Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1881 Poems First Edition.
DGR's inclination toward an extreme artifice of expression
is here sharply realized. His correspondence about the poem with his brother
in August 1869 (see Doughty and Wahl,
this quality of the verse—especially WMR's “doubt
whether the long line in this poem is quite satisfactory to the ear”.
WMR goes on immediately to add, however: “They have the great value of
specializing the lyrical rhythm—and, if you advisedly like them, you
are probably right”. DGR's view was simply: “I like the long
According to WMR the poem was composed in
). There is
no evidence that confirms or disconfirms that dating
other than the Fitzwilliam Museum manuscript. That manuscript is one of the
Three Poems fair copied
together as a unit under that collective title in 1869. There this
poem was titled “Bellebuona”.
DGR made minor changes to the poem in his early proofs,
at the suggestion of his brother. The most notable change came in the
for the second trial book, where the title is changed to “Plighted Promise” from
“The Moon Star”, which was the poem's title in its earliest manuscript
and in all of the earlier proof states. The title seems itself to have been important to DGR since
he later (1871) composed a sonnet with the same title.
First printed as part of the pre-publication process
for the 1870 Poems, in the Penkill Proofs, August 1869.
Those proofs have no special organization of the
poetic units. At the next proof stage, the so-called
A Proofs (Sept. 1869),
this poem is placed in a loosely organized section under the heading
Sonnets and Songs,
Towards a Work to be Called The House of Life. DGR experimented with the order of this section until, in
the final proof stage (realized at the
beginning of March, 1870) this poem and ten others were grouped as
of Life's integral section of Songs. In the 1881
Poems. A New
Edition, this section is detached from The House of Life and placed under the
heading Lyrics, and two other poems are added to the group.