Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the Manuscript Letter.
This is one of the most significant of the poems in DGR's 1849 sequence “A Trip to Paris and Belgium”. It comes in as the fourth poem in DGR's letter to his brother of 27-29 September 1849, the first letter he sent back to England from his Pre-Raphaelite trip to Paris and Belgium with Holman Hunt.
When DGR calls his travel notebook (lines 47-48) an “Émissaire de la perfide”, the remark must be taken as completely ironical since the authorities would scarcely find anything explicitly political, least of all subversive, in DGR's travel notes. Yet from DGR's point of view, his personal and aesthetic stance toward his trip is subversive exactly because it casts a cold eye on the public sphere and what he saw as its futile, even hypocritical, agents.
Composed as part of a verse epistle to WMR of 29 September 1849 (see below).
First printed in the 1886 collected edition from the manuscript letter that WMR later published in
Family Letters, 58-59. The poem was re-gathered into the sequence of travel poems constructed by WMR in his posthumous editions, culminating in the edition of 1911.