Pride of Youth

Alternately titled: Love's Changes

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

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


◦ WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 200

◦ Baum, ed., House of Life, 99-100


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the Ballads and Sonnets First Edition Text.

Scholarly Commentary


This is the sonnet where commentators perceive the first clear distinction between the Beloved (the “Old Love”) and the Innominata (the “New Love“). These two figures are not here realistically coded (least of all more closely identified with Elizabeth Siddall and Jane Morris) but instead enter as allegorical shapes. As such they are most strongly coded as an internalized romantic psychomachia.

Textual History: Composition

WMR dates the poem 1871, perhaps because of DGR's nostalgic letter of 2 August 1871 to William Bell Scott, perhaps even more because of the fragmentary drafts of the sonnet that appear near the beginning of the small Notebook II (pages 3v, 4v, 9r) in the Ashley collection, whose texts date from 1871-1879.

Four holograph manuscripts survive: an early, perhaps the first, draft where it is titled “Love's Changes”; a corrected fair copy in the Fitzwilliam compilation of “The House of Life” and two other fair copies, one in the Library of Congress, the other a late fair copy in the British Library (Ashley 3858), which appears to be the copy he sent to Hall Caine in a letter of 17 December 1880 (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 80. 383 ).

Printing History

First published in The Athenaeum (no. 2810, 3 September 1881, page 305). Published again shortly afterwards in the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets and collected thereafter.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 10-1871.raw.xml