Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription
Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature C (Delaware Museum, second revise proof)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 April 13
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.
Manuscript Addition: 3
Editorial Description: Printer's proof-sequence number in upper left corner.
Manuscript Addition: X
Editorial Description: Printer's mark in upper right corner.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham and Chiswick Press Printer's Stamp, dated 13 Apr. 81]
Editorial Description: Stamped at upper left.
- “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.”
- “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.”
- 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 wan Rose Mary had never heard;
- Deep asleep like a sheltered bird
250She lay with the long spell minister'd.
- “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!”
- 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?”
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
We cry, Woe to thee, mother!
What hast thou taught her, the girl thy daughter,
That she and none other
Should this dark morrow to her deadly sorrow imperil?
What were her eyes
But the fiend's own spies,
And shall We not fee her, our proper prophet and seër?
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.
Whose steed did neigh,
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
Whose eyes were so wondrous wise,
Yet blind, ah! blind to his peril!
For stole not We in
Through a love-linked sin,
'Gainst whom all powers at war with ours are
Fire-spirits of dread desire,
We whose home is the Beryl?
- “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.”
- “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.
- “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?
- “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.
- 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?”
- “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!”
- “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 spoke 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.
- “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 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