Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: William and Marie
Author: DGR
Date of Composition: 1841
Type of Manuscript: fair copy
Scribe: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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

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William and Mary. A Ballad

  • “O whither awaye, myne owne true love?
  • O whither awaye sae soone?
  • The rayne will splash thy 'broiderie
  • And soak thy gilded shoone.”
  • “I heed not the winde, and I heed not the haile,
  • And I heed not the storme, Mary:
  • Before an hour hath passed awaye
  • In my owne halle mote I be.”
  • “But the lightning will startle thy berrie-browne
  • steed,
  • 10And he will snort and shy;
  • And long ere thou mayest reach thy halle
  • On the cauld earth shalt thou lie.”
  • “Thou knowest not my berrie-browne steed, Mary,
  • Nor the dangers we have past;
  • He would bear one free through the raging sea,
  • Like an arrowe before the blast.
  • But telle me true, myne onlie love,
  • And truelie tell to me;
  • And why dost thou praye that I thys daye
  • 20In thy bower so long sho'd be.”
  • She put her armes about his necke,
  • And he felt her hearte beat highe;
  • And she hid her face within his breaste
  • As she spoke righte dolefullie.
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  • “O there is a knight of the north countrie;
  • Sir Richard is his name;
  • And long years syne, ere my mother died,
  • A wooing to me he came:
  • “And he standes below in the castle-halle,
  • 30And his sworde is in his hande;
  • And when you have passed the corridor
  • He will slaye you where you stande.
  • “Then staye with me, my dearest love,
  • And hearken to my prayer;
  • Or I'll not see thy face again,
  • Nor hear thy voice nae mair.”
  • Lord William turned him round about,
  • And grasped his trustie brande;
  • “And I'll not yield a foot,” quoth he,
  • 40“While the hilte holds in my hande.”
  • And she heard the trampling of hurried feete
  • And the sound of men in strife;
  • And she knelt her down on the stonie floore,
  • And prayed for Willie's lyfe.
  • At last there rose a loud, loud shriek,
  • And it woke the echoes neare:
  • The ladie started to her feete
  • And quaked for verie feare:
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  • And she ran full quicklie down the staires,
  • 50And she oped the iron doore;
  • And she was aware of her lover's corpse
  • Lay weltering in his gore.
  • And o'er him stood that recreant knight,
  • As he wiped his bloodie sword:
  • The ladie threw her on her knees
  • And kissed her fallen lord.
  • “Assassin! on thy guiltie head
  • May Heaven's vengeance falle;
  • For thou hast slayne my dearest friende,
  • 60My life — my soul — my all.
  • O he was gentler than the lamb,
  • And milder than the dove;
  • God knows he was the onlie man
  • That ever I did love.
Added Text
  • And now pure angels
  • bear his soul
  • To brighter realmes on
  • highe;
  • But thou shalt dwell
  • with fiendes belowe
  • In endlesse miserie.”
  • He took her up into his armes,
  • 70And his lookes were blacke as deathe,
  • And he dashed her down from the windowe highe
  • To the moat which rolled beneath.

  • The wind was moaning through the trees;
  • It whistled and it sang;
  • And the crash of heaven's artillery
  • Though the echoing welkin rang.
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  • The lightning flashed across the waste
  • With a wild and ghastly glare,
  • And it mingled in its fitful gleams
  • 80With the hot and sulphurous air:
  • And it danced on high, and it skimmed along
  • O'er the parched and blasted heath;
  • And the flowers withered where it passed
  • Beneath its fiery breath.
  • Sir Richard dashed across the plain;
  • His spurs were red with gore;
  • And he thought that spectres followed him,
  • Above — behind — before.
  • He heard their wailings on the wind;
  • 90Their shrieks upon the blast.
  • What would he not have given to know
  • That dreary heath was past?
  • But brighter flashed the levin-glare,
  • And deeper rolled the thunder;
  • And shrubs were strewn along the ground,
  • And oaks were riven asunder.
  • And the lightning glanced on the murderer's face,
  • And showed its livid hue,
  • As faster o'er the lonesome waste
  • 100In mortal fear he flew.
  • And it glimmered on his crested helm,
  • And dashed him from his horse,
  • And stretched him writhing on the earth,
  • A burnt and blackened corse.
Manuscript Addition: (Gabriel Charles Rossetti)
Manuscript Addition: G. Rossetti.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Copyright: Digital images courtesy of the Rosenbach Library.