Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription
Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature L (Delaware Museum, incomplete 31
May revise, copy 1)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 May 31
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham's printer date stamp, 31 May 81]
- And now the ladies fled with the Queen;
- And thorough the open door
- The night-wind wailed round the empty room
- And the rushes shook on the floor.
- And the bed drooped low in the dark recess
- Whence the arras was rent away;
- And the firelight still shone over the space
- Where our hidden secret lay.
- And the rain had ceased, and the moonbeams lit
630The window high in the wall,—
- Bright beams that on the plank that I knew
- Through the painted pane did fall
- And gleamed with the splendour of Scotland's crown
- And shield armorial.
- But then a great wind swept up the skies,
- And the climbing moon fell back;
- And the royal blazon fled from the floor,
- And nought remained on its track;
- And high in the darkened window-pane
640The shield and the crown were black.
- 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.
810Last she stood up to her queenly height,
- But she shook like an autumn leaf,
- As though the fire wherein she burned
- Then left her body, and all were turned
- To winter of life-long grief.
- And “O James!” she
said,—“My James!” she
- “Alas for the woful thing,
- That a poet true and a friend of man,
- In desperate days of bale and ban,
- Should needs be born a King!”
Electronic Archive Edition: 1