Farewell to the Glen

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1869
Rhyme: abbaabbacdcdcd
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ Baum, ed., The House of Life, 195-196

◦ Doughty, A Victorian Romantic, 412

◦ WMR, DGR as Designer and Writer, 245-246

◦ Sharp, DGR: A Record and a Study, 27, 429


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the Poems (1870) Text.

Scholarly Commentary


As Baum notes, the sonnet is not one of DGR's best works considered simply as an artistic performance. Its diction is stiff and formal in the octave, and the rhetorical simplicity only further weakens the effect. On the substantive side, the sonnet is no more interesting. The secretive handling of what appear to be personal matters is unimpressive even as an index of a neurotic state of mind.

Textual History: Composition

DGR to Alicia Losh, 19 October 1869 (see Fredeman, Correspondence, I69. 186 ): “The ‘Farewell to the Glen’ . . . I wrote the day before I left Penkill” (i.e., 17 September 1869). Sharp dates it a week later. Only one manuscript is extant: the corrected copy in the Fitzwilliam composite “House of Life” sequence.

Textual History: Revision

The initially printed text in the First Trial Book does not change in any later printing.

Printing History

First printed at the beginning of October 1869 in the First Trial Book for the 1870 volume of Poems. It was eventually published in the Sonnets for Pictures, and Other Sonnets section of the volume. In 1881 DGR printed it as sonnet LXXXIV in The House of Life sequence in his Ballads and Sonnets volume.


Like “The Stream's Secret”, this poem was written “in a little cave by the side of the rushing Penwhapple, the little stream in the glen” on the grounds of Penkill Castle (see Doughty, A Victorian Romantic, 408 ). To Alicia Losh DGR wrote in his letter of 19 )ctober 1869 “On reading it over at home I thought it very dismal but still it would have been a pity to exclude it” from the 1870 Poems volume. Doughty speculates on DGR's psychological condition when he wrote the sonnet, but the sonnet's rhetoric is oblique and elusive.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 16-1869.raw.xml