle-reins
    • The plashing of the oar.”
    Image of page 151 page: 151
    Manuscript Addition: 97
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • Beneath them on the nether hill
    • 120 A boat was floating wide:
    • Lord Sands swam out and caught the oars
    • And rowed to the hill-side.
    • He's wrapped her in a green mantle
    • And set her softly in;
    • Her hair was wet upon her face,
    • Her face was grey and thin;
    • And “Oh!” she said, “lie still, my babe,
    • It's out you must not win!”
    • But woe's my heart for Father John!
    • 130 As hard as he might pray,
    • There seemed no help but Noah's ark
    • Or Jonah's fish that day.
    • The first strokes that the oars struck
    • Were over the broad leas;
    • The next strokes that the oars struck
    • They pushed beneath the trees;
    • The last stroke that the oars struck,
    • The good boat's head was met,
    • And there the gate of the kirkyard
    • 140 Stood like a ferry-gate.
    Image of page 152 page: 152
    • He's set his hand upon the bar
    • And lightly leaped within:
    • He's lifted her to his left shoulder,
    • Her knees beside his chin.
    • The graves lay deep beneath the flood
    • Under the rain alone;
    • And when the foot-stone made him slip,
    • He held by the head-stone.
    • The empty boat thrawed i' the wind,
    • 150 Against the postern tied.
    • “Hold still, you've brought my love with me,
    • You shall take back my bride.”
    • But woe's my heart for Father John
    • And the saints he clamoured to!
    • There's never a saint but Christopher
    • Might hale such buttocks through!
    • And “Oh!” she said, “on men's shoulders
    • I well had thought to wend,
    • And well to travel with a priest,
    • 160 But not to have cared or ken'd.
    Image of page 153 page: 153
    Manuscript Addition: 98
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “And oh!” she said, “it's well this way
    • That I thought to have fared,—
    • Not to have lighted at the kirk
    • But stopped in the kirkyard.
    • “For it's oh and oh I prayed to God,
    • Whose rest I hoped to win,
    • That when to-night at your board-head
    • You'd bid the feast begin,
    • This water past your window-sill
    • 170 Might bear my body in.”
    • Now make the white bed warm and soft
    • And greet the merry morn.
    • The night the mother should have died,
    • The young son shall be born.
    Image of page 154 page: 154
    • What thing unto mine ear
    • Wouldst thou convey,—what secret thing,
    • O wandering water ever whispering?
    • Surely thy speech shall be of her.
    • Thou water, O thou whispering wanderer,
    • What message dost thou bring?
    • Say, hath not Love leaned low
    • This hour beside thy far well-head,
    • And there through jealous hollowed fingers said
    • 10 The thing that most I long to know,—
    • Murmuring with curls all dabbled in thy flow
    • And washed lips rosy red?
    • He told it to thee there
    • Where thy voice hath a louder tone;
    • But where it welters to this little moan
    • Image of page 155 page: 155
      Manuscript Addition: 99
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • His will decrees that I should hear.
    • Now speak: for with the silence is no fear,
    • And I am all alone.
    • Shall Time not still endow
    • 20 One hour with life, and I and she
    • Slake in one kiss the thirst of memory?
    • Say, stream; lest Love should disavow
    • Thy service, and the bird upon the bough
    • Sing first to tell it me.
    • What whisperest thou? Nay, why
    • Name the dead hours? I mind them well:
    • Their ghosts in many darkened doorways dwell
    • With desolate eyes to know them by.
    • The hour that must be born ere it can die,—
    • 30 Of that I'd have thee tell.
    • But hear, before thou speak!
    • Withhold, I pray, the vain behest
    • That while the maze hath still its bower for quest
    • My burning heart should cease to seek.
    • Be sure that Love ordained for souls more meek
    • His roadside dells of rest.
    Image of page 156 page: 156
    • Stream, when this silver thread
    • In flood-time is a torrent brown,
    • May any bulwark bind thy foaming crown?
    • 40 Shall not the waters surge and spread
    • And to the crannied boulders of their bed
    • Still shoot the dead drift down?
    • Let no rebuke find place
    • In speech of thine: or it shall prove
    • That thou dost ill expound the words of Love,
    • Even as thine eddy's rippling race
    • Would blur the perfect image of his face.
    • I will have none thereof.
    • O learn and understand
    • 50 That 'gainst the wrongs himself did wreak
    • Love sought her aid; until her shadowy cheek
    • And eyes beseeching gave command;
    • And compassed in her close compassionate hand
    • My heart must burn and speak.
    • For then at last we spoke
    • What eyes so oft had told to eyes
    • Through that long-lingering silence whose half-sighs
    • Image of page 157 page: 157
      Manuscript Addition: 100
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • Alone the buried secret broke,
    • Which with snatched hands and lips' reverberate stroke
    • 60 Then from the heart did rise.
    • But she is far away
    • Now; nor the hours of night grown hoar
    • Bring yet to me, long gazing from the door,
    • The wind-stirred robe of roseate grey
    • And rose-crown of the hour that leads the day
    • When we shall meet once more.
    • Dark as thy blinded wave
    • When brimming midnight floods the glen,—
    • Bright as the laughter of thy runnels when
    • 70 The dawn yields all the light they crave;
    • Even so these hours to wound and that to save
    • Are sisters in Love's ken.
    • Oh sweet her bending grace
    • Then when I kneel beside her feet;
    • And sweet her eyes' o'erhanging heaven; and sweet
    • The gathering folds of her embrace;
    • And her fall'n hair at last shed round my face
    • When breaths and tears shall meet.
    Image of page 158 page: 158
    • Beneath her sheltering hair,
    • 80 In the warm silence near her breast,
    • Our kisses and our sobs shall sink to rest;
    • As in some still trance made aware
    • That day and night have wrought to fulness there
    • And Love has built our nest.
    • And as in the dim grove,
    • When the rains cease that hushed them long,
    • 'Mid glistening boughs the song-birds wake to song,—
    • So from our hearts deep-shrined in love,
    • While the leaves throb beneath, around, above,
    • 90 The quivering notes shall throng.
    • Till tenderest words found vain
    • Draw back to wonder mute and deep,
    • And closed lips in closed arms a silence keep,
    • Subdued by memory's circling strain,—
    • The wind-rapt sound that the wind brings again
    • While all the willows weep.
    • Then by her summoning art
    • Shall memory conjure back the sere
    • Autumnal Springs, from many a dying year
    • Image of page 159 page: 159
      Manuscript Addition: 101
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • 100 Born dead; and, bitter to the heart,
    • The very ways where now we walk apart
    • Who then shall cling so near.
    • And with each thought new-grown,
    • Some sweet caress or some sweet name
    • Low-breathed shall let me know her thought the same;
    • Making me rich with every tone
    • And touch of the dear heaven so long unknown
    • That filled my dreams with flame.
    • Pity and love shall burn
    • 110 In her pressed cheek and cherishing hands;
    • And from the living spirit of love that stands
    • Between her lips to soothe and yearn,
    • Each separate breath shall clasp me round in turn
    • And loose my spirit's bands.
    • Oh passing sweet and dear,
    • Then when the worshipped form and face
    • Are felt at length in darkling close embrace;
    • Round which so oft the sun shone clear,
    • With mocking light and pitiless atmosphere,
    • 120 In many an hour and place.
    Image of page 160 page: 160
    • Ah me! with what proud growth
    • Shall that hour's thirsting race be run;
    • While, for each several sweetness still begun
    • Afresh, endures love's endless drouth:
    • Sweet hands, sweet hair, sweet cheeks, sweet eyes, sweet [mouth,
    • Each singly wooed and won.
      Note: The word “mouth” in line 125 is printed on the following line as a turnover.
    • Yet most with the sweet soul
    • Shall love's espousals then be knit;
    • For very passion of peace shall breathe from it
    • 130 O'er tremulous wings that touch the goal,
    • As on the unmeasured height of Love's control
    • The lustral fires are lit.
    • Therefore, when breast and cheek
    • Now part, from long embraces free,—
    • Each on the other gazing shall but see
    • A self that has no need to speak:
    • All things unsought, yet nothing more to seek,—
    • One love in unity.
    • O water wandering past,—
    • 140 Albeit to thee I speak this thing,
    • O water, thou that wanderest whispering,
    • Image of page 161 page: 161
      Manuscript Addition: 102
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
      Sig. Rossetti. 11
    • Thou keep'st thy counsel to the last.
    • What spell upon thy bosom should Love cast,
    • His message thence to wring?
    • Nay, must thou hear the tale
    • Of the past days,—the heavy debt
    • Of life that obdurate time withholds,—ere yet
    • To win thine ear these prayers prevail,
    • And by thy voice Love's self with high All-hail
    • 150 Yield up the love-secret?
    • love-secret/amulet
    • How should all this be told?—
    • All the sad sum of wayworn days;—
    • Heart's anguish in the impenetrable maze;
    • And on the waste uncoloured wold
    • The visible burthen of the sun grown cold
    • And the moon's labouring gaze?
    • Alas! shall hope be nurs'd
    • On life's all-succouring breast in vain,
    • And made so perfect only to be slain?
    • 160 Or shall not rather the sweet thirst
    • Even yet rejoice the heart with warmth dispers'd
    • And strength grown fair again?
    Image of page 162 page: 162
    • Stands it not by the door—
    • Love's Hour—till she and I shall meet;
    • With bodiless form and unapparent feet
    • That cast no shadow yet before,
    • Though round its head the dawn begins to pour
    • The breath that makes day sweet?
    • Its eyes invisible
    • 170 Watch till the dial's thin-thrown shade
    • Be born,—yea, till the journeying line be laid
    • Upon the point that wakes the spell,
    • And there in lovelier light than tongue can tell
    • Its presence stand array'd.
    • Its soul remembers yet
    • Those sunless hours that passed it by;
    • And still it hears the night's disconsolate cry,
    • And feels the branches wringing wet
    • Cast on its brow, that may not once forget,
    • 180 Dumb tears from the blind sky.
    • But oh! when now her foot
    • Draws near, for whose sake night and day
    • Were long in weary longing sighed away,—
    • Image of page 163 page: 163
      Sig. 11*
      Manuscript Addition: 103
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • The Hour of Love, 'mid airs grown mute,
    • Shall sing beside the door, and Love's own lute
    • Thrill to the passionate lay.
    • Thou know'st, for Love has told
    • Within thine ear, O stream, how soon
    • That song shall lift its sweet appointed tune.
    • 190 O tell me, for my lips are cold,
    • And in my veins the blood is waxing old
    • Even while I beg the boon.
    • So, in that hour of sighs
    • Assuaged, shall we beside this stone
    • Yield thanks for grace; while in thy mirror shown
    • The twofold image softly lies,
    • Until we kiss, and each in other's eyes
    • Is imaged all alone.
    • Still silent? Can no art
    • 200 Of Love's then move thy pity? Nay,
    • To thee let nothing come that owns his sway:
    • Let happy lovers have no part
    • With thee; nor even so sad and poor a heart
    • As thou hast spurned to-day.
    Image of page 164 page: 164
    • To-day? Lo! night is here.
    • The glen grows heavy with some veil
    • Risen from the earth or fall'n to make earth pale;
    • And all stands hushed to eye and ear,
    • Until the night-wind shake the shade like fear
    • 210 And every covert quail.
    • Ah! by a colder wave
    • On deathlier airs the hour must come
    • Which to thy heart, my love, shall call me home.
    • Between the lips of the low cave
    • Against that night the lapping waters lave,
    • And the dark lips are dumb.
    • But there Love's self doth stand,
    • And with Life's weary wings far-flown,
    • And with Death's eyes that make the water moan,
    • 220 Gathers the water in his hand:
    • And they that drink know nought of sky or land
    • But only love alone.
    • O soul-sequestered face
    • Far off,—O were that night but now!
    • So even beside that stream even I and thou
    • Image of page 165 page: 165
      Manuscript Addition: 104
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • Through thirsting lips should draw Love's grace,
    • And in the zone of that supreme embrace
    • Bind aching breast and brow.
    • O water whispering
    • 230 Still through the dark into mine ears,—
    • As with mine eyes, is it not now with hers?—
    • Mine eyes that add to thy cold spring,
    • Wan water, wandering water weltering,
    • This hidden tide of tears.
    Image of page 166 page: 166
    • Could you not drink her gaze like wine?
    • Yet though its splendour swoon
    • Into the silence languidly
    • As a tune into a tune,
    • Those eyes unravel the coiled night
    • And know the stars at noon.
    • The gold that's heaped beside her hand,
    • In truth rich prize it were;
    • And rich the dreams that wreathe her brows
    • 10 With magic stillness there;
    • And he were rich who should unwind
    • That woven golden hair.
    • Around her, where she sits, the dance
    • Now breathes its eager heat;
    • Image of page 167 page: 167
      Manuscript Addition: 105
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • And not more lightly or more true
    • Fall there the dancers' feet
    • Than fall her cards on the bright board
    • As 'twere an heart that beat.
    • Her fingers let them softly through,
    • 20 Smooth polished silent things;
    • And each one as it falls reflects
    • In swift light-shadowings,
    • Blood-red and purple, green and blue,
    • The great eyes of her rings.
    • Whom plays she with? With thee, who lov'st
    • Those gems upon her hand;
    • With me, who search her secret brows;
    • With all men, bless'd or bann'd.
    • We play together, she and we,
    • 30 Within a vain strange land:
    • A land without any order,—
    • Day even as night, (one saith,)—
    • Where who lieth down ariseth not
    • Nor the sleeper awakeneth;
    • Image of page 168 page: 168
    • A land of darkness as darkness itself
    • And of the shadow of death.
    • What be her cards, you ask? Even these:—
    • The heart, that doth but crave
    • More, having fed; the diamond,
    • 40 Skilled to make base seem brave;
    • The club, for smiting in the dark;
    • The spade, to dig a grave.
    • And do you ask what game she plays?
    • With me 'tis lost or won;
    • With thee it is playing still; with him
    • It is not well begun;
    • But 'tis a game she plays with all
    • Beneath the sway o' the sun.
    • Thou seest the card that falls,—she knows
    • 50 The card that followeth:
    • Her game in thy tongue is called Life,
    • As ebbs thy daily breath:
    • When she shall speak, thou'lt learn her tongue
    • And know she calls it Death.
    Image of page 169 page: 169
    Manuscript Addition: 105
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • She fell asleep on Christmas Eve:
    • At length the long-ungranted shade
    • Of weary eyelids overweigh'd
    • The pain nought else might yet relieve.
    • Our mother, who had leaned all day
    • Over the bed from chime to chime,
    • Then raised herself for the first time,
    • And as she sat her down, did pray.
    • Her little work-table was spread
    • 10 With work to finish. For the glare
    • Made by her candle, she had care
    • To work some distance from the bed.
    • Without, there was a cold moon up,
    • Of winter radiance sheer and thin;
    • The hollow halo it was in
    • Was like an icy crystal cup.
    Image of page 170 page: 170
    • Through the small room, with subtle sound
    • Of flame, by vents the fireshine drove
    • And reddened. In its dim alcove
    • 20The mirror shed a clearness round.
    • I had been sitting up some nights,
    • And my tired mind felt weak and blank;
    • Like a sharp strengthening wine it drank
    • The stillness and the broken lights.
    • Twelve struck. That sound, by dwindling years
    • Heard in each hour, crept off; and then
    • The ruffled silence spread again,
    • Like water that a pebble stirs.
    • Our mother rose from where she sat:
    • 30 Her needles, as she laid them down,
    • Met lightly, and her silken gown
    • Settled: no other noise than that.
    • “Glory unto the Newly Born!”
    • So, as said angels, she did say;
    • Because we were in Christmas Day,
    • Though it would still be long till morn.
    Image of page 171 page: 171
    Manuscript Addition: 107
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • Just then in the room over us
    • There was a pushing back of chairs,
    • As some who had sat unawares
    • 40So late, now heard the hour, and rose.
    • With anxious softly-stepping haste
    • Our mother went where Margaret lay,
    • Fearing the sounds o'erhead—should they
    • Have broken her long watched-for rest!
    • She stopped an instant, calm, and turned;
    • But suddenly turned back again;
    • And all her features seemed in pain
    • With woe, and her eyes gazed and yearned.
    • For my part, I but hid my face,
    • 50 And held my breath, and spoke no word:
    • There was none spoken; but I heard
    • The silence for a little space.
    • Our mother bowed herself and wept:
    • And both my arms fell, and I said,
    • “God knows I knew that she was dead.”
    • And there, all white, my sister slept.
    Image of page 172 page: 172
    • Then kneeling, upon Christmas morn
    • A little after twelve o'clock
    • We said, ere the first quarter struck,
    • 60“Christ's blessing on the newly born!”
    Image of page 173 page: 173
    Manuscript Addition: 108
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • Along the grass sweet airs are blown
    • Our way this day in Spring.
    • Of all the songs that we have known
    • Now which one shall we sing?
    • Not that, my love, ah no!—
    • Not this, my love? why, so!—
    • Yet both were ours, but hours will come and go.
    • The grove is all a pale frail mist,
    • The new year sucks the sun.
    • 10Of all the kisses that we kissed
    • Now which shall be the one?
    • Not that, my love, ah no!—
    • Not this, my love?—heigh-ho
    • For all the sweets that all the winds can blow!
    • The branches cross above our eyes,
    • The skies are in a net:
    • And what's the thing beneath the skies
    • We two would most forget?
    • Not birth, my love, no, no,—
    • 20 Not death, my love, no, no,—
    • The love once ours, but ours long hours ago.
    Image of page 174 page: 174
    EVEN SO.
    • So it is, my dear.
    • All such things touch secret strings
    • For heavy hearts to hear.
    • So it is, my dear.
    • Very like indeed:
    • Sea and sky, afar, on high,
    • Sand and strewn seaweed,—
    • Very like indeed.
    • But the sea stands spread
    • 10As one wall with the flat skies,
    • Where the lean black craft like flies
    • Seem well-nigh stagnated,
    • Soon to drop off dead.
    • Seemed it so to us
    • When I was thine and thou wast mine,
    • And all these things were thus,
    • But all our world in us?
    • Could we be so now?
    • Not if all beneath heaven's pall
    • 20 Lay dead but I and thou,
    • Could we be so now!
    Image of page 175 page: 175
    Manuscript Addition: 109
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • How should I your true love know
    • From another one?
    • By his cockle-hat and staff
    • And his sandal-shoon.
    • “And what signs have told you now
    • That he hastens home?”
    • “Lo! the spring is nearly gone,
    • He is nearly come.”
    • “For a token is there nought,
    • 10 Say, that he should bring?”
    • “He will bear a ring I gave
    • And another ring.”
    • “How may I, when he shall ask,
    • Tell him who lies there?”
    • “Nay, but leave my face unveiled
    • And unbound my hair.”
    • “Can you say to me some word
    • I shall say to him?”
    • “Say I'm looking in his eyes
    • 20 Though my eyes are dim.”
    Image of page 176 page: 176
    • Andromeda, by Perseus saved and wed,
    • Hankered each day to see the Gorgon's head:
    • Till o'er a fount he held it, bade her lean,
    • And mirrored in the wave was safely seen
    • That death she lived by.
    • Let not thine eyes know
    • Any forbidden thing itself, although
    • It once should save as well as kill: but be
    • Its shadow upon life enough for thee.
    Image of page 177 page: 177
    Manuscript Addition: 110
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.

    Sig. Rossetti. 12
    • Tell me now in what hidden way is
    • Lady Flora the lovely Roman?
    • Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thais,
    • Neither of them the fairer woman?
    • Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
    • Only heard on river and mere,—
    • She whose beauty was more than human? . . .
    • But where are the snows of yester-year?
    • Where's Héloise, the learned nun,
    • 10 For whose sake Abeillard, I ween,
    • Lost manhood and put priesthood on?
    • (From Love he won such dule and teen!)
    • Image of page 178 page: 178
    • And where, I pray you, is the Queen
    • Who willed that Buridan should steer
    • Sewed in a sack's mouth down the Seine? . . .
    • But where are the snows of yester-year?
    • White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies,
    • With a voice like any mermaiden,—
    • Bertha Broadfoot, Beatrice, Alice,
    • 20 And Ermengarde the lady of Maine,—
    • And that good Joan whom Englishmen
    • At Rouen doomed and burned her there,—
    • Mother of God, where are they then? . . .
    • But where are the snows of yester-year?
    • Nay, never ask this week, fair lord,
    • Where they are gone, nor yet this year,
    • Except with this for an overword,—
    • But where are the snows of yester-year?
    Image of page 179 page: 179
    Manuscript Addition: 111
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    Sig. 12*
    • Death, of thee do I make my moan,
    • Who hadst my lady away from me,
    • Nor wilt assuage thine enmity
    • Till with her life thou hast mine own;
    • For since that hour my strength has flown.
    • Lo! what wrong was her life to thee,
    • Death?
    • Two we were, and the heart was one;
    • Which now being dead, dead I must be,
    • 10 Or seem alive as lifelessly
    • As in the choir the painted stone,
    • Death!
    Image of page 180 page: 180
    • Lady of Heaven and earth, and therewithal
    • Crowned Empress of the nether clefts of Hell,—
    • I, thy poor Christian, on thy name do call,
    • Commending me to thee, with thee to dwell,
    • Albeit in nought I be commendable.
    • But all mine undeserving may not mar
    • Such mercies as thy sovereign mercies are;
    • Without the which (as true words testify)
    • No soul can reach thy Heaven so fair and far.
    • 10 Even in this faith I choose to live and die.
    • Unto thy Son say thou that I am His,
    • And to me graceless make Him gracious.
    • Sad Mary of Egypt lacked not of that bliss,
    • Nor yet the sorrowful clerk Theophilus,
    • Whose bitter sins were set aside even thus
    • Image of page 181 page: 181
      Manuscript Addition: 112
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • Though to the Fiend his bounden service was.
    • Oh help me, lest in vain for me should pass
    • (Sweet Virgin that shalt have no loss thereby!)
    • The blessed Host and sacring of the Mass.
    • 20 Even in this faith I choose to live and die.
    • A pitiful poor woman, shrunk and old,
    • I am, and nothing learn'd in letter-lore.
    • Within my parish-cloister I behold
    • A painted Heaven where harps and lutes adore,
    • And eke an Hell whose damned folk seethe full sore:
    • One bringeth fear, the other joy to me.
    • That joy, great Goddess, make thou mine to be,—
    • Thou of whom all must ask it even as I;
    • And that which faith desires, that let it see.
    • 30 For in this faith I choose to live and die.
    • O excellent Virgin Princess! thou didst bear
    • King Jesus, the most excellent comforter,
    • Who even of this our weakness craved a share
    • And for our sake stooped to us from on high,
    • Offering to death His young life sweet and fair.
    • Such as He is, Our Lord, I Him declare,
    • And in this faith I choose to live and die.
    Image of page 182 page: 182

    (Old French.)
    • John of Tours is back with peace,
    • But he comes home ill at ease.
    • “Good-morrow, mother.” “Good-morrow, son;
    • Your wife has borne you a little one.”
    • “Go now, mother, go before,
    • Make me a bed upon the floor;
    • “Very low your foot must fall,
    • That my wife hear not at all.”
    • As it neared the midnight toll,
    • 10John of Tours gave up his soul.
    • “Tell me now, my mother my dear,
    • What's the crying that I hear?”
    • “Daughter, it's the children wake
    • Crying with their teeth that ache.”
    Image of page 183 page: 183
    Manuscript Addition: 113
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “Tell me though, my mother my dear,
    • What's the knocking that I hear?”
    • “Daughter, it's the carpenter
    • Mending planks upon the stair.”
    • “Tell me too, my mother my dear,
    • 20What's the singing that I hear?”
    • “Daughter, it's the priests in rows
    • Going round about our house.”
    • “Tell me then, my mother my dear,
    • What's the dress that I should wear?”
    • “Daughter, any reds or blues,
    • But the black is most in use.”
    • “Nay, but say, my mother my dear,
    • Why do you fall weeping here?”
    • “Oh! the truth must be said,—
    • 30It's that John of Tours is dead.”
    • “Mother, let the sexton know
    • That the grave must be for two;
    • “Aye, and still have room to spare,
    • For you must shut the baby there.”
    Image of page 184 page: 184

    (Old French.)
    • Inside my father's close,
    • (Fly away O my heart away!)
    • Sweet apple-blossom blows
    • So sweet.
    • Three kings' daughters fair,
    • (Fly away O my heart away!)
    • They lie below it there
    • So sweet.
    • “Ah!” says the eldest one,
    • 10 (Fly away O my heart away!)
    • “I think the day's begun
    • So sweet.”
    Image of page 185 page: 185
    Manuscript Addition: 114
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • “Ah!” says the second one,
    • (Fly away O my heart away!)
    • “Far off I hear the drum
    • So sweet.”
    • “Ah!” says the youngest one,
    • (Fly away O my heart away!)
    • “It's my true love, my own,
    • 20 So sweet.
    • “Oh! if he fight and win,”
    • (Fly away O my heart away!)
    • “I keep my love for him,
    • So sweet:
    • Oh! let him lose or win,
    • He hath it still complete.”
    Image of page 186 page: 186

    (A combination from Sappho.)
    • I.
    • Like the sweet apple which reddens upon the topmost
    • bough,
    • A-top on the topmost twig,—which the pluckers forgot,
    • somehow,—
    • Forgot it not, nay, but got it not, for none could get it
    • till now.
    • II.
    • Like the wild hyacinth flower which on the hills is
    • found,
    • Which the passing feet of the shepherds for ever tear
    • and wound,
    • Until the purple blossom is trodden into the ground.
    Image of page 241 page: 241
    Manuscript Addition: 113
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    Sig. Rossetti. 16
    SONG II.

    • Peace in her chamber, wheresoe'er
    • It be, a holy place:
    • The thought still brings my soul such grace
    • As morning meadows wear.
    • Whether it still be small and light,
    • A maid's who dreams alone,
    • As from her orchard-gate the moon
    • Its ceiling showed at night:
    • Or whether, in a shadow dense
    • 10 As nuptial hymns invoke,
    • Innocent maidenhood awoke
    • To married innocence:
    • There still the thanks unheard await
    • The unconscious gift bequeathed:
    • For there my soul this hour has breathed
    • An air inviolate.
    Image of page 242 page: 242

    • In a soft-complexioned sky,
    • Fleeting rose and kindling grey,
    • Have you seen Aurora fly
    • At the break of day?
    • So my maiden, so my plighted may
    • Blushing cheek and gleaming eye
    • Lifts to look my way.
    • Where the inmost leaf is stirred
    • With the heart-beat of the grove,
    • 10 Have you heard a hidden bird
    • Cast her note above?
    • So my lady, so my lovely love,
    • Echoing Cupid's prompted word,
    • Makes a tune thereof.
    Image of page 243 page: 243
    Manuscript Addition: R 261
    Editorial Description: Notation at upper left.
    Manuscript Addition: 114
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    Sig. 16*
    • Have you seen, at heaven's mid-height,
    • In the moon-rack's ebb and tide,
    • Venus leap forth burning white,
    • Dian pale and hide?
    • So my bright breast-jewel, so my bride,
    • 20 One sweet night, when fear takes flight,
    • Shall leap against my side.
    Image of page 244 page: 244
    SONG IV.

    • I have been here before,
    • But when or how I cannot tell:
    • I know the grass beyond the door,
    • The sweet keen smell,
    • The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
    • You have been mine before,—
    • How long ago I may not know:
    • But just when at that swallow's soar
    • Your neck turned so,
    • 10Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.
    • Has this been thus before?
    • And shall not thus time's eddying flight
    • Still with our lives our love restore
    • In death's despite,
    • And day and night yield one delight once more?
    Image of page 245 page: 245
    Manuscript Addition: 115
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    SONG V.

    • A little while a little love
    • The hour yet bears for thee and me
    • Who have not drawn the veil to see
    • If still our heaven be lit above.
    • Thou merely, at the day's last sigh,
    • Hast felt thy soul prolong the tone;
    • And I have heard the night-wind cry
    • And deemed its speech mine own.
    • A little while a little love
    • 10 The scattering autumn hoards for us
    • Whose bower is not yet ruinous
    • Nor quite unleaved our songless grove.
    • Only across the shaken boughs
    • We hear the flood-tides seek the sea,
    • And deep in both our hearts they rouse
    • One wail for thee and me.
    Image of page 246 page: 246
    • A little while a little love
    • May yet be ours who have not said
    • The word it makes our eyes afraid
    • 20To know that each is thinking of.
    • Not yet the end: be our lips dumb
    • In smiles a little season yet:
    • I'll tell thee, when the end is come,
    • How we may best forget.
    Image of page 247 page: 247
    Manuscript Addition: 116
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    SONG VI.

    • Say, is it day, is it dusk in thy bower,
    • Thou whom I long for, who longest for me?
    • Oh! be it light, be it night, 'tis Love's hour,
    • Love's that is fettered as Love's that is free.
    • Free Love has leaped to that innermost chamber,
    • Oh! the last time, and the hundred before:
    • Fettered Love, motionless, can but remember,
    • Yet something that sighs from him passes the door.
    • Nay, but my heart when it flies to thy bower,
    • 10 What does it find there that knows it again?
    • There it must droop like a shower-beaten flower,
    • Red at the rent core and dark with the rain.
    • Ah! yet what shelter is still shed above it,—
    • What waters still image its leaves torn apart?
    • Thy soul is the shade that clings round it to love it,
    • And tears are its mirror deep down in thy heart.
    Image of page 248 page: 248
    • What were my prize, could I enter thy bower,
    • This day, to-morrow, at eve or at morn?
    • Large lovely arms and a neck like a tower,
    • 20 Bosom then heaving that now lies forlorn.
    • Kindled with love-breath, (the sun's kiss is colder!)
    • Thy sweetness all near me, so distant to-day;
    • My hand round thy neck and thy hand on my shoulder,
    • My mouth to thy mouth as the world melts away.
    • What is it keeps me afar from thy bower,—
    • My spirit, my body, so fain to be there?
    • Waters engulfing or fires that devour?—
    • Earth heaped against me or death in the air?
    • Nay, but in day-dreams, for terror, for pity,
    • 30 The trees wave their heads with an omen to tell;
    • Nay, but in night-dreams, throughout the dark city,
    • The hours, clashed together, lose count in the bell.
    • Shall I not one day remember thy bower,
    • One day when all days are one day to me?—
    • Thinking, “I stirred not, and yet had the power,”—
    • Yearning, “Ah God, if again it might be!”
    • Image of page 249 page: 249
      Manuscript Addition: 117
      Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • Peace, peace! such a small lamp illumes, on this highway,
    • So dimly so few steps in front of my feet,—
    • Yet shows me that her way is parted from my way. . . .
    • 40 Out of sight, beyond light, at what goal may we meet?
    Image of page 250 page: 250

    • I did not look upon her eyes,
    • (Though scarcely seen, with no surprise,
    • 'Mid many eyes a single look,)
    • Because they should not gaze rebuke,
    • At night, from stars in sky and brook.
    • I did not take her by the hand,
    • (Though little was to understand
    • From touch of hand all friends might take,)
    • Because it should not prove a flake
    • 10Burnt in my palm to boil and ache.
    • I did not listen to her voice,
    • (Though none had noted, where at choice
    • All might rejoice in listening,)
    • Because no such a thing should cling
    • In the wood's moan at evening.
    Image of page 251 page: 251
    Manuscript Addition: 118
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    • I did not cross her shadow once,
    • (Though from the hollow west the sun's
    • Last shadow runs along so far,)
    • Because in June it should not bar
    • 20My ways, at noon when fevers are.
    • They told me she was sad that day,
    • (Though wherefore tell what love's soothsay,
    • Sooner than they, did register?)
    • And my heart leapt and wept to her,
    • And yet I did not speak nor stir.
    • So shall the tongues of the sea's foam
    • (Though many voices therewith come
    • From drowned hope's home to cry to me,)
    • Bewail one hour the more, when sea
    • 30And wind are one with memory.
    Image of page 252 page: 252
    Printer's Direction: tr after / “Even So”
    Editorial Description: DGR's note for transposition of positions of poems.

    • The wind flapped loose, the wind was still,
    • Shaken out dead from tree and hill:
    • I had walked on at the wind's will,—
    • I sat now, for the wind was still.
    • Between my knees my forehead was,—
    • My lips, drawn in, said not Alas!
    • My hair was over in the grass,
    • My naked ears heard the day pass.
    • My eyes, wide open, had the run
    • 10Of some ten weeds to fix upon;
    • Among those few, out of the sun,
    • The woodspurge flowered, three cups in one.
    • From perfect grief there need not be
    • Wisdom or even memory:
    • One thing then learnt remains to me,—
    • The woodspurge has a cup of three.
    Image of page 253 page: 253
    Manuscript Addition: 119
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    SONG IX.

    • I plucked a honeysuckle where
    • The hedge on high is quick with thorn,
    • And climbing for the prize, was torn,
    • And fouled my feet in quag-water;
    • And by the thorns and by the wind
    • The blossom that I took was thinn'd,
    • And yet I found it sweet and fair.
    • Thence to a richer growth I came,
    • Where, nursed in mellow intercourse,
    • 10 The honeysuckles sprang by scores,
    • Not harried like my single stem,
    • All virgin lamps of scent and dew.
    • So from my hand that first I threw,
    • Yet plucked not any more of them.
    Image of page 254 page: 254
    SONG X.

    • These little firs to-day are things
    • To clasp into a giant's cap,
    • Or fans to suit his lady's lap.
    • From many winters many springs
    • Shall cherish them in strength and sap,
    • Till they be marked upon the map,
    • A wood for the wind's wanderings.
    • All seed is in the sower's hands:
    • And what at first was trained to spread
    • 10 Its shelter for some single head,—
    • Yea, even such fellowship of wands,—
    • May hide the sunset, and the shade
    • Of its great multitude be laid
    • Upon the earth and elder sands.
    Image of page 255 page: 255
    Manuscript Addition: 120
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    SONG XI.

    • 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;
    • Image of page 256 page: 256
    • Those voices of twin solitudes
    • Shall have one sound alike to thee:
    • Hark where the murmurs of thronged men
    • 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.
    page: 269
    Manuscript Addition: 127
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.

    (For a Picture.)
    Deleted Text
    • Of Adam's first wife, Lilith, it is told
    • (The witch he loved before the gift of Eve,)
    • That, ere the snake's, her sweet tongue could deceive,
    • And her enchanted hair was the first gold.
    • And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
    • And, subtly of herself contemplative,
    • Draws men to watch the bright net she can weave,
    • Till heart and body and life are in its hold.
    • The rose and poppy are her flowers; for where
    • 10 Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed scent
    • And soft-shed kisses and soft sleep shall snare?
    • Lo! as that youth's eyes burned at thine, so went
    • Thy spell through him, and left his straight neck bent,
    • And round his heart one strangling golden hair.
    Image of page 270 page: 270
    Note: The sonnet is crossed through by DGR.
    Printer's Direction: Stet / to follow / Venus Verticordia / page 268 270
    Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer

    (For a Picture.)
    • Under the arch of Life, where love and death,
    • Terror and mystery, guard her shrine, I saw
    • Beauty enthroned; and though her gaze struck awe,
    • I drew it in as simply as my breath.
    • Hers are the eyes which, over and beneath,
    • The sky and sea bend on thee,—which can draw,
    • By sea or sky or woman, to one law,
    • The allotted bondman of her palm and wreath.
    • This is that Lady Beauty, in whose praise
    • 10 Thy voice and hand shake still,—long known to thee
    • By flying hair and fluttering hem,—the beat
    • Following her daily of thy heart and feet,
    • How passionately and irretrievably,
    • In what fond flight, how many ways and days!
    page: 273
    Manuscript Addition: 129
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    Sig. Rossetti. 18
    • “O Hector, gone, gone, gone! O Hector, thee
    • Two chariots wait, in Troy long bless'd and curs'd;
    • And Grecian spear and Phrygian sand athirst
    • Crave from thy veins the blood of victory.
    • Lo! long upon our hearth the brand had we,
    • Lit for the roof-tree's ruin: and to-day
    • The ground-stone quits the wall,—the wind hath way,—
    • And higher and higher the wings of fire are free.
    • O Paris, Paris! O thou burning brand,
    • 10 Thou beacon of the sea whence Venus rose,
    • Lighting thy race to shipwreck! Even that hand
    • Wherewith she took thine apple let her close
    • Within thy curls at last, and while Troy glows
    • Lift thee her trophy to the sea and land.”
    Image of page 274 page: 274

    (For a Picture.)
    • What of the end, Pandora? Was it thine,
    • The deed that set these fiery pinions free?
    • Ah! wherefore did the Olympian consistory
    • In its own likeness make thee half divine?
    • Was it that Juno's brow might stand a sign
    • For ever? and the mien of Pallas be
    • A deadly thing? and that all men might see
    • In Venus' eyes the gaze of Proserpine?
    • What of the end? These beat their wings at will,
    • 10The ill-born things, the good things turned to ill,—
    • Powers of the impassioned hours prohibited.
    • Aye, hug clench the casket now! Whither they go
    • Thou mayst not dare to think: nor canst thou know
    • If Hope still pent there be alive or dead.
    Image of page 275 page: 275
    Manuscript Addition: 130
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    Sig. 18*
    • Not that the earth is changing, O my God!
    • Nor that the seasons totter in their walk,—
    • Not that the virulent ill of act and talk
    • Seethes ever as a winepress ever trod,—
    • Not therefore are we certain that the rod
    • Weighs in thine hand to smite thy world; though now
    • Beneath thine hand so many nations bow,
    • So many kings:—not therefore, O my God!—
    • But because Man is parcelled out in men
    • 10 Even thus To-day; because, for any wrongful blow,
    • No man not stricken asks, “I would be told
    • Why thou dost strike thus;” but his heart whispers then,
    • “He is he, I am I.” By this we know
    • That the our earth falls asunder, being old.
    Image of page 276 page: 276
    Manuscript Addition: Fig 7 213
    Editorial Description: Notation in upper left
    • As he that loves oft looks on the dear form
    • And guesses how it grew to womanhood,
    • And gladly would have watched the beauties bud
    • And the mild fire of precious life wax warm:—
    • So I, long bound within the threefold charm
    • Of Dante's love sublimed to heavenly mood,
    • Had marvelled, touching his Beatitude,
    • How grew such presence from man's shameful swarm.
    • At length within this book I found pourtrayed
    • 10 Newborn that Paradisal Love of his,
    • And simple like a child; with whose clear aid
    • I understood. To such a child as this,
    • Christ, charging well his chosen ones, forbade
    • Offence: “for lo! of such my kingdom is.”
    Image of page 277 page: 277
    Manuscript Addition: 131
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.

    (In Memory of my Father.)
    • And did'st thou know indeed, when at the font
    • Together with thy name thou gav'st me his,
    • That also on thy son must Beatrice
    • Decline her eyes according to her wont,
    • Accepting me to be of those that haunt
    • The vale of magical dark mysteries
    • Where to the hills her poet's foot-track lies
    • And wisdom's living fountain to his chaunt
    • Trembles in music? This is that steep land
    • 10 Where he that holds his journey stands at gaze
    • Tow'rd sunset, when the clouds like a new height
    • Seem piled to climb. These things I understand:
    • For here, where day still soothes my lifted face,
    • On thy bowed head, my father, fell the night.
    Image of page 278 page: 278
    • She fluted with her mouth as when one sips ,
    • And gently waved her golden head, inclin'd
    • Outside his cage close to the window-blind;
    • Till her fond bird, with little turns and dips,
    • Piped low to her of sweet companionships.
    • And when he made an end, some seed took she
    • And fed him from her tongue, which rosily
    • Peeped as a piercing bud between her lips.
    • And like the child in Chaucer, on whose tongue
    • 10 The Blessed Mary laid, when he was dead,
    • A grain,—who straightway praised her name in song:
    • Even so, when she, a little lightly red,
    • Now turned on me and laughed, I heard the throng
    • Of inner voices praise her golden head.
    Image of page 279 page: 279
    • Weary already, weary miles to-night
    • I walked for bed: and so, to get some ease,
    • I dogged the flying moon with similes.
    • And like a wisp she doubled on my sight
    • In ponds; and caught in tree-tops like a kite;
    • And in a globe of film all vapourish
    • Swam full-faced like a silly silver fish;—
    • Last like a bubble shot the welkin's height
    • Where my road turned, and got behind me, and sent
    • 10 My wizened shadow craning round at me,
    • And jeered, “So, step the measure,—one two three!”—
    • And if I faced on her, looked innocent.
    • But just at parting, halfway down a dell,
    • She kissed me for goodnight. So you'll not tell.
    Image of page 280 page: 280
    Deleted Text
    • This sunlight shames November where he grieves
    • In dead red leaves, and will not let him shun
    • The day, though bough with bough be over-run.
    • But with a blessing every glade receives
    • High salutation; while from hillock-eaves
    • The deer gaze calling, dappled white and dun,
    • As if, being foresters of old, the sun
    • Had marked them with the shade of forest-leaves.
    • Here dawn to-day unveiled her magic glass;
    • 10 Here noon now gives the thirst and takes the dew;
    • Till eve bring rest when other good things pass.
    • And here the lost hours the lost hours renew
    • While I still lead my shadow o'er the grass,
    • Nor know, for longing, that which I should do.
    Image of page 281 page: 281
    Manuscript Addition: 133
    Editorial Description: Number added at lower right.
    Deleted Text
    • Sweet stream-fed glen, why say “farewell” to thee
    • Who far'st so well and find'st for ever smooth
    • The brow of Time where man may read no ruth?
    • Nay, do thou rather say “farewell” to me,
    • Who now fare forth in bitterer fantasy
    • Than erst was mine where other shade might soothe
    • By other streams, what while in fragrant youth
    • The bliss of being sad made melancholy.
    • And yet, farewell! For better shalt thou fare
    • 10 When children bathe sweet faces in thy flow
    • And happy lovers blend sweet shadows there
    • In hours to come, than when an hour ago
    • Thine echoes had but one man's sighs to bear
    • And thy trees whispered what he feared to know.
    Image of page 282 page: 282

    (Written during Music.)
    Deleted Text
    • Is it the moved air or the moving sound
    • That is Life's self and draws my life from me,
    • And by instinct ineffable decree
    • Holds my breath quailing on the bitter bound?
    • Nay, is it Life or Death, thus thunder-crown'd,
    • That 'mid the tide of all emergency
    • Now notes my separate wave, and to what sea
    • Its difficult eddies labour in the ground?
    • Oh! what is this that knows the road I came,
    • 10The flame turned cloud, the cloud returned to flame,
    • The lifted shifted steeps and all the way?—
    • That draws round me at last this wind-warm space,
    • And in regenerate rapture turns my face
    • Upon the devious coverts of dismay?
    Electronic Archive Edition: 1
    Copyright: Reproduced with permission of the Delaware Art Museum