On Certain Elizabethan “Revivals”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1860
Rhyme: abbaabbacdeecd
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ Gregory, “Life and Works of DGR” II. 160.

◦ Caine, Recollections, 256.


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1911.

Scholarly Commentary


DGR sent the poem to Swinburne in a letter of 23 February 1870 as “one of fifty short pieces. . .which I have found among my reliques and rejected” from inclusion in the 1870 Poems volume. The latter, nearing the elaborate process of its construction that was begun the previous summer, would be published in April. “Among several rejected of a semicomic sort”, DGR thought this “the best” but finally “not good enough for the book” (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 70. 32 ).

Like “The End of It” which he sent in the same letter to Swinburne, this poem indexes the way DGR was thinking about his 1870 volume: as a book that was to represent the entire shape (both formal and historical) of his poetic work.

Textual History: Composition

WMR dates the poem ca. 1860, though without any real certainty (see his edition of 1911, 208n ).

Printing History

First printed in Caine 256, and first included in an authoritative edition in 1886, and collected thereafter. DGR thought of including it in the 1870 volume and again considered publishing it in Hall Caine's collection Sonnets of Three Centuries (1882) but again decided otherwise. He did give a (revised) copy of the sonnet to Caine, however.


DGR had an intense interest in Elizabethan drama and often went to the theatre. One can't be sure what specific London “Revivals” he castigates in the sonnet.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 2-1860.raw.xml