Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Poems. (Privately Printed.): Second Trial Book (partial), author's working copy, Princeton/Troxell.
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1869 November 25
Printer: Strangeways and Walden

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

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Editorial Description: The note to the printer is cancelled and only a few words are decipherable.
Editorial Description: A line, possibly to indicate deletion, appears over the dash at the end of received line 17.
P O E M S.

Sig. B
  • Helen knelt at Venus' shrine,
  • ( O Troy Town!)
  • Saying, ‘A little gift is mine,
  • A little gift for a heart's desire.
  • Hear me speak and make me a sign!
  • ( O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • ‘Look, I bring thee a carven cup;
  • ( O Troy Town!)
  • 10See it here as I hold it up,—
  • Shaped it is to the heart's desire,
  • Fit to fill when the gods would sup.
  • ( O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
Transcribed Footnote (page [1]):

*Herodotus says that Helen dedicated to Venus a cup made in

the likeness of her own bosom.

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  • ‘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!
  • 20 ( O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • ‘See my breast, how like it is;
  • ( 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!)
  • ‘Yea, for my bosom here I sue;
  • 30 ( O Troy Town!)
  • Thou must give it where 'tis due,
  • Give it there to the heart's desire.
  • Whom 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:—
  • 40Say, who brought it then to thy feet?
  • ( O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
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  • ‘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!)
  • 50‘Mine are apples grown to the south,
  • ( O Troy Town!)
  • Grown to taste in the days of drouth,
  • Taste 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,
  • 60Saw the work of her heart's desire:—
  • ‘There thou kneel'st for Love to lift!’
  • ( O Troy's down,
  • 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,
  • 70 Tall Troy's on fire!)
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Printer's Direction: ++
Editorial Description: A plus mark that appears to be in DGR's hand, and a larger mark that seems to have been added separately, are in the right margin after the last stanza. Their meaning is unclear.
  • Cupid looked on Helen's breast,
  • ( O Troy Town!)
  • Saw the heart within its nest,
  • Saw the flame of the heart's desire ,—
  • ;
  • Added TextMarked his arrow's burning crest.
  • There his arrow stood confess'd.
  • ( O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
  • Cupid took another dart,
  • ( O Troy Town!)
  • 80Fledged it for another heart,
  • Winged the shaft with the heart's desire,
  • Drew the string and said, ‘Depart!’
  • ( 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!’
  • 90 ( O Troy's down,
  • Tall Troy's on fire!)
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Printer's Direction: Put this after the / Burden of Nineveh / page 26 Love's Nocturn (page 20) Put this after the / Burden of Nineveh / page 26
Editorial Description: Note on placement of the poem
Printer's Direction: Inserted
Editorial Description: Not in DGR's hand
  • It was Lilith the wife of Adam:
  • ( Eden bower's in flower.)
  • 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!)
  • 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.
  • ‘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.
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Printer's Direction: Sig. D
Editorial Description: Note on placement of the type, in left margin beneath stanza 9.
  • ‘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.
  • ‘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.
Note: Pages 7-14 not included in these proofs.
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Printer's Direction: Roman type like the rest
Editorial Description: Note on printing received lines 19-24.
Printer's Direction: Put further in
Editorial Description: Note on printing received line 44.
  • (To one, it is ten years of years.
  • . . . 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
  • 10 The which is Space begun;
  • So high, that looking downward thence
  • 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.
  • Heard hardly, some of her new friends
  • 20 Amid their loving games
  • Spake evermore among themselves
  • Their virginal chaste 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;
  • Image of page 16 page: 16
    Printer's Direction: Roman
    Editorial Description: Note on printing received lines 61-66.
  • Until her bosom must have made
  • The bar she leaned on warm,
  • And the lilies lay as if asleep
  • 30 Along her bended arm.
  • From the fixed place of Heaven she saw
  • 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
  • 40 She spoke through the still weather.
  • Her voice was like the voice the stars
  • Had when they sang together.
  • (Ah Sweet! Just 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,
  • 50 For he will come,’ she said.
  • ‘Have I not prayed in Heaven?—on earth,
  • Lord, Lord, has he not pray'd?
  • Image of page 17 page: 17
    Sig. C
  • 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,
  • 60 And bathe there in God's sight.
  • ‘We two will stand beside that shrine,
  • Occult, withheld, untrod,
  • 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
  • 70 Is sometimes felt to be,
  • While every leaf that His plumes touch
  • 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.’
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Printer's Direction: Roman
Editorial Description: Note on printing received lines 97-102.
  • (Alas! We two, we two, thou say'st!
  • 80 Yea, one wast thou with me
  • That once of old. But shall God lift
  • To endless unity
  • The soul whose likeness with thy soul
  • Was but its love for thee?)
  • ‘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,
  • 90 Margaret and Rosalys.
  • ‘Circlewise sit they, with bound locks
  • 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,
  • 100 Not once abashed or weak:
  • And the dear Mother will approve
  • My pride, and let me speak.
  • ‘Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,
  • To Him round whom all souls
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    Printer's Direction: Roman
    Editorial Description: Note on correcting italic texts in received lines 139 and 144.
  • Kneel, the clear-ranged unnumbered heads
  • Bowed with their aureoles:
  • And angels meeting us shall sing
  • To their citherns and citoles.
  • ‘There will I ask of Christ the Lord
  • 110 Thus much for him and me:—
  • Only to live as once on earth
  • 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.
  • 120 Her eyes prayed, and she smil'd.
  • ( I saw her smile). But soon their path
  • 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,
  • Dreamland 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.
  • There the dreams are multitudes:
  • Some whose bouyance waits not 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.
Note: Pages 21-22 not included in these proofs.
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  • Song shall tell how glad and strong
  • Is the night she soothes alway;
  • Moan 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
  • 30 The world's fluent woes prefer,—
  • Not the praise the world doth give,
  • Dulcet fulsome whisperer;—
  • Let it yield my love to her,
  • 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,
  • 40 Heartless, hopeless of their way,
  • Rest and call;—
  • There her glance doth fall and stay.
  • Suddenly her face is there:
  • 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.
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  • 50Master, bid my shadow bend
  • Whispering thus till birth of light,
  • Lest new shapes that sleep may send
  • Scatter all its work to flight;—
  • 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,—
  • 60 Ah! and if my spirit's queen
  • Smile those alien words between,—
  • Ah! poor shade!
  • Shall it strive, or fade unseen?
  • Like a vapour wan and mute,
  • Like a flame, so let it pass;
  • One low sigh across her lute,
  • One dull breath against her glass;
  • And to my sad soul, alas!
  • One salute
  • 70 Cold as when death's foot shall pass.
  • How 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 sunken air to know.
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  • Then, too, let all hopes of mine,
  • All vain hopes by night and day,
  • 80Slowly at thy summoning sign
  • Rise up pallid and obey.
  • Dreams, if this is thus, were they:—
  • Be they thine,
  • And to dreamland pine away.
  • Yet from old time, life, not death,
  • Master, in thy rule is rife:
  • Lo! through thee, with mingling breath,
  • Adam woke beside his wife.
  • O Love bring me so, for strife,
  • 90 Force and faith,
  • Bring me so not death but life!
  • Yea, to Love himself is pour'd
  • This frail song of hope and fear .
  • Thou art Love, of one accord
  • With kind Sleep to bring her near,
  • Still-eyed, deep-eyed, ah how dear!
  • Master, Lord,
  • In her name implor'd, O hear!
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  • 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;
  • 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
Note: Pages 27-28 not included in these proofs.
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  • 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:
  • 30 ‘Rome,—Babylon and Nineveh.’
  • Deemed they of this, those worshippers,
  • When, in some mythic chain of verse
  • Which man shall not again rehearse,
  • The faces of thy ministers
  • Yearned pale with bitter ecstasy?
  • Greece, Egypt, Rome,—did any god
  • Before whose feet men knelt unshod
  • Deem that in this unblest abode
  • Another scarce more unknown god
  • 40 Should house with him , from Nineveh?
  • Ah! in what quarries lay the stone
  • From which this pigmy pile has grown,
  • Unto man's need how long unknown,
  • Since thy vast temples, court and cone,
  • Rose far in desert history?
  • Ah! what is here that does not lie
  • All strange to thine awakened eye?
  • Image of page 30 page: 30
  • Ah! what is here can testify
  • (Save that dumb presence of the sky)
  • 50 Unto thy day and Nineveh?
  • Why, of those mummies in the room
  • Above, there might indeed have come
  • One out of Egypt to thy home,
  • An alien. Nay, but were not some
  • Of these thine own ‘antiquity?’
  • And now,—they and their gods and thou
  • All relics here together,—now
  • Whose profit? whether bull or cow,
  • Isis or Ibis, who or how,
  • 60 Whether of Thebes or Nineveh?
  • The consecrated metals found,
  • And ivory tablets, underground,
  • Winged teraphim and creatures crown'd,
  • When air and daylight filled the mound,
  • Fell into dust immediately.
  • And even as these, the images
  • Of awe and worship,—even as these,—
  • So, smitten with the sun's increase,
  • Her glory mouldered and did cease
  • 70 From immemorial Nineveh.
  • The day her builders made their halt,
  • Those cities of the lake of salt
Note: Pages 31-32 not included in these proofs.
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Sig. D
  • Some tribe of the Australian plough
  • Bear him afar,—a relic now
  • 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
  • 80 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
  • Unto the God of Nineveh.
  • The smile rose first,—anon drew nigh
  • The thought: . . . Those heavy wings spread high
  • So sure of flight, which do not fly;
  • That set gaze never on the sky;
  • 90 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,—
  • Thine also, mighty Nineveh?
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Printer's Direction: Before this put Eden Bower page 5
Editorial Description: Placement directions for printer
  • 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
  • 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
Note: Pages 35-38 not included in these proofs.
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Printer's Direction: Before this print/put A Last Confession
Editorial Description: Placement directions for printer
  • ‘Who owns 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.’
  • ‘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.
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Printer's Direction: Sig. E
Editorial Description: Note on placement of the type, in margin before received stanza 8.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Note: Pages 41-44 not included in these proofs.
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  • 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,
  • 50 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,
  • My gift and grace!’
  • Then stepped a damsel to her side,
  • And sp a oke, and needs must weep:
  • ‘For his sake, lady, if he died,
  • He prayed of thee to keep
  • 60 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,
  • Five years, ten years.
  • 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
  • 70 A message flung.
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  • 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,
  • 80 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.
  • 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
  • 90 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
  • That she is thine.
Image of page 47 page: 47
  • Not tithed with days' and years' decease
  • He pays thy wage He owed,
  • But with imperishable peace
  • Here in His own abode,
  • 100 Thy jealous God.
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Printer's Direction: Before this print A Last Confession, / Jenny, Portrait, & Dante / at Verona / page / 172 / &c / &c / &c
Editorial Description: Placement directions for printer
  • ‘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!)
  • ‘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?)
Image of page 49 page: 49
Sig. E
  • ‘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!)
  • ‘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?)
Image of page 50 page: 50
  • 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?)
  • ‘I hear a horse-tread, and I see,
  • Sister Helen,
  • Three horsemen that ride terribly.’
  • 60‘Little 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 Holm Weir of East Holm 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 51 page: 51
  • ‘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 Holm Weir 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!)
  • ‘For three days now he has lain abed,
  • 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!)
  • ‘But he has not ceased to cry to-day,
  • 100 Sister Helen,
  • That you should take your curse away.’
  • My prayer was heard,—he need but pray,
  • Little brother!’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Shall God not hear, between Hell and Heaven?)
Image of page 52 page: 52
  • ‘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,
  • 110 Little brother?’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • A living soul, between Hell and Heaven!)
  • ‘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!)
  • 120‘Here's Holm Weir of West Holm Westholm riding fast,
  • Sister Helen,
  • For I know the white plume on the blast.’
  • ‘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.’
  • 130‘Nay hear, nay hear, you must hear perforce,
  • Little brother!’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • A word ill heard, between Hell and Heaven!)
Image of page 53 page: 53
Note: The type for the right single quote at the end of line 145/152 appears broken here and in other versions of this proof.
  • ‘Oh he says that Holm Weir of Ewern's cry,
  • Sister Helen,
  • Is ever to see you ere he die.’
  • ‘He sees me in earth, in moon and sky,
  • Little brother!’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • 140 Earth, moon and sky, between Hell and Heaven!)
  • ‘He sends a ring and a broken coin,
  • Sister Helen,
  • 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, between Hell and Heaven!)
  • ‘He yields you these and craves full fain,
  • Sister Helen,
  • 150 You pardon him in his mortal pain.’
  • ‘What else he took will he give again,
  • Little brother?’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • No more again, 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!’
  • 160 ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Love turned to hate, between Hell and Heaven!)
Image of page 54 page: 54
Note: In line 175/182 "end" is followed by two sequential commas.
  • ‘Oh it's Holm Weir of Holm Weir now that rides fast,
  • Sister Helen,
  • For I know the white hair on the blast.’
  • ‘The short short hour will soon be past,
  • Litle brother!’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Will soon be past, between Hell and Heaven!)
  • ‘He looks at me and he tries to speak,
  • 170 Sister Helen,
  • But oh! his voice is sad and weak!’
  • ‘What here should the mighty Baron seek,
  • 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,
  • 180 Little brother!’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • As she forgives, between Hell and Heaven!)
  • ‘Oh he prays you, as his heart would rive,
  • Sister Helen,
  • To save his dear son's soul alive.
  • ‘Nay, flame cannot slay it, it shall thrive,
  • Little brother!’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Alas, alas, between Hell and Heaven!)
Image of page 55 page: 55
  • 190‘He cries to you, kneeling in the road,
  • Sister Helen,
  • To go with him for the love of God!’
  • ‘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.’
  • 200‘No vesper-chime, but a dying knell,
  • Little brother!’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • His dying knell, between Hell and Heaven!)
  • ‘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,
  • 210 What would she more, between Hell and Heaven?)
  • ‘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!)
Image of page 56 page: 56
  • ‘Oh the wind is sad in the iron chill,
  • Sister Helen,
  • 220 And weary sad they look by the hill.’
  • ‘But Holm of Ewern's he they mourn is sadder still,
  • Little brother!’
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Most sad of all, between Hell and Heaven!)
  • ‘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!’
  • 230 ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Here for a space, between Hell and Heaven!)
  • ‘Ah! what white thing at the door has cross'd,
  • Sister Helen?
  • 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!)
Note: Pages 57-64 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 65 page: 65
Printer's Direction: [Delete sign] the whole of this poem
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer. The whole text is crossed by hand.
Sig. F
Deleted Text
  • The shadows fall along the wall,
  • It's night at Haye-la-Serre;
  • The maidens weave since day grew eve,
  • The lady's in her chair.
  • O passing slow the long hours go
  • With time to think and sigh,
  • When weary maidens weave beneath
  • A listless lady's eye.
  • It's two days that Earl Simon's gone
  • 10 And it's the second night;
  • At Haye-la-Serre the lady's fair,
  • In June the moon is light.
  • O it's ‘Maids, ye'll wake till I come back,’
  • And the hound's i' the lady's chair:
  • No shuttles fly, the work stands by,
  • It's play at Haye-la-Serre.
  • The night is worn, the lamp's forlorn,
  • The shadows waste and fail;
  • There's morning air at Haye-la-Serre,
  • 20 The watching maids look pale.
Image of page 66 page: 66
  • O all unmarked the birds at dawn
  • Where drowsy maidens be;
  • But heard too soon the lark's first tune
  • Beneath the trysting-tree.
  • ‘Hold me thy hand, sweet Dennis Shand,
  • Says the Lady Joan de Haye,
  • ‘That thou to-morrow do forget
  • To-day and yesterday.
  • ‘For many a weary month to come
  • 30 My lord keeps house with me,
  • And sighing summer must lie cold
  • In winter's company.
  • ‘And many an hour I'll pass thee by
  • And see thee and be seen;
  • Yet not a glance must tell by chance
  • How sweet these hours have been.
  • ‘We've all to fear; there's Maud the spy,
  • There's Ann whose face I scor'd,
  • There's Blanch tells Huot everything,
  • 40 And Huot loves my lord.
  • ‘But O and it's my Dennis'll know,
  • When my eyes look weary dim,
  • Who finds the gold for his girdle-fee
  • And who keeps love for him.’
Note: Pages 67-70 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 71 page: 71
  • 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
  • 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
  • 10 And know she calls it Death.
Image of page 72 page: 72
  • Sh f e 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.
Transcribed Footnote (page 72):

* This little poem, written in 1847, was printed in a periodical

at the outset of 1850 , a month or two before the appearance of ‘ In

’, with which the metre (to be met with in old English

writers) is now identified.
. The metre which is used by several old English writers ? became celebrated a month or two later on the publication of In Memoriam.

Image of page 73 page: 73
  • 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, which all the by dwindling years
  • Hear 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.
  • 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.
Image of page 74 page: 74
Printer's Direction: Insert A New Year's Burden / and Even So p. 121-2
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer.
  • 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 stooped 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.
  • 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!’
Note: Pages 75-78 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 79 page: 79

(François Villon, 1450.)
  • 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 80 page: 80

( 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, the children are awake,
  • Crying with their teeth that ache.’
  • ‘Tell me though, my mother my dear,
  • What's the knocking that I hear?’
  • ‘Daughter, it's the carpenter
  • Mending planks upon the stair.’
Note: Pages 81-84 not included in these proofs.
Image of page [85] page: [85]

Towards a Work to be called

Image of page [86] page: [86]
Manuscript Addition: (The first twenty-six sonnets and the seven / first songs treat of love. These and the / others would belong to separate sections / of the projected work.)
Editorial Description: DGR adds here in manuscript the note that would eventually apear in print.
Printer's Direction: NB / The above note to be printed / in the centre of this page / between brackets, in the same / small type as is used for / the footnotes Italian song at pages 182-183.
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer.
Note: The page was originally a blank page.
Image of page 87 page: 87
Printer's Direction: The page heading all along this section to be The House of Life.
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer on the running head.
Printer's Direction: XXVII
Editorial Description: DGR's faint pencil addition above the sonnet.
Printer's Direction: SONNET I
Editorial Description: Deleted note just above the sonnet.
  • The changing guests, each in a different mood,
  • Sit at the roadside table and arise:
  • And every life among them in likewise
  • Is a soul's board set daily with new food.
  • What man has bent o'er his son's sleep, to brood
  • How that face shall watch his when cold it lies?—
  • Or thought, as his own mother kissed his eyes,
  • Of what her kiss was when his father wooed?
  • May not this ancient room thou sit'st in dwell
  • 10 In separate living souls for joy or pain?
  • Nay, all its corners may be painted plain
  • Where Heaven shows pictures of some life spent well;
  • And may be stamped, a memory all in vain,
  • Upon the sight of lidless eyes in Hell.
Image of page 88 page: 88
Printer's Direction: 28
Editorial Description: Faint addition above the sonnet.
  • As two whose love, first foolish, widening scope,
  • Knows suddenly, with music high and soft,
  • The Holy of holies; who because they scoff'd
  • Are now amazed with shame, nor dare to cope
  • With the whole truth in words aloud, lest heaven should ope;
  • Yet, at their meetings, laugh not as they laugh'd
  • In speech; nor speak, at length; but sitting oft
  • Together, within hopeless sight of hope
  • For hours are silent:—So it happeneth
  • 10 When Work and Will awake too late, to gaze
  • After their life sailed by, and hold their breath.
  • Ah! who shall dare to search through what sad maze
  • Thenceforth their incommunicable ways
  • Follow the desultory feet of Death?
Note: Pages 89-90 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 91 page: 91
  • This feast-day of the sun, his altar there
  • In the broad west has blazed for vesper-song;
  • And I have loitered in the vale too long
  • And gaze now a belated worshipper.
  • Yet may I not forget that I was 'ware,
  • So journeying, of his face at intervals
  • Transfigured where the fringed horizon falls,—
  • A fiery bush with coruscating hair.
  • And now that I have climbed and won this height,
  • 10 I must tread downward through the sloping shade
  • And travel the bewildered tracks till night.
  • Yet for this hour I still may here be stayed
  • And see the gold air and the silver fade
  • And the last bird fly into the last light.
Image of page 92 page: 92
Printer's Direction: Here the Nos. / as in order / Sonnets XXX
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer indicating that the sonnets are now to be headed with roman numerals to indicate their sequencing.

( Three Sonnets.)
  • Eat thou and drink; to-morrow thou shalt die.
  • Surely the earth, that's wise being very old,
  • Needs not our help. Then loose me, love, and hold
  • Thy sultry hair up from my face; that I
  • May pour for thee this yellow wine, brim-high,
  • Till round the glass thy fingers glow like gold.
  • We'll drown all hours: thy song, while hours are toll'd,
  • Shall leap, as fountains veil the changing sky.
  • Now kiss, and think that there are really those,
  • 10 My own high-bosomed beauty, who increase
  • Vain gold, vain lore, and yet might choose our way!
  • Through many days they toil; then comes a day
  • They die not,—never having lived,—but cease;
  • And round their narrow lips the mould falls close.
Image of page 93 page: 93
  • Watch thou and fear; to-morrow thou shalt die.
  • Or art thou sure thou shalt have time for death?
  • Is not the day which God's word promiseth
  • To come man knows not when? In yonder sky,
  • Now while we speak, the sun speeds forth: can I
  • Or thou assure him of his goal? God's breath
  • Perchance even at this moment Even at this moment haply quickeneth
  • The air to a flame; till spirits, always nigh
  • Though screened and hid, shall walk the daylight here.
  • 10 And dost thou prate of that which all that man shall do?
  • Canst thou, who hast but plagues, presume to be
  • Glad in his gladness that comes after thee?
  • Will his strength slay thy worm in Hell? Go to:
  • Cover thy countenance, and watch, and fear.
Image of page 94 page: 94
  • Think thou and act; to-morrow thou shalt die.
  • Stretching thyself i' the sun Outstretched in the sun's warmth upon the shore,
  • Thou say'st: ‘Man's measured path is all gone o'er:
  • Up all his years, steeply, with strain and sigh,
  • Man clomb until he touched the truth; and I,
  • Even I, am he whom it was destined for.’
  • How should this be? Art thou then so much more
  • Than they who sowed, that thou shouldst reap thereby?
  • Nay, come up hither. From this wave-washed mound
  • 10 Unto the horizon-brim look thou furthest flood-brim look with me;
  • Then reach on with thy thought till it be drown'd.
  • Miles and miles distant though the horizon grey line be,
  • And though thy thought soul sail leagues and leagues beyond,—
  • Still, leagues beyond those leagues, there is more sea.
Note: Pages 95-96 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 97 page: 97
Sig. H
  • The lost days of my life until to-day,
  • What were they, could I see them on the street
  • Lie as they fell? Would they be ears of wheat
  • Sown once for food but trodden into clay?
  • Or golden coins squandered and still to pay?
  • Or drops of blood dabbling the guilty feet?
  • Or such spilt water as in dreams must cheat
  • The throats of men in Hell, who thirst alway?
  • I do not see them here; but after death
  • 10 God knows I know the faces I shall see,
  • Each one a murdered self, with low last breath.
  • ‘I am thyself,—what hast thou done to me?’
  • ‘And I—and I—thyself,’ (lo! each one saith,)
  • ‘And thou thyself to all eternity!’
Image of page 98 page: 98
  • When first that horse, within whose populous womb
  • The birth was D death, o'ershadowed Troy with fate,
  • Her elders, dubious of its Grecian freight,
  • Brought Helen there to sing the songs of home:
  • She whispered, ‘Friends, I am alone; come, come!’
  • Then, crouched within, Ulysses waxed afraid,
  • And on his comrades' quivering mouths he laid
  • His hands, and held them till the voice was dumb.
  • The same was he who, lashed to his own mast,
  • 10 There where the sea-flowers screen the charnel-caves,
  • Beside the sirens' singing island pass'd,
  • Till sweetness failed along the inveterate waves. . . .
  • Say, soul,—are songs of Death no heaven to thee,
  • Nor shames her lip the cheek of Victory?
Note: Pages 99-102 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 103 page: 103
Printer's Direction: Here the Nos. / as coming in order / Sonnets XX XX
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer indicating that the sonnets are now to be headed with roman numerals to indicate their sequencing.
Printer's Direction: 43, 44
Editorial Description: Faint addition above the sonnets.

( Two Sonnets.)
  • To-day Death seems to me an infant child
  • Which her worn mother Life upon my knee
  • Has set to grow my friend and play with me;
  • If haply so my heart might be beguil'd
  • To find no terrors in a face so mild,—
  • If haply so my weary heart might be
  • Unto the newborn milky eyes of thee,
  • O Death, before resentment reconcil'd.
  • How long, O Death? And shall thy feet depart
  • 10 Still a young child's with mine, or wilt thou stand
  • Fullgrown the helpful daughter of my heart,
  • What time with thee indeed I reach the strand
  • Of the pale wave which knows thee what thou art,
  • And drink it in the hollow of thy hand?
Image of page 104 page: 104
  • And thou, O Life, the lady of all bliss,
  • With whom, when our first heart beat full and fast,
  • I wandered till the haunts of men were pass'd,
  • And in fair places found all bowers amiss
  • Till only woods and waves might hear our kiss,
  • While to the winds all thought of Death we cast:—
  • Ah, Life! and must I have from thee at last
  • No smile to greet me and no babe but this?
  • Lo! Love, the child once ours; and Song, whose hair
  • 10 Blew like a flame and blossomed like a wreath;
  • And Art, whose eyes were worlds by God found fair;
  • These o'er the book of Nature mixed their breath
  • With neck-twined arms, as oft we watched them there:
  • And did these die that thou mightst bear me Death?
Image of page 105 page: 105
Printer's Direction: After this print M. S. / The One Hope
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer.
Printer's Direction: 45
Editorial Description: Faint addition above the sonnet.
  • Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
  • I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell;
  • Unto thine ear I hold the dead-sea shell
  • Cast up thy Life's foam-fretted feet between;
  • Unto thine eyes the glass where that is seen
  • Which had Life's form and Love's, but by my spell
  • Is now a shaken shadow intolerable,
  • Of ultimate things unuttered the frail screen.
  • Mark me, how still I am! But should there dart
  • 10 One moment through thy soul the soft surprise
  • Of that winged Peace which lulls the breath of sighs,—
  • Then shalt thou see me smile, and turn apart
  • Thy visage to mine ambush at thy heart
  • Sleepless with cold commemorative eyes.
Image of page 106 page: 106
Printer's Direction: Put this after The / Seed of David page 76
Editorial Description: DGR's note To the printer.

Added Text (Inscription for a Picture.) Drawing.)
  • 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.
Note: Pages 107-110 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 111 page: 111
  • 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.
  • Mine 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 112 page: 112
  • Between the hands, between the brows,
  • Between the lips of Love-Lily,
  • A spirit is born whose birth endows
  • My blood with fire to burn through me;
  • Who breathes upon my gazing eyes,
  • Who laughs and murmurs in mine ear,
  • At whose least touch my colour flies,
  • And whom my life grows faint to hear.
  • Within the voice, within the heart,
  • 10 Within the mind of Love-Lily,
  • A spirit is born who lifts apart
  • His tremulous wings and looks at me;
  • Who on my mouth his finger lays,
  • And shows, while whispering lutes confer,
  • That Eden of Love's watered ways
  • Whose winds and spirits worship her.
  • Brows, hands, and lips, heart, mind, and voice,
  • Kisses and words of Love-Lily,—
  • Oh! bid me with your joy rejoice
  • 20 Till riotous longing rest in me!
  • Ah! let not hope be still distraught,
  • But find in her its gracious goal,
  • Whose speech Truth knows not from her thought
  • Nor Love her body from her soul.
Image of page 113 page: 113
Sig. I
  • 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;
  • And there my soul this hour has breathed
  • An air inviolate.
Image of page 114 page: 114
Added TextPlighted Promise
  • 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 modest promised 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.
  • Have you seen, at heaven's mid-height,
  • In the moon-wrack'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.
Note: Pages 115-116 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 117 page: 117
  • 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.
Added Text
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deep in warm pillows Wound in warm love-breath, (the sun's bed 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?
  • Image of page 118 page: 118
  • 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!’
  • 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 shall may we meet?
Image of page 119 page: 119
  • 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,
  • Thenceforth, 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 sea-wind wood's moan at evening.
  • 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.
Image of page 120 page: 120
Added Text
  • 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 dead drowned hope's home to cry to me,)
  • Bewail one last hour the more, when sea
  • 30 And wind are one with memory.
Deleted Text
  • They told me she was there: but I
  • Who saw her not, did fear and fly
  • The means brought nigh of seeing her.
  • Thus must this day be bitterer,
  • I felt; yet did not speak nor stir.
  • So nightly shall the crows troop home
  • One less; one less the wailings come
  • From tongues of foam that chafe the sand;
  • One less, from sleep's dumb quaking land
  • 40The dreams shall at my bed's foot stand.
Image of page 121 page: 121
Printer's Direction: Put this and the following / ( Even So) after My Sister's Sleep / page 74
Editorial Description: DGR's note To the printer.
  • 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 122 page: 122
  • 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 123 page: 123
Added TextSonnet I

  • As when desire, long darkling, dawns, and first
  • The mother looks upon the newborn child,
  • Even so my l Lady stood at gaze and smiled
  • When her soul knew at length the Love it nursed.
  • Born with her life, creature of poignant thirst
  • And exquisite hunger, at her heart Love lay
  • Quickening in darkness, till a voice that day
  • Cried on him, and the bonds of birth were burst.
  • Now, shielded in his wings, our faces yearn
  • 10 Together, as his fullgrown feet now range
  • The grove, and his warm hands our couch prepare:
  • Till to his song our bodiless souls in turn
  • Be born his children, when Death's nuptial change
  • Leaves us for light the halo of his hair.
Image of page 124 page: 124
  • O Thou who at Love's hour ecstatically
  • Unto my lips dost evermore present
  • The body and blood of Love in sacrament;
  • Whom I have neared and felt thy breath to be
  • The inmost incense of his sanctuary;
  • Who without speech hast owned him, and intent
  • Upon his will, thy life with mine hast blent,
  • And murmured o'er the cup, Remember me!—
  • O what from thee the grace, for me the prize,
  • 10 And what to Love the glory,—when the whole
  • Of the deep stair thou tread'st to the dim shoal
  • And weary water of the place of sighs,
  • And there dost work deliverance, as thine eyes
  • Draw up my prisoned spirit to thy soul!
Image of page 125 page: 125
  • When do I see thee most, beloved one?
  • When in the light the spirits of mine eyes
  • Before thy face, their altar, solemnize
  • The worship of that Love through thee made known?
  • Or when in the dusk hours, (we two alone,)
  • Close-kissed and eloquent of still replies
  • Thy twilight-hidden glimmering visage lies,
  • And my soul only sees thy soul its own?
  • O L love, my love! if I no more should see
  • 10Thyself, nor on the earth the shadow of thee,
  • Nor image of thine eyes in any spring,—
  • How then should sound upon Life's darkening slope
  • The ground-whirl of the perished leaves of Hope,
  • The wind of Death's imperishable wing?
Image of page 126 page: 126
  • What smouldering senses in death's sick delay
  • Or seizure of malign vicissitude
  • Can rob this body of honour, or denude
  • This soul of wedding-raiment worn to-day?
  • For lo! even now my lady's lips did play
  • With these my lips such consonant interlude
  • As laurelled Orpheus longed for when he wooed
  • The half-drawn hungering face with that last lay.
  • I was a child beneath her touch,—a man
  • 10 When breast to breast we clung, even I and she,—
  • A spirit when her spirit looked through me,—
  • A god when all our life-breath met to fan
  • Our life-blood, till love's emulous ardours ran,
  • Fire within fire, desire in deity.
Note: Pages 127-130 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 131 page: 131
  • O Lord of all compassionate control,
  • O Love! let this my Lady's picture glow
  • Under my hand to praise her name, and show
  • Even of her inner self the perfect whole:
  • That he who seeks her beauty's furthest goal,
  • Beyond the light that the sweet glances throw
  • And refluent wave of the sweet smile, may know
  • The very sky and sea-line of her soul.
  • Lo! it is done. Above the long lithe throat
  • 10 The mouth's mould testifies of voice and kiss,
  • The shadowed eyes remember and foresee.
  • Her face is made her shrine. Let all men note
  • That in all years (O Love, thy gift is this!)
  • They that would look on her must come to me.
Image of page 132 page: 132
Printer's Direction: After this print M. S. / A Day of Love
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer.
Manuscript Addition: Sonnet XI
Editorial Description: Faint pencil addition above the title.
  • Have you not noted, in some family
  • Where two were born of a first marriage-bed,
  • How still they own their gracious bond, though fed
  • And nursed on the forgotten breast and knee?—
  • How to their father's children they shall be
  • In act and thought of one goodwill; but each
  • Shall for the other have, in silence speech,
  • And in a word complete community?
  • Even so, when first I saw you, seemed it, love,
  • 10 That among souls allied to mine was yet
  • One nearer kindred than life hinted of.
  • O born with me somewhere that men forget,
  • And though in years of sight and sound unmet,
  • Known for my soul's birth-partner well enough!
Image of page 133 page: 133
Manuscript Addition: Sonnet XII
Editorial Description: Faint pencil addition above the title.
  • I stood where Love in brimming armfuls bore
  • Slight wanton flowers and foolish toys of fruit:
  • And round him ladies thronged in warm pursuit,
  • Fingered and lipped and proffered the strange store:
  • And from one hand the petal and the core
  • Savoured of sleep; and cluster and curled shoot
  • Seemed from another hand like shame's salute,—
  • Gifts that I felt my cheek was blushing for.
  • At last Love bade my Lady give the same:
  • 10 And as I looked, the dew was light thereon;
  • And as I took them, at her touch they shone
  • With inmost heaven-hue of the heart of flame.
  • And then Love said: ‘Lo! when the hand is hers,
  • Follies of love are love's true ministers.’
Image of page 134 page: 134
Printer's Direction: After this print M. S. .S / A Day of Love / Life in Love
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer.
Manuscript Addition: Sonnet XIII
Editorial Description: Faint pencil addition above the title.
  • Each hour until we meet is as a bird
  • That wings from far his gradual way along
  • The rustling covert of my soul,—his song
  • Still loudlier trilled through leaves more deeply stirr'd:
  • But at the hour of meeting, a clear word
  • Is every note he sings, in Love's own tongue;
  • Yet, Love, thou know'st the sweet strain suffers wrong,
  • Through our contending kisses oft unheard.
  • What of that hour at last, when for her sake
  • 10 No wing may fly to me nor song may flow;
  • When, wandering round my life unleaved, I know
  • The bloodied feathers scattered in the brake,
  • And think how she, far from me, with like eyes
  • Sees through the untuneful bough the wingless skies?
Note: Pages 135-140 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 141 page: 141
Manuscript Addition: XXI
Editorial Description: Faint pencil addition above the title.
  • There came an image in Life's retinue
  • That had Love's wings and bore his gonfalon:
  • Fair was the web, and nobly wrought thereon,
  • O soul-sequestered face, thy form and hue!
  • Bewildering sounds, such as Spring wakens to,
  • Shook in its folds; and through my heart its power
  • Sped trackless as the immemorable hour
  • When birth's dark portal groaned and all was new.
  • But a veiled woman followed, and she caught
  • 10 The banner round its staff, to furl and cling,—
  • Then plucked a feather from the bearer's wing,
  • And held it to his lips that stirred it not,
  • And said to me, ‘Behold, there is no breath:
  • I and this Love are one, and I am Death.’
Image of page 142 page: 142
Printer's Direction: here the Nos. as / coming in order / sonnets **** XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV
Editorial Description: DGR's notes to the printer.

( Four Sonnets.)
  • I sat with Love upon a woodside well,
  • Leaning across the water, I and he;
  • Nor ever did he speak nor looked at me,
  • But touched his lute wherein was audible
  • The certain secret thing he had to tell:
  • Only our mirrored eyes met silently
  • In the low wave; and that sound came to be
  • The passionate voice I knew; and my tears fell.
  • And at their fall, his eyes beneath grew hers;
  • 10And with his foot and with his wing-feathers
  • He swept the spring that watered my heart's drouth.
  • Then the dark ripples spread to waving hair,
  • And as I stooped, her own lips rising there
  • Bubbled with brimming kisses at my mouth.
Note: Pages 143-144 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 145 page: 145
Sig. L
  • So sang he: and as meeting rose and rose
  • Together cling through the wind's wellaway
  • Nor change at once, yet near the end of day
  • The leaves drop loosened where the heart-stain glows,—
  • So when the song died did the kiss unclose;
  • And her face fell back drowned, and was as grey
  • As its grey eyes; and if it ever may
  • Meet mine again I know not if Love knows.
  • Only I know that I leaned low and drank
  • 10A long draught from the water where she sank,
  • Her breath and all her tears and all her soul:
  • And as I drank leaned, I know I felt Love's face
  • Pressed on my neck with moan of pity and grace,
  • Till both our heads were in his aureole.
Image of page 146 page: 146
Manuscript Addition: Sonnet XXVI
Editorial Description: Faint pencil addition above the title.
  • The hour which might have been yet might not be,
  • Which man's and woman's heart conceived and bore
  • Yet whereof life was barren,—on what shore
  • Bides it the breaking of Time's weary sea?
  • Bondchild of all consummate joys set free,
  • It somewhere sighs and serves, and mute before
  • The house of Love, hears through the echoing door
  • His hours elect in choral consonancy.
  • But lo! what wedded souls now hand in hand
  • 10Together tread at last the immortal strand
  • With eyes where burning memory lights love home?
  • Lo! how the little outcast hour has turned
  • And leaped to them and in their faces yearned:—
  • ‘I am your child: O parents, ye have come!’
Note: Pages 147-148 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 149 page: 149
Printer's Direction: The heading all along this / section to be / Sonnets for Pictures &c .
Editorial Description: DGR's notes to the printer.


By Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Mother, is this the darkness of the end,
  • The Shadow of Death? and is that outer sea
  • Infinite imminent Eternity?
  • And does the death-pang by man's seed sustain'd
  • In Time's each instant cause thy face to bend
  • Its silent prayer upon the Son, while he
  • Blesses the dead with his hand silently
  • To his long day which hours no more offend?
  • Mother of grace, the pass is difficult,
  • 10 Keen as these rocks, and the bewildered souls
  • Throng it like echoes, blindly shuddering through.
  • Thy name, O Lord, each spirit's voice extols,
  • Whose peace abides in the dark avenue
  • Amid the bitterness of things occult.
Image of page 150 page: 150


By Giorgione.

( In the Louvre.)
  • Water, for anguish of the solstice:—nay,
  • But dip the vessel slowly,—nay, but lean
  • And hark how at its verge the wave sighs in
  • Reluctant. Hush! Beyond all depth away
  • The heat lies silent at the brink of day:
  • Now trails the hand upon the viol-string
  • That sobs, and the brown faces cease to sing,
  • Sad with the whole of pleasure. Her eyes stray
  • In sunshine; from her mouth the pipe will creep
  • 10 And leave it pouting; shadowed here, the grass
  • Is cool against her naked side. Let be:—
  • Say nothing now unto her lest she weep,
  • Nor name this ever. Be it as it was,—
  • Life touching lips with Immortality.
Note: Pages 151-158 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 159 page: 159


( For a Drawing Design .*)
  • ‘Why wilt thou cast the roses from thine hair?
  • Nay, be thou all a rose,—wreath, lips, and cheek.
  • Nay, not this house,—that banquet-house we seek;
  • See how they kiss and enter; come thou there.
  • This delicate day of love we two will share
  • Till at our ear love's whispering night shall speak.
  • What, sweet one,—hold'st thou still the foolish freak?
  • Nay, when I kiss thy feet they'll leave the stair.’
  • ‘Oh loose me! See'st thou not my Bridegroom's face
  • 10 That draws me to Him? For His feet my kiss,
  • My hair, my tears He craves to-day:—and oh!
  • What words can tell what other day and place
  • Shall see me clasp those blood-stained feet of His?
  • He needs me, calls me, loves me: let me go!’
Transcribed Footnote (page 159):

* In the design drawing Mary has left a festal procession, and is ascending

by a sudden impulse the steps of the house where she sees Christ.

Her lover has followed her and is trying to turn her back.

Image of page 160 page: 160

( For a Drawing Design .*)
  • Here meet together the prefiguring day
  • And day prefigured. ‘Eating, thou shalt stand,
  • Feet shod, loins girt, thy road-staff in thine hand,
  • With blood-stained door and lintel,’—did God say
  • By Moses' mouth in ages passed away.
  • And now, where this poor household doth comprise
  • At Paschal-Feast two kindred families,—
  • Lo! the slain lamb confronts the Lamb to slay.
  • The pyre is piled. What agony's crown attained,
  • 10 What shadow of death the Boy's fair brow subdues
  • Who holds that blood wherewith the porch is stained
  • By Zachary the priest? John binds the shoes
  • He deemed himself not worthy to unloose;
  • And Mary culls the bitter herbs ordained.
Transcribed Footnote (page 160):

* The scene is in the house-porch, where Christ holds a bowl of

blood from which Zacharias is sprinkling the posts and lintel.

Joseph has brought the lamb and Elizabeth lights the pyre. The

shoes which John fastens and the bitter herbs which Mary is gather-

ing form part of the ritual.

Image of page 161 page: 161
Sig. M

( Two Sonnets for a Drawing Design .)
  • Rend, rend thine hair, Cassandra: he will go.
  • Yea, rend thy garments, wring thine hands, and cry
  • From Troy still towered to the unreddened sky.
  • See, all but she that bore thee mock thy woe:—
  • He most whom that fair woman arms, with show
  • Of wrath on her bent brows; for in this place
  • This hour thou bad'st all men in Helen's face
  • The ravished ravishing prize of Death to know.
  • What eyes, what ears hath sweet Andromache,
  • 10 Save for her Hector's form and step; as tear
  • On tear makes salt the warm last kiss he gave?
  • He goes. Cassandra's words beat heavily
  • Like crows above his crest, and at his ear
  • Ring hollow in the shield that shall not save.
Transcribed Footnote (page 161):

* The subject shows Cassandra prophesying among her kindred,

as Hector leaves them for his last battle. They are on the platform

of a fortress, from which the Trojan troops are marching out. Helen

is arming Paris; Priam soothes Hecuba; and Andromache holds

the child to her bosom.

Image of page 162 page: 162
  • ‘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 for 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.’
Note: Pages 163-166 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 167 page: 167
Printer's Direction: The two following sonnets / to be transposed according / to the numbers / / No. 3
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer.
  • 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 168 page: 168
Printer's Direction: No. 4
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer on positioning the sonnet.
  • 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 169 page: 169
Printer's Direction: No. 2
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer on positioning the sonnet.
  • 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 170 page: 170
Printer's Direction: No. 1
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer on positioning the sonnet.
  • 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 171 page: 171
Printer's Direction: [delete sign]
Editorial Description: DGR marks the poem for deletion and crosses it through.

Planted by Wm. Shakspeare; felled by the Rev. F. Gastrell .
  • This tree, here fall'n, no common birth or death
  • Shared with its kind. The world's enfranchised son,
  • Who found the trees of Life and Knowledge one,
  • Here set it, frailer than his laurel-wreath.
  • Shall not the wretch whose hand it fell beneath
  • Rank also singly—the supreme unhung?
  • Lo! Sheppard, Turpin, pleading with black tongue,
  • This viler thief's unsuffocated breath!
  • We'll search thy glossary, Shakspeare! whence almost,
  • 10 And whence alone, some name shall be reveal'd
  • For this deaf drudge, to whom no length of ears
  • Sufficed to catch the music of the spheres;
  • Whose soul is carrion now,—too mean to yield
  • Some tailor's ninth allotment of a ghost.
Image of page 172 page: 172
Printer's Direction: Put this and the 3 following Poems / viz: JennyPortraitDante / at Veronaafter Sister / after Staff and Scrip / page 39
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer on positioning the poems.

( Regno Lombardo-Veneto, 1848.)

  • Our Lombard country-girls along the coast
  • Wear daggers in their garters; for they know
  • That they might hate another girl to death
  • Or meet a German lover. Such a knife
  • I bought her, with a hilt of horn and pearl.
  • Father, you cannot know of all my thoughts
  • That day in going to meet her,—that last day
  • For the last time, she said;—of all the love
  • And all the hopeless hope that she might change
  • 10And go back with me. Ah! and everywhere,
  • At places we both knew along the road,
  • Some fresh shape of herself as once she was
  • Grew present at my side; until it seemed—
  • So close they gathered round me—they would all
  • Be with me when I reached the spot at last,
  • To plead my cause with her against herself
  • So changed. O Father, if you knew all this
  • You cannot know, then you would know too, Father,
  • Image of page 173 page: 173
  • And only then, if God can pardon me.
  • 20What can be told I'll tell, if you will hear.
  • I passed a village-fair upon my road,
  • And thought, being empty-handed, I would take
  • Some little present: which might prove that day
    Added TextSome 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,
  • 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.
Image of page 174 page: 174
  • Father, you hear my speech and not her laugh;
  • But God was there and heard. Father, will God / Remember all? He heard her when she laughed. heard that. Will God remember all?
  • It was another laugh than the sweet sound
  • 50Which rose from her sweet childish heart, that day
  • Eleven 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.
  • I had been for nights in hiding, worn and sick
  • And hardly fed; and so her words at first
  • 60Seemed fitful like the talking of the trees
  • And 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
  • 70They kissed her long, and wept and made her weep,
  • And 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,
  • Image of page 175 page: 175
  • ‘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,
  • 80When last I had been there a month ago,
  • Swarmed 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,
  • Telling their husbands how, if they still feared
    Added Text Crying 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,
  • 90Because of the great famine, rather than
  • To 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.
  • 100It was no easy thing to keep a child
  • In safety; for herself it was not safe,
  • And doubled my own danger: but I knew
  • Image of page 176 page: 176
  • 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
  • 110Is like the sky when the sun sets in it,
  • Clearest 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
  • 120Of each there floated like a ring of fire
  • Which 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
  • 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
  • 130Stood up together, as it were a voice
Note: Pages177-180 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 181 page: 181
  • That sometimes turned half dizzily beneath
  • The passionate lids, as faint, when she would speak,
  • Had also in them hidden springs of mirth,
  • Which under the dark lashes evermore
  • Shook to her laugh, as when a bird flies low
  • Between the water and the willow-leaves,
  • And the shade quivers till he wins the light.
  • I was a moody comrade to her then,
  • For all the love I bore her. Italy,
  • 140The weeping desolate mother, long has claimed
  • Her sons' strong arms to lean on, and their hands
  • To lop the poisonous thicket from her path,
  • Cleaving her way to light. And from her need
  • Had grown the fashion of my whole poor life
  • Which I was proud to yield her, as my father
  • Had yielded his. And this had come to be
  • A game to play, a love to clasp, a hate
  • To wreak, all things together that a man
  • Needs for his blood to ripen: till at times
  • 150All else seemed shadows, and I wondered still
  • To see such life pass muster and be deemed
  • Time's bodily substance. In those hours, no doubt,
  • To the young girl my eyes were like my soul,—
  • Dark wells of death-in-life that yearned for day.
  • And though she ruled me always, I remember
  • That once when I was thus and she still kept
  • Leaping about the place and laughing, I
  • Did almost chide her; whereupon she knelt
  • And putting her two hands into my breast
  • Image of page 182 page: 182
  • 160Sang 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
  • Holding the platter, when the children run
  • To merrier sport and leave him. Thus it goes:—
  • La bella donna*
  • Piangendo disse:
Transcribed Footnote (page 182):
  • * 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! where's what one favour
  • Left me Remains to woo him,
  • Whose whole poor savour
  • Belongs not to him?’
Image of page 183 page: 183
  • 170‘Come son fisse
  • Le stelle in cielo!
  • Quel fiato anelo
  • Dello stanco sole,
  • Quanto m'assonna!
  • E la luna, macchiata
  • Come uno specchio
  • Logoro e vecchio,—
  • Faccia affannata,
  • Che cosa vuole?
  • 180‘Chè stelle, luna, e sole,
  • Ciascun m'annoja
  • E m'annojano insieme;
  • Non me ne preme
  • Nè ci prendo gioja.
  • E veramente,
  • Che le spalle sien franche
  • E le braccia bianche
  • E il seno caldo e tondo,
  • Non mi fa niente.
  • 190Chè 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
  • E dunque mia?
  • Tu m'ami dunque?
  • Dimmelo ancora,
  • Non in modo qualunque,
  • 200Ma le parole
  • Belle e precise
  • Che dicesti pria.
  • Siccome suole
  • La state talora
    Image of page 184 page: 184
  • (Dicesti) un qualche istante
  • Tornare innanzi inverno,
  • Così t a
    Added Textu
    fai ch'io scerno
  • Le foglie tutte quante,
  • Ben ch'io certo tenessi
  • 210 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,’
  • (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
  • 220To 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
  • Turning 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
  • 230More 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
Note: Pages 185-188 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 189 page: 189
  • In every corner of myself I sought
  • To find what service failed her; and no less
  • Than in the good time past, there all was hers.
  • What do you love? Your heaven? Conceive it spread
  • For one first year of all eternity
  • All round you with all joys and gifts of God;
  • And then when most your soul is blent with it
  • 240And 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,
  • Among those eyes grown blind to you, those ears
  • That hear no more your voice you hear the same,—
  • ‘God! what is left but hell for company,
  • But hell, hell, hell?’—until the name so breathed
  • 250Whirled 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
  • Was granted, and I looked on heaven made pale
  • With scorn, and heard heaven mock me in that laugh.
  • O sweet, long sweet! Was that some ghost of you
  • Even as your ghost that haunts me now,—twin shapes
  • 260Of fear and hatred? May I find you yet
  • Image of page 190 page: 190
  • 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
  • Yet 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.
  • 270 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
  • Was 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,
  • 280And of my danger. Straight he hustled me
  • Into his booth, as it were in the trick,
  • And brought me out next minute with my face
  • All smeared in patches and a zany's gown;
  • And there I handed him his cups and balls [indecipherable punctuation]
  • And swung the sand-bags round to clear the ring
  • For half an hour. The spies came once and looked;
  • And while they stopped, and made all sights and sounds
  • Sharp to my startled senses, I remember
  • Image of page 191 page: 191
  • A woman laughed above me. I looked up
  • 290And saw where a brown handsome 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 [indecipherable punctuation] I saw him there on him, as now
  • Munching He munched her neck with kisses, while the vine
  • Crawled in her back.
  • And three hours afterwards,
  • When she that I had run all risks to meet
  • Laughed as I told you, my life burned to death
  • 300Within me, for I thought it like the laugh
  • Heard at the fair. She had not left me long;
  • But all she might have changed to, or might change to,
  • (I know nought since—she never speaks a word—)
  • Seemed in that laugh. Have I not told you yet,
  • Not told you all this time what happened, Father,
  • When I had offered her the little knife,
  • And bade her keep it for my sake that loved her,
  • And she had laughed? Have I not told you yet?
  • ‘Take it,’ I said to her the second time,
  • 310‘Take it and keep it.’ And then came a fire
  • That burnt my hand; and then the fire was blood,
  • And sea and sky were blood and fire, and all
  • The day was one red blindness; till it seemed
  • Within the whirling brain's entanglement
  • That she or I or all things bled to death.
  • And then I found her lying at my feet
  • Image of page 192 page: 192
  • And knew that I had stabbed her, and saw still
  • The look she gave me when she took the knife
  • Deep in her heart, even as I bade her then,
  • 320And 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
  • 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:
  • 330And from her side now she unwinds the thick
  • Dark hair; all round her side it is wet through,
  • But like the sand at Iglio does not change.
  • Now you may see the dagger clearly. Father,
  • I have told all: tell me at once what hope
  • Can reach me still. For now she draws it out
  • Slowly, and only smiles as yet: look, Father,
  • She scarcely smiles: but I shall hear her laugh
  • Soon, when she shows the crimson blade to God.
Image of page 193 page: 193
Sig. O

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

child!’—( Mrs. Quickly.)

  • Lazy laughing languid Jenny,
  • Fond of a kiss and fond of a guinea,
  • Whose head is on my knee to-night
    Added TextWhose head upon my knee to-night
  • (Have all our dances left it light
    Added TextRests for a while, as if grown light
  • With their wild tunes?) Ah, Jenny, queen
    Added TextWith all our dances and the sound
  • Added TextTo which the wild tunes spun you round:
  • Added TextFair Jenny mine, the use thoughtless queen
  • Of kisses which the blush between
  • Could hardly make much daintier ! : — Nay
  • 10Poor flower left torn since yesterday
  • Until to-morrow leave you bare;
  • Poor handful of bright spring-water
  • Flung in the whirlpool's shrieking face!—
  • Poor shameful Jenny, full of grace
  • Thus with your head upon my knee;—
  • Whose person or whose purse may be
  • The lodestar of your reverie?
  • This room of yours, my Jenny, looks
  • A change from mine so full of books,
  • 20Whose serried ranks hold fast, forsooth,
  • So many captive hours of youth,—
  • Image of page 194 page: 194
  • 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:
  • Until I vowed that since my brain
  • And eyes of dancing seemed so fain,
  • My feet should have some dancing too:—
  • And thus it was I met with you.
  • 30Well, 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,—
  • The many aims or the few years?
  • Because to-night it all appears
  • Something I do not know again.
  • The cloud's not danced out of my brain,—
  • 40The 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,
  • All golden in the lamplight's gleam,—
  • You know not what a book you seem,
  • Half-read by lightning in a dream!
Note: Pages 195-196 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 197 page: 197
  • Than that whose spring in blessings ran
  • 50Which praised the righteous husbandman,
  • Ere yet, in days of hankering breath,
  • The lilies sickened unto death.
  • What, Jenny, are your lilies dead?
  • Aye, and the snow-white leaves are spread
  • Like winter on the garden-bed.
  • But you had roses left in May,—
  • They were not gone too. Jenny, nay,
  • But must your roses die away?
    Added TextBut must your roses die, and those
  • Their purfelled purfelled buds that should unclose?
  • 60Even so; the leaves are curled apart,
  • Still red as from the broken heart,
  • And here's the naked stem of thorns.
    Note: Line 59 was added, a single word was deleted from it, and that word was then re-added.
  • 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
  • 70Much older than any history
  • That is written in any book;
  • When 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.
Image of page 198 page: 198
  • Jenny, you know the city now.
  • A child can tell the tale there, how
  • Some things which are not yet enroll'd
  • 80In market-lists are bought and sold
  • Even till the early Sunday light,
  • When Saturday night is market-night
  • Everywhere, be it dry or wet,
  • And market-night in the Haymarket.
  • Our learned London children know,
  • Poor Jenny, all your mirth and woe;
  • Have seen your lifted silken skirt
  • Advertize dainties through the dirt;
  • Have seen your coach-wheels splash rebuke
  • 90On virtue; and have learned your look
  • When, wealth and health slipped past, you stare
  • Along the streets alone, and there,
  • Round the long park, across the bridge,
  • The cold lamps at the pavement's edge
  • Wind on together and apart,
  • A fiery serpent for your heart.
  • Let the thoughts pass, an empty cloud!
  • Suppose I were to think aloud,—
  • What if to her all this were said?
  • 100Why, as a volume seldom read
  • Being opened halfway shuts again,
  • So might the pages of her brain
  • Be parted at such words, and thence
  • Close back upon the dusty sense.
Note: Pages 199-202 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 203 page: 203
Manuscript Addition: 97
Editorial Description: Printer's notation of uncertain significance, connceted by a line to a point between the ends of lines 116/282 and 117/283.
  • 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.
  • 110 Yet, Jenny, looking long at you,
  • The woman almost fades from view.
  • A cypher of man's changeless sum
  • Of lust, past, present, and to come,
  • Is left. A riddle that one shrinks
  • To challenge from the scornful sphinx.
  • Like a toad within a stone
  • Seated while Time crumbles on;
  • Which sits there since the earth was curs'd
  • For Man's transgression at the first;
  • 120Which, living through all centuries,
  • Not once has seen the sun arise;
  • Whose life, to its cold circle charmed,
  • The earth's whole summers have not warmed;
  • Which always—whitherso the stone
  • 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,
  • 130And the seed of Man vanish as dust:—
  • Even so within this world is Lust.
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  • Come, come, what use in thoughts like this?
  • Poor little Jenny, good to kiss,—
  • You'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
  • 140Bleating before a barking dog;
  • And the old streets come peering through
  • Another night that London knew;
  • And all as ghostlike as the lamps.
  • So on the wings of day decamps
  • 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,
  • 150Like a wise virgin's, all one night!
  • And in the alcove coolly spread
  • Glimmers with dawn your empty bed;
  • And yonder your fair face I see
  • Reflected lying on my knee,
  • Where teems with first foreshadowings
  • Your pier-glass scrawled with diamond rings.
  • And now without, as if some word
  • Image of page 205 page: 205
  • Had called upon them which that they heard,
  • The London sparrows far and nigh
  • 160Clamour together suddenly;
  • And Jenny's cage-bird grown awake
  • 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,
  • 170My Jenny, while you dream. And there
  • I 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.
  • 180There roll no streets in glare and rain,
  • Nor flagrant man-swine whets his tusk;
  • But delicately sighs in musk
  • The homage of the dim boudoir;
  • Or like a palpitating star
  • Thrilled into song, the opera-night
  • Image of page 206 page: 206
  • 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
  • 190For her) the concourse of the Park.
  • And though in the discounted dark
  • Her 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:
  • 200Aye, or let offerings nicely placed
  • But hide Priapus to the waist,
  • And whoso looks on him shall see
  • An eligible deity.
  • Why, Jenny, waking here alone
  • May help you to remember one ! ,
  • Added TextThough all the memory's long outworn
  • Added TextOf many a double-pillowed morn.
  • I think I see you when you wake,
  • And rub your eyes for me, and shake
  • 210My gold, in rising, from your hair,
  • A Danaë for a moment there.
  • Jenny, my love rang true! for still
  • Love at first sight is vague, until
  • Image of page 207 page: 207
  • 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:
  • 220In my life, as in hers, they show,
  • By a far gleam which I may near,
  • A dark path I can strive to clear.
  • Only one kiss. Goodbye, my dear.
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  • 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.
Added Text
  • 10Alas! 'tis but as the thin-drawn ray
  • That makes the prison-depths more rude,—
  • The drip of water night and day
  • Giving a tongue to solitude.
  • Yet this, of all love's perfect prize,
  • Remains; save what in mournful guise
  • 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.
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Printer's Direction: Insert here 4 stanzas in M. S.
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer, placed between the second and third stanzas typeset on this page. Two of the four stanzas, versions of received lines 46-54 and 73-81, are written in the margin and at the foot of the page, then cancelled.
  • A deep dim wood; and there she stands
  • As in that wood that day . At least : for so
  • 30 Thus was the movement of her hands
    Added TextWas the still movement of her hands
  • And thus the carriage of her waist.
    Added TextAnd 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.
  • 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.
Added Text
  • And while 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.
  • 50 That eve at home I spoke again
  • Beside the pelted window-pane;
  • And there she hearkened what I said,
  • With under-glances that surveyed
  • The empty pastures blind with rain.
  • Yet doth this 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
  • 60 Shrink in the road, and all the heath,
  • Forest and water, far and wide,
  • In limpid starlight glorified,
  • Lie like the mystery of death.
  • 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 then she walked with me:
  • And as I stood there suddenly,
  • 70 All wan with traversing the night,
  • Upon the desolate verge of light
  • Yearned loud the iron-bosomed sea.
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  • 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,
  • 80 It enters in her soul at once
  • And knows the silence there for God!
  • Here 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,
  • 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
  • 90About the Holy Sepulchre.
Note: Pages 211-212 not included in these proofs.
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  • ‘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
  • To touch the secret things of God,
  • The deeper pierced the hate that trod
  • 10On base men's track who wrought the wrong;
  • Till the soul's effluence came to be
  • Its own exceeding agony.
  • 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
  • God's fire for a burnt offering.
  • Even such was Dante's mood, when now,
  • 20 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 proud all acclaim
  • Can Grande della Scala's name.
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  • As that lord's kingly guest awhile
  • His life we follow; through the days
  • Which walked in exile's barren ways,—
  • The nights which still beneath one smile
  • Heard through all spheres one song increase,—
  • 30 ‘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
  • 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,
  • And gay squires stilled the merry stir,
  • When he passed up the dais-chamber
  • 40With 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,
  • With Heaven and Hell men's hearts were fill'd.
Note: Pages 215-218 not included in these proofs.
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  • At such times, Dante, thou hast set
  • 50 Thy forehead to the painted pane
  • Full oft, I know; and if the rain
  • Smote 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,—
  • 60 A window often wept against:
  • The window thou, a youth, hast sought,
  • 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,
  • 70Within the palace and without;
  • Where music, set to madrigals,
  • Loitered all day through groves and halls.
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  • 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:
  • 80 Though certes doubtless 'twas the young man's joy
  • (Grown with his growth from a mere boy,)
  • To mark his ‘Viva Cane!’ scare
  • The foe's shut front, till it would reel
  • All blind with shaken points of steel.
  • But there were places—held too sweet
  • For eyes that had not the due veil
  • Of lashes and clear lids—as well
  • In favour as his saddle-seat:
  • Breath of low speech he scorned not there
  • 90 Nor light cool fingers in his hair.
  • Yet if the child whom the sire's plan
  • Made free of a deep treasure-chest
  • Scoffed it with ill-conditioned jest,—
  • We may be sure too that the man
  • Was not mere thews, nor all content
  • With lewdness swathed in sentiment.
Note: Pages 221-222 not included in these proofs.
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Printer's Direction: Insert 2 M.S. stanzas and footnote
Editorial Description: DGR's directions to the printer after received stanza 49.
  • Rank words, with such, are wit's best wealth
  • Lords mouthed approval; ladies kept
  • Twittering with clustered heads, except
  • 100Some few that took their trains by stealth
  • And went. Can Grande shook his hair
  • And smote his thighs and laughed i' the air.
  • Then, facing on his guest, he cried,—
  • ‘Say, Messer Dante, how it is
  • I get out of a clown like this
  • More than your wisdom can provide.’
  • And Dante: ‘'Tis man's ancient whim
  • That still his like seems good to him.’
  • But wherefore should we turn the grout
  • 110 In a drained cup, or be at strife
  • From the worn garment of a life
  • To 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
  • 120 And to see purse-thieves gibbeted.
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  • And when his spirit wove the spell
  • (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
  • 130Each day were steeper to his feet;
  • And when the night-vigil was done,
  • 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,
  • 140 Words such as these: ‘That clearly they
  • In Florence must not have to say,—
  • The man abode aloof from us
  • Nigh fifteen years, yet lastly skulk'd
  • Hither to candleshrift and mulct.
Note: Pages 225-226 not included in these proofs.
Image of page 227 page: 227
  • Once hard asleep; and thrust him not
  • At dawn beneath the boards to rot.)
  • Years filled out their twelve moons, and ceased
  • One in another; and alway
  • There were the whole twelve hours each day
  • 150And each night as the years increased;
  • And rising moon and setting sun
  • Beheld that Dante's work was done.
  • What of his work for Florence? Well
  • 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.
Transcribed Footnote (page 227):

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

as a recalcitrant exile.

  • What of his work for Beatrice?
  • 160 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,
  • The unnumbered stars the tone prolong.†
Transcribed Footnote (page 227):

† ‘E qui n rdi 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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Printer's Direction: -127
Editorial Description: Note after received stanza 71.
  • 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,
  • 170 Hell, Purgatory, Paradise.
  • ‘It is my trust, as the years fall,
  • To write more worthily of her
  • Who now, being made God's minister,
  • Looks 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
  • 180Accomplish 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
  • 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.
Note: Pages 229-230 not included in these proofs.
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  • No book keeps record how the Prince
  • 190 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 slaver scandal and their song.
  • No book keeps record if the seat
  • 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,
  • 200 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, as the weary footsteps fell, of all paths his feet knew well,
  • Were steeper found than Heaven or Hell.
Deleted Text
  • Now do Thou let thy servant, Lord,—
  • Who hath known all now that man's heart
  • Can suffer on man's earth,— depart
  • 210In peace according to thy word.
  • His eyes (are not the lids still wet?)
  • Beheld not thy salvation yet.
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