Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Sister Helen (fair copy, lines 93-98, 205-273, British Library)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1879
Type of Manuscript: fair copy
Scribe: DGR

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

page: [1]
Manuscript Addition: To come after stanza beginning “The wind is loud but I hear him cry &c”)
Editorial Description: Note to locate the lines in the received poem.
Manuscript Addition: (The next six stanzas are to follow the stanza beginning “He cried to you kneeling in the road &c”)
Editorial Description: Note to locate the stanzas on the next two pages.
Manuscript Addition: “Three days & nights he has lain abed &c”
Editorial Description: DGR quotes the first line of the stanza that follows his first addition, to locate its placement.
  • “Three days ago, on his marriage-morn,
  • Sister Helen,
  • He sickened, and lies since then forlorn.”
  • “He'll scarce lie sick till a babe be born,
  • Little brother?”
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Alas for birth, between Hell & Heaven!)
page: [2]
  • “A lady's here, by a dark steed brought,
  • Sister Helen,
  • 10 So darkly clad, I saw her not.”
  • “See her now or never see aught,
  • Little brother!”
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • What more to see, between Hell & Heaven?)
  • “Her hood falls back, & the moon shines fair,
  • Sister Helen,
  • On the Lady of Ewern's golden hair.”
  • “Blest hour of my power & her despair,
  • Little brother!”
  • 20 ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Hour blest & bann'd, between Hell & Heaven!)
  • “Pale, pale her cheeks, that in pride did glow,
  • Sister Helen,
  • 'Neath the bridal-wreath three days ago.”
  • “One morn for pride & three days for woe,
  • Little brother!”
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Three days, three nights, between Hell & Heaven!)
page: [3]
  • “Her clasped hands stretch from her bending head,
  • 30 Sister Helen;
  • With the loud wind's wail her sobs are wed.”
  • “What wedding-strains hath her bridal-bed,
  • Little brother?”
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • What strain but death's, between Hell & Heaven?)
  • “She may not speak, she sinks in a swoon,
  • Sister Helen,—
  • She lifts her lips & gasps on the moon.”
  • “Oh! might I but hear her soul's blithe tune,
  • 40 Little brother!”
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Her woe's dumb cry, between Hell & Heaven!)
  • “They've caught her to Westholm's saddle-bow,
  • Sister Helen,
  • And her moonlit hair gleams white in its flow.”
  • “Let it turn whiter than winter snow,
  • Little brother!”
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • Woe-withered gold, between Hell & Heaven!)
page: [4]
Manuscript Addition: To follow the stanza beginning “They have raised the old man from his knee &c”
Editorial Description: DGR's note indicating this addition follows received stanza 38
  • 50 “Flank to flank are the white steeds gone,
  • Sister Helen,
  • But the lady's dark steed goes alone.”
  • “And lonely her bridegroom's soul hath flown,
  • Little brother.”
  • ( O Mother, Mary Mother,
  • The lonely ghost, between Hell & Heaven!)
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 2-1851.blms2.rad.xml
Copyright: By permission of the British Library