Love Enthroned

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1871
Rhyme: abbaabbacdcddc
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 185

◦ Baum, ed., House of Life 65

Scholarly Commentary


The key passage in the sonnet comes in the sestet, lines 9-11, where DGR works the word “breathless” for an exquisite ambiguity: depending upon how one inflects its meaning, the word signifies either a transmortal realm (no human breathing) and an entirely mortal place (associated with the breathless passion of human lovers). This “enthroned” location is the “eternity” referenced in the “Introductory Sonnet” that opens the sequence and just precedes this sonnet. The play of language is underscored by the allusion in lines 9-10 to Keats's “All breathing human passion far above” (“Ode on a Grecian Urn”, line 28).

Textual History: Composition

DGR drafted two passages for the sonnet in the first of the four small notebooks in the British Library's Ashley Library: a text of lines 5-6 and another of lines 5-7. These represent revisions for the sonnet he must already have drafted. Four complete manuscripts survive, all dating subsequent to these drafts: a corrected copy and a copy made from that copy (both in the Troxell Collection, Princeton); a copy made from the second of the Troxell copies; and a fair copy in the group of Kelmscott Love sonnets.

Printing History

First published in the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets and collected thereafter.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 1-1871.raw.xml