Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature C (Delaware Museum first author's proof, copy 1)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 April 6
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
Issue: 1

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

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 6 Apr. 81]
Editorial Description: Stamped at upper left.
Sig. C
Image of page 17 page: 17
Sig. C
  • “The road shifts ever and brings in view
  • Now first the heights of Holycleugh:
  • Dark they stand o'er the vale below,
  • And hide that heaven which yet shall show
  • 210The thing their master's heart doth know.
  • “Where the road looks to the castle steep,
  • There are seven hill-clefts wide and deep:
  • Six mine eyes can search as they list,
  • But the seventh hollow is brimmed with mist:
  • If aught were there, it might not be wist.”
  • “Small hope, my girl, for a helm to hide
  • In mists that cling to a wild moorside:
  • Soon they melt with the wind and sun,
  • And scarce would wait such deeds to be done:
  • 220God send their snares be the worst to shun.”
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  • “Still the road winds ever anew
  • As it hastens on towards Holycleugh;
  • And ever the great walls loom more near,
  • Till the castle-shadow, steep and sheer,
  • Drifts like a cloud, and the sky is clear.”
  • “Enough, my daughter,” the mother said,
  • And took to her breast the bending head;
  • “Rest, poor head, with my heart below,
  • While love still lulls you as long ago:
  • 230For all is learnt that we need to know.
  • “Long the miles and many the hours
  • From the castle-height to the abbey-towers;
  • But here the journey has no more dread;
  • Too thick with life is the whole road spread
  • For murder's trembling foot to tread.”
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  • She gazed on the Beryl-stone full fain
  • Ere she wrapped it close in her robe again:
  • The flickering shades were dusk and dun,
  • And the lights throbbed faint in unison,
  • 240Like a high heart when a race is run.
  • As the globe slid to its silken gloom,
  • Once more a music rained through the room;
  • Low it splashed like a sweet star-spray,
  • And sobbed like tears at the heart of May,
  • And died as laughter dies away.
  • The lady held her breath for a space,
  • And then she looked in her daughter's face:
  • But pale Rose Mary had never heard;
  • Deep asleep like a sheltered bird
  • 250She lay with the long spell minister e 'd.
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  • “Ah! and yet I must leave you, dear,
  • For what you have seen your knight must hear.
  • Within four days, by the help of God,
  • He comes back safe to his heart's abode:
  • Be sure he shall shun the valley-road.”
  • Rose Mary sank with a broken moan,
  • And lay in the chair and slept alone,
  • Weary, lifeless, heavy as lead:
  • Long it was ere she raised her head
  • 260And rose up all discomforted.
  • She searched her brain for a vanished thing,
  • And clasped her brows, remembering;
  • Then knelt and lifted her eyes in awe,
  • And sighed with a long sigh sweet to draw:
  • “Thank God, thank God, thank God I saw!”
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  • The lady had left her as she lay,
  • To seek the Knight of Heronhaye.
  • But first she clomb by a secret stair,
  • And knelt at a carven altar fair,
  • 270And laid the precious Beryl there.
  • Its girth was graved with a mystic rune
  • In a tongue long dead 'neath sun and moon:
  • A priest of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Read that writing and did not err;
  • And her lord had told its sense to her.
  • She breathed the words in an undertone:—
  • None sees here but the pure alone.”
  • “And oh!” she said, “what rose may be
  • In Mary's bower more pure to see
  • 280Than my own sweet maiden Rose Mary?”
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  • We whose home is the Beryl,
  • Fire-spirits of dread desire,
  • Who entered in
  • By a secret sin,
  • Gainst whom all powers that strive with ours are
  • sterile,—
  • We cry, Woe to thee, mother!
  • What hast thou taught her, the girl thy da n ughter,
  • That she and none other
  • Should this dark morrow to her deadly sorrow imperil?
  • 10 What were her eyes
  • But the fiend's own spies,
  • O mother,
  • And shall We not fee her, our proper prophet and se ëadd>r?
    Image of page 23 page: 23
  • Go to her, mother,
  • Even thou, yea thou and none other,
  • Thou, from the Beryl:
  • Her fee must thou take her ,
  • Her fee that We send, and make her,
  • Even in this hour, her sin's unsheltered avower.
  • 20 Whose steed did neigh,
  • Riderless, bridle-less,
  • At her gate before it was day?
  • Lo! where doth hover
  • The soul of her lover?
  • She sealed his doom, she, she was the sworn
  • approver,—
  • Whose eyes were so wondrous wise,
  • Yet blind, ah! blind to his peril!
  • For stole not We in
  • Through a love-linked sin,
    Image of page 24 page: 24
  • 30 'Gainst whom all powers at war with ours are
  • sterile,—
  • Fire-spirits of dread desire,
  • We whose home is the Beryl?
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  • “Pale Rose Mary, what shall be done
  • With a rose that Mary weeps upon?”
  • “Mother, let it fall from the tree,
  • And never walk where the strewn leaves be
  • Till winds have passed and the path is free.”
  • “Sad Rose Mary, what shall be done
  • With a cankered flower beneath the sun?”
  • “Mother, let it wait for the night;
  • Be sure its shame shall be out of sight
  • 10Ere the moon pale or the east grow light.”
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  • “Lost Rose Mary, what shall be done
  • With a heart that is but a broken one?”
  • “Mother, let it lie where it must;
  • The blood was drained with the bitter thrust,
  • And dust is all that sinks in the dust.”
  • “Poor Rose Mary, what shall I do,—
  • I, your mother, that lovèd you?”
  • “O my mother, and is love gone?
  • Then seek you another love anon:
  • 20Who cares what shame shall lean upon?”
  • Low drooped trembling Rose Mary,
  • Then up as though in a dream stood she.
  • “Come, my heart, it is time to go;
  • This is the hour that has whispered low
  • When thy pulse quailed in the nights we know.
Image of page 27 page: 27
  • “Yet O my heart, thy shame has a mate
  • Who will not leave thee desolate.
  • Shame for shame, yea , and sin for sin:
  • Yet peace at length may our poor souls win
  • 30If love for love be found therein.
  • “O thou who seek'st our shrift to-day,”
  • She cried, “O James of Heronhaye—
  • Thy sin and mine was for love alone;
  • And oh! in the sight of God 'tis known
  • How the heart has since made heavy moan.
  • “Three days yet!” she said to her heart;
  • “But then he comes, and we will not part.
  • God, God be thanked that I still could see!
  • Oh! he shall come back assuredly,
  • 40But where, alas! must he seek for me?
Image of page 28 page: 28
  • “O my heart, what road shall we roam
  • Till my wedding-music fetch me home?
  • For love's shut from us and bides afar,
  • And scorn leans over the bitter bar
  • And knows us now for the thing we are.”
  • Tall she stood with a cheek flushed high
  • And a gaze to burn the heart-strings by.
  • 'Twas the lightning-flash o'er sky and plain
  • Ere labouring thunders heave the chain
  • 50From the floodgates of the drowning rain.
  • The mother looked on the daughter still
  • As on a hurt thing that's yet to kill.
  • Then wildly at length the pent tears came;
  • The love swelled high with the swollen shame,
  • And their hearts' tempest burst on them.
Image of page 29 page: 29
  • Closely locked, they clung without speech,
  • And the mirrored souls shook each to each,
  • As the cloud-moon and the water-moon
  • Shake face to face when the dim stars swoon
  • 60In stormy bowers of the night's mid-noon.
  • They swayed together, shuddering sore,
  • Till the mother's heart could bear no more.
  • 'Twas death to feel her own breast shake
  • Even to the very throb and ache
  • Of the burdened heart she still must break.
  • All her sobs ceased suddenly,
  • And she sat straight up but scarce could see.
  • “O daughter, where should my speech begin?
  • Your heart held fast its secret sin:
  • 70How think you, child, that I read therein?”
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  • “Ah me! but I thought not how it came
  • When your words showed that you knew my shame:
  • And now that you call me still your own,
  • I half forget you have ever known.
  • Did you read my heart in the Beryl-stone?”
  • The lady answered her mournfully:—
  • “The Beryl-stone has no voice for me:
  • But when you charged its power to show
  • The truth which none but the pure may know,
  • 80Did naught speak once of a coming woe?”
  • Her hand was close to her daughter's heart,
  • And it felt the life-blood's sudden start:
  • A quick deep breath did the damsel draw,
  • Like the struck fawn in the oakenshaw:
  • “O mother,” she cried, “but still I saw!”
Image of page 31 page: 31
  • “O child, my child, why held you apart
  • From my great love your hidden heart?
  • Said I not that all sin must chase
  • From the spell's sphere the spirits of grace,
  • 90And yield their rule to the evil race?
  • “Ah! would to God I had clearly told
  • How strong those powers, accurst of old:
  • Their heart is the ruined house of lies;
  • O girl, they can seal the sinful eyes,
  • Or show the truth by contraries . !
  • The daughter sat as cold as a stone,
  • And sp a oke no word but gazed alone,
  • Nor moved, though her mother strove a space
  • To clasp her round in a close embrace,
  • 100Because she dared not see her face.
Image of page 32 page: 32
  • “Oh!” at last did the mother cry,
  • “Be sure, as he loved you, so will I!
  • Ah! still and dumb is the bride, I trow;
  • But cold and stark as the winter snow
  • Is the bridegroom's heart, laid dead below . !
  • “Daughter, daughter, remember you
  • That cloud in the hills by Holycleugh?
  • 'Twas a h Hell-screen , hiding truth away:
  • There, not i' the vale, the ambush lay,
  • 110And thence was the dead borne home to-day.”
  • Deep the flood and heavy the shock
  • When sea meets sea in the riven rock:
  • But calm is the pulse that shakes the sea
  • To the prisoned tide of doom set free
  • In the breaking heart of Rose Mary.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1