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 Marie.
A Ballad.
by Gabriel Rossetti the Younger.

written when he was 15.
Note: the note beneath the title was added at a later time, apparently by WMR

  • “O whither awaye, myne own true love?
  • O whither awaye sae soon?
  • The rayne will splash thy 'broiderie,
  • And soak thy gilded shoon.”
  • “I heedna the wynde, and I heedna the hayle,
  • And I heedna the storme, Marie; —
  • Before an hour hath passed awaye,
  • In my own 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 knowst not my berrie-browne steed, Marie,
  • Nor the dangers we have passed;
  • He would bear one free through the raging sea
  • Like an arrowe before the blast.
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  • “But tell me true, my onlie love,
  • And truelie tell to me;
  • And why dost thou praye that I thys daye
  • 20In thy bowere so long should be?”
  • She put her arms about his necke,
  • And he felt her heart beate highe;
  • And she hid her face within his breaste
  • As she spoke righte dolefullie.
  • “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;
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  • “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.
  • And she ranne fulle quicklie down the stairs,
  • 50And she oped the iron doore, —
  • And she was awayre of her lover's corpse
  • Laye 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.
  • “Assasin! on thy guiltie head
  • May Heaven's vengeance falle;
  • For thou hast slayne my onlie friende,
  • 60My life, my soul, my alle.
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  • “O he was gentler than the lambe,
  • And milder than the dove:
  • God knows he was the onlie manne
  • That ever I did love.
  • “And now pure angels beare his soulle
  • To brighter realmes on highe,
  • But thou shalt dwelle with fiendes belowe
  • In endlesse miserie.”
  • He took her up into his arms,
  • 70And his lookes were blacke as deathe,
  • And he dashed her downe from the win-
  • -dowe highe
  • To the moate 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.
  • 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:
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  • 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 mur-
  • -derer's face
  • And showed its livid hue,
  • As faster o'er the lonesome waste
  • 100In mortal fear he flew.
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  • 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.

Note: This is a letter which accompanies and references the ballad.
50 Charlotte St. Portland Pl.

Should you consider the accom-

-panying Ballad not wholly unwor-

-thy of a place in your magazine, you

would highly oblige me by inserting it.

If it meet not with a favorable recep-

-tion, and should you answer me

among your “correspondents,” would you

favour me by doing so under the in-

-itials “A.B.” instead of my real name.

I am, Sir,


Gabriel Rossetti
P.S. I have also executed the enclosed

sketch which is intended, if con-

-sidered sufficiently good, as a

headpiece to the Ballad.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 2-1843.dukems.rad.xml
Copyright: Special Collections Library, Duke University