Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Willowwood (corrected fair copy manuscripts, Union College Library)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1868-1869
Type of Manuscript: various types, from fair copy to corrected drafts
Scribe: DGR

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

Image of page [1r] page: [1r]
Manuscript Addition: Rossetti
Editorial Description: Stillman has written DGR's name at the bottom of the page in pencil.


A Dream

Note: The original title of the sequence as a whole,“A Dream”, has been crossed out. In line 5 the text first read “secret certain”, and the correction in line 9 is an overwriting of the original text.
  • I sat with Love upon a little 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 secret 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 as they fell at their fall, his eyes beneath grew hers;
  • 10And with his foot and with his wing-feathers
  • He swept the lymph 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.

Image of page [2r] page: [2r]
Willowwood II
Note: The dashes at the ends of lines 1 and 2 are crossed out with vertical strokes.
  • And now Love sang: and his was such a song, --
  • A So mesh of ed with half-remembrance hard to free, --
  • As souls forgotten in expectancy disused in death's sterility
  • May sing when the new birthday tarries long:
  • And I was now made aware of a still dumb throng
  • That stood around aloof, one beneath form by every tree,
  • Each a known shade form, for each was I or she,
  • S The shades of those our days that had no tongue.
  • They looked on us, and knew us, & were known,
  • 10 While fast together, drenched with tears of bliss,
  • Clung the soul-wrung insatiable implacable close kiss;
  • And pity of self through all made broken moan
  • Which said, ‘For once, for once, for once alone!’
  • And still Love sang, and what he sang was this:—
Image of page [2v] page: [2v]
Editorial Note (page ornament):
Note: A rough sketch for DGR's Mariana has been made on the verso of this sheet.
Image of page [3r] page: [3r]
Manuscript Addition: Rossetti
Editorial Description: Stillman has written DGR's name at the top of the page.
Note: A possible variant for the final couplet has been added just below the poem.
Willowwood III

  • O ye, all ye that walk in Willowwood,
  • That walk with hollow faces burning white;
  • What fathom-depth of soul-struck widowhood,
  • What long, what longer hours, one lifelong night,
  • Ere ye again, who so in vain have wooed
  • Your last hope lost, who so in vain invite
  • Your lips to that their unforgotten food,
  • Ere ye, ere ye again shall see the light!
  • Alas! the bitter banks in Willowwood,
  • 10 With grief-spurge wan, with shame-wort burning red:
  • Alas! if ever such a pillow could
  • Give rest at all to any weary head,
  • O God alone unknown, the God of good,
  • How should it be till brain & soul were dead?

  • Even by though the whole soul 's death died, ye tried & true
  • Would God that I, your god, could give it you!
page: [4r]
Manuscript Addition: Rossetti
Editorial Description: Stillman has written DGR's name at the bottom of the page.

  • So sang he: and as meeting rose and rose
  • Together cling through the wind's wellaway
  • Nor change at once, yet at near the close end of day
  • The leaves drop loosened till where the heart-stain flows glows,—
  • So when the song died did the kiss unclose;
  • And her face fell back drowned, and as it lay was as grey
  • The lips/face grew greyer than the eyes were grey:/ And faded like the eyes
    Added TextAs its grey eyes; and if I ever may
  • Find it again/ Behold it more/ How thence I went Behold it more I know not if Love knows.
  • Only I know that ere I turned I I leaned low and drank
  • 10A long draught of the water where she sank,
  • Her breath and all her tears and all her soul:
  • And as I drank I know I felt l Love's face
  • Bent Laid on my neck with moan of pity and grace,
  • Till both our heads were in his aureole.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Copyright: Digital images used with permission of Special Collections, Schaffer Library, Union College.