Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription
Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature G (Delaware Museum, early proof
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 April 7
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.
- The Prince that was and the King to come,
- There in an instant gone to his doom
- Despite of all England's bended knee
- And maugre the Norman fealty!
- He was a Prince of lust and pride;
140He showed no grace till the hour he died.
- When he should be King, he oft would vow,
- He'd yoke the peasant to his own plough.
- O'er him the ships score their furrows now.
- God only knows where his soul did wake,
- But I saw him die for his sister's sake.
- By none but me can the tale be told,
- The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.
Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
- 'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
150Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
The sea hath no King but God alone.)
- And now the end came o'er the waters' womb
- Like the last great Day that's yet to come.
- With prayers in vain and curses in vain,
- The White Ship sundered on the mid-main:
- And what were men and what was a ship
- Were toys and splinters in the sea's grip.
- At last the morning rose on the sea
- Like an angel's wing that beat tow'rds me.
- Sore numbed I was in my sheepskin coat;
- Half dead I hung, and might nothing 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'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.
- 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?”
Electronic Archive Edition: 1