Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), Miscellaneous Proofs, Troxell Collection)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 April
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
Issue: 1

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

Image of page [159] page: [159]





Image of page [160] page: [160]
Printer's Direction: Should this sheet have already / gone to press, it will be necessary / to have a cancel leaf & restore / as below. / D. G. Rossetti
Editorial Description: DGR's first note to the printer
Printer's Direction: retain down to the word / “beauty.”
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer at the foot of the page. It indicates that he had originally cancelled the entirety of the second paragraph but then changed his mind and wrote “Stet” beside the first two sentences of that paragraph.
Transcribed Note (page [160]):

(The present full series of The House of Life consists of

sonnets only. It will be evident that many among those

now first added are still the work of earlier years.

To speak in the first person is often to speak most vividly :

but these emotional poems are in no sense “occasional.” The

“Life” involved in life representative, as associated with love

and death, with aspiration and foreboding, or with ideal art

and beauty. Whether the recorded moment exist in the

region of fact or of thought is a question indifferent to the

Muse, so long only as her touch can quicken it.

Image of page [3] page: [3]
Sig. B
Manuscript Addition: 2
Editorial Description: Printer's proof number.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham's printer date stamp, 7 Apr. 81]
Printer's Direction: I shall require to see / another revise. / Spell name on address / correctly. / D. G. Rossetti
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer.
Image of page [4] page: [4]
Note: blank page
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  • Pale Rose Mary sank to the floor:—
  • “The night will come if the day is o'er!”
  • “Nay, heaven takes counsel, star with star,
  • And help shall reach your heart from afar:
  • 30A bride you'll be, as a maid you are.”
  • The lady unbound her jewelled zone
  • And drew from her robe the Beryl-stone.
  • Shaped it was to a shadowy sphere,—
  • World of our world, the sun's compeer,
  • That bears and buries the toiling year.
  • With shuddering light 'twas stirred and strewn
  • Like the cloud-nest of the wading moon:
  • Freaked it was as the bubble's ball,
  • Rainbow-hued through a misty pall
  • 40Like the middle light of the waterfall.
Image of page 6 page: 6
Printer's Direction: The word is ill.
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer in the margin at line 52.
  • Shadows dwelt in its teeming girth
  • Of the known and unknown things of earth;
  • The cloud above and the wave around,—
  • The central fire at the sphere's heart bound,
  • Like doomsday prisoned underground.
  • A thousand years it lay in the sea
  • With a treasure wrecked from Thessaly;
  • Deep it lay 'mid the coiled sea-wrack,
  • But the ocean-spirits found the track:
  • 50A soul was lost to win it back.
  • The lady upheld the wondrous thing:—
  • “I 'll fare”(she said) “with a fiend's-fairing:
  • But Moslem blood poured forth like wine
  • Can hallow Hell, 'neath the Sacred Sign;
  • And my lord brought this from Palestine.
Image of page 49 page: 49
Sig. E
Manuscript Addition: 1
Editorial Description: Printer's proof-sequence number in upper left corner.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham and Chiswick Press Printer's Stamp, dated 7 Apr. 81]
Editorial Description: Stamped at upper left.
Sig. E
  • Her senses gasped in the sudden air,
  • And she looked around, but none was there.
  • She felt the slackening frost distil
  • Through her blood the last ooze dull and chill:
  • Her lids were dry and her lips were still.
  • Her tears had flooded her heart again;
  • As after a long day's bitter rain,
  • At dusk when the wet flower-cups shrink,
  • The drops run in from the beaded brink,
  • 20And all the close-shut petals drink.
  • Again her sighs on her heart were rolled;
  • As the wind that long has swept the wold,—
  • Whose moan was made with the moaning sea,—
  • Beats out its breath in the last torn tree,
  • And sinks at length in lethargy.
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  • She knew she had waded bosom-deep
  • Along death's bank in the sedge of sleep:
  • All else was lost to her clouded mind;
  • Nor, looking back, could she see defin e 'd
  • 30O'er the dim dumb waste what lay behind.
  • Slowly fades the sun from the wall
  • Till day lies dead on the sun-dial:
  • And now in Rose Mary's lifted eye
  • 'Twas shadow alone that made reply
  • To the set face of the soul's dark sky.
  • Yet still through her soul there wandered past
  • Dread phantoms borne on a wailing blast,—
  • Death and sorrow and sin and shame;
  • And, murmured still, to her lips there came
  • 40Her mother's and her lover's name.
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  • Three steps she took through the altar-gate,
  • And her neck reared and her arms grew straight:
  • The sinews clenched like a serpent's throe,
  • And the face was white in the dark hair's flow,
  • As her hate beheld what lay below.
  • Dumb she stood in her malisons,—
  • A silver statue tressed with bronze:
  • As the fabled head by Perseus mown,
  • It seemed in sooth that her gaze alone
  • 140Had turned the carven shapes to stone.
  • O'er the altar-sides on either hand
  • There hung a dinted helm and brand:
  • By strength thereof, 'neath the Sacred Sign,
  • That bitter gift o'er the salt sea-brine
  • Her father brought from Palestine.
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  • Rose Mary moved with a stern accord
  • And reached her hand to her father's sword;
  • Nor did she stir her gaze one whit
  • From the thing whereon her brows were knit;
  • 150But gazing still, she spoke to it.
  • “O ye, three times accurst,” she said,
  • “By whom this stone is tenanted!
  • Lo! here ye came by a strong sin's might;
  • Yet a sinner's hand that's weak to smite
  • Shall send ye you hence ere the day be night.
  • “This hour a clear voice bade me know
  • My hand shall work your overthrow:
  • Another thing in mine ear it spake,—
  • With the broken spell my life shall break.
  • 160I thank t Thee, God, for the dear death's sake!
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  • “And he t Thy heavenly minister
  • Who swayed erewhile this spell-bound sphere,—
  • My parting soul let him haste to greet,
  • And none but he be guide for my feet
  • To where t Thy rest is made complete.”
  • Then deep she breathed, with a tender moan:—
  • “My love, my lord, my only one!
  • Even as I held the cursed clue,
  • When thee, through me, these foul ones slew,—
  • 170By mine own deed shall they slay me too!
  • “Even while they speed to Hell, my love,
  • Two hearts shall meet in Heaven above.
  • Our shrift thou sought'st, but might'st not bring:
  • And oh! for me 'tis a blessed thing
  • To work hereby our ransoming.
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  • “One were our hearts in joy and pain,
  • And our souls e'en now grow one again.
  • And O my love, if our souls are three,
  • O thine and mine shall the third soul be,—
  • 180One threefold love eternally.”
  • Her eyes were soft as she spoke apart,
  • And the lips smiled to the broken heart:
  • But the glance was dark and the forehead scored
  • With the bitter frown of hate restored,
  • As her two hands swung the heavy sword.
  • Three steps back from her f Foe she trod:—
  • “Love, for thy sake! In Thy Name, O God!”
  • In the fair white hands small strength was shown;
  • Yet the blade flashed high and the edge fell prone,
  • 190And she cleft the heart of the Beryl-stone.
Manuscript Addition: 1
Editorial Description: Printer's proof-sequence number in upper left corner.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham and Chiswick Press Printer's Stamp, dated 7 Apr. 81]
Editorial Description: Stamped at upper left.
Image of page 65 page: 65
Sig. F
  • “Though naught for the poor corpse lying here
  • Remain to-day but the cold white bier,
  • But burial-chaunt and bended knee,
  • But sighs and tears that heaviest be,
  • But rent rose-flower and rosemary.”
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  • We, cast forth from the Beryl,
  • Gyre-circling spirits of fire,
  • Whose pangs begin
  • With God's grace to S sin,
  • For whose spent powers the immortal hours are
  • sterile,—
  • Woe! must We behold this mother
  • Find grace in her dead child's face, and doubt of
  • none other
  • But that perfect pardon, alas! hath assured her
  • guerdon?
  • Woe! must We behold this daughter,
  • 10 Made clean from the soil of S sin wherewith We had
  • 10 fraught her,
  • Image of page 67 page: 67
  • Shake off a man's blood like water?
  • Write up her story ,
  • On the Gate of Heaven's glory,
  • Whom there We behold so fair in shining apparel,
  • And beneath her the ruin
  • Of our own undoing!
  • Alas, the Beryl!
  • We had for a foeman
  • But one weak woman;
  • 20 In one day's strife,
  • Her hope fell dead from her life;
  • And yet no iron,
  • Her soul to environ,
  • Could this manslayer, this false soothsayer imperil!
  • Lo, where she bows
  • In the Holy House!
  • Who now shall d eli issever her soul from its joy for ever,
  • Image of page 68 page: 68
  • While every ditty
  • Of love and plentiful pity
  • 30 Fills the White City,
  • And the floor of Heaven to her feet for ever is given
  • Hark, a voice cries “Flee!”
  • Woe! woe! what shelter have We,
  • Whose pangs begin
  • With God's grace to S sin,
  • For whose spent powers the immortal hours are
  • sterile,
  • Gyre-circling spirits of fire,
  • We, cast forth from the Beryl?
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  • But all the chiefs of the English land
  • Had knelt and kissed the Prince's hand.
  • And next with his son he sailed to France
  • To claim the Norman allegiance:
  • And every baron in Normandy
  • Had taken the oath of fealty.
  • 'Twas sworn and sealed, and the day had come
  • When the King and the Prince might journey home:
  • For Christmas cheer is to home hearts dear,
  • 30And Christmas now was drawing near.
  • Stout Fitz-Stephen came to the King,—
  • A pilot famous in seafaring;
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  • And he held to the King, in all men's sight,
  • A mark of gold for his tribute's right.
  • “Liege Lord! my father guided the ship
  • From whose boat your father's foot did slip
  • When he caught the English soil in his grip,
  • ”And cried: “By this clasp I claim command
  • O'er every rood of English land!”
  • 40“He was borne to the realm you rule o'er now
  • In that ship with the archer carved at her prow:
  • ”And thither I'll bear, an ' it be my due,
  • Your father's son and his grandson too.
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  • “The famed White Ship is mine in the bay;
  • From Harfleur's harbour she sails to-day,
  • ”With masts fair-p i ennoned as Norman spears
  • And with fifty well-tried mariners.“
  • Quoth the King: ”My ships are chosen each one,
  • But I'll not say nay to Stephen's son.
  • 50“My son and daughter and fellowship
  • Shall cross the water in the White Ship.”
  • The King set sail with the eve's south wind,
  • And soon he left that coast behind.
  • The Prince and all his, a princely show,
  • Remained in the good White Ship to go.
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  • With noble knights and with ladies fair,
  • With courtiers and sailors gathered there,
  • Three hundred living souls we were:
  • And I Berold was the meanest hind
  • 60In all that train to the Prince assign e 'd.
  • The Prince was a lawless shameless youth;
  • From his father's loins he sprang without ruth:
  • Eighteen years till then he had seen,
  • And the devil's dues in him were eighteen.
  • And now he cried: “Bring wine from below;
  • Let the sailors revel ere yet they row:
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Sig. G
Manuscript Addition: 1
Editorial Description: Proof number added by printer.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham's printer date stamp, 7 Apr. 81]
  • He gazed aloft, still rowing apace,
  • And through the whirled surf he knew her face.
  • To the toppling decks clave one and all
  • As a fly cleaves to a chamber-wall.
  • I Berold was clinging anear;
  • I prayed for myself and quaked with fear,
  • But I saw his eyes as he looked at her.
  • He knew her face and he heard her cry,
  • 120And he said, “Put back! she must not die!”
  • And back with the current's force they reel
  • Like a leaf that's drawn to a water-wheel.
page: 82
  • 'Neath the ship's trava i ìl they scarce might float,
  • But he rose and stood in the rocking boat.
  • Low the poor ship leaned on the tide:
  • O'er the naked keel as she best might slide,
  • The sister toiled to the brother's side.
  • He reached an oar to her from below,
  • And stiffened his arms to clutch her so.
  • 130But now from the ship some spied the boat,
  • And “Saved!” was the cry from many a throat.
  • And down to the boat they leaped and fell:
  • It turned as a bucket turns in a well,
  • And nothing was there but the surge and swell.
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  • At last the morning rose on the sea
  • Like an angel's wing that beat towards tow'rds me.
  • Sore numbed I was in my sheepskin coat;
  • Half dead I hung, and might nothing r note,
  • Till I woke sun-warmed in a fisher-boat.
  • The sun was high o'er the eastern brim
  • As I praised God and gave thanks to Him.
  • 210That day I told my tale to a priest,
  • Who charged me, till the shrift were releas e 'd,
  • That I should keep it in mine own breast!
  • And with the priest I thence did fare
  • To King Henry's court at Winchester.
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  • We spoke with the King's high chamberlain,
  • And he wept and mourned again and again,
  • As if his own son had been slain:
  • And round us ever there crowded fast
  • Great men with faces all aghast:
  • 220And who so bold that might tell the thing
  • Which now they knew to their lord the King?
  • Much woe I learnt in their communing.
  • The King had watched with a heart sore stirred
  • For two whole days, and this was the third:
  • And still to all his court would he say,
  • “What keeps my son so long away?”
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  • And they said: “The ports lie far and wide
  • That skirt the swell of the English tide;
  • “And England's cliffs are not more white
  • 230Than her women are, and scarce so light
  • Her skies as their eyes are blue and bright;
  • “And in some port that he reached from France
  • The Prince has lingered for his pleasa ùnce.”
  • But once the King asked: “What distant cry
  • Was that we heard 'twixt the sea and sky?”
  • And one said: “With suchlike shouts, pardie!
  • Do the fishers fling their nets at sea.”
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  • And one: “Who knows not the shrieking quest
  • When the sea-mew misses its young from the nest?”
  • 240'Twas thus till now they had soothed his dread,
  • Albeit they knew not what they said:
  • But who should speak to-day of the thing
  • That all knew there except the King?
  • Then pondering much they found a way,
  • And met round the King's high seat that day:
  • And the King sat with a heart sore stirred,
  • And seldom he spoke and seldom heard.
  • 'Twas then through the hall the King was 'ware
  • Of a little boy with golden hair,
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Manuscript Addition: 1
Editorial Description: Printer's proof number.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham's printer date stamp, 25 Apr. 81]
Printer's Direction: Please for the future send / 3 copies of each proof. / D. G. Rossetti
Editorial Description: Note to the printer.
Sig. L
  • And what I say next I partly saw
  • And partly I heard in sooth,
  • And partly since from the murderers' lips
  • The torture wrung the truth.
  • For now again came the armèd tread,
  • And fast through the hall it fell;
  • But the throng was less; and ere I saw,
  • By the voice without I could tell
  • That Robert Stuart had come with them
  • 650Who knew that chamber well.
  • And over the space the Græme strode dark
  • With his mantle round him flung;
  • And in his eye was a flaming light
  • But not a word on his tongue.
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  • And Stuart held a torch to the floor,
  • And he found the thing he sought;
  • And they slashed the plank away with their swords;
  • And O God! I fainted not!
  • And the traitor held his torch in the gap,
  • 660All smoking and smouldering;
  • And through the vapour and fire, beneath
  • In the dark crypt's narrow ring,
  • With a shout that pealed to the room's high roof
  • They saw their naked King.
  • Half naked he stood, but stood as one
  • Who yet could do and dare:
  • With the crown, the King was stript away,—
  • The Knight was reft of his battle-array,—
  • But still the Man was there.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1