Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription
Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature N (Delaware Museum, first proof,
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 April 25
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.
Manuscript Addition: 1a
Editorial Description: Printer's proof number added in upper left.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham's printer date stamp, 25 Apr.81]
- Some ladies love the jewels in Love's zone
- And gold-tipped darts he hath for painless play
- In idle scornful hours he flings away;
- And some that listen to his lute's soft tone
- Do love to vaunt the silver praise their own;
- Some prize his blindfold sight; and there be they
- Who kissed his wings which brought him yester-
- And thank his wings to-day that he is flown.
- My lady only loves the heart of Love:
10 Therefore Love's heart, my lady, hath for thee
- His bower of unimagined flower and tree:
- There kneels he now, and all-anhungered of
- Thine eyes grey-lit in shadowing hair above,
- Seals with thy mouth his immortality.
- One flame-winged brought a white-winged harp—
- Even where my lady and I lay all alone;
- Saying: “Behold, this minstrel is unknown;
- Bid him depart, for I am minstrel here:
- Only my strains are to Love's dear ones dear.”
- Then said I: “Through thine
- turous tone
- Unto my lady still this harp makes moan,
- And still she deems the cadence deep and clear.”
- Then said my lady: “Thou art Passion of Love,
10 And this Love's Worship: both he plights to me.
- Thy mastering music walks the sunlit sea:
- But where wan water trembles in the grove
- And the wan moon is all the light thereof,
- This harp still makes my name its voluntary.”
- O Lord of all compassionate control,
- O Love! let this my lady's picture glow
- Under my hand to praise her name, and show
- Even of her inner self the perfect whole:
- That he who seeks her beauty's furthest goal,
- Beyond the light that the sweet glances throw
- And refluent wave of the sweet smile, may know
- The very sky and sea-line of her soul.
- Lo! it is done. Above the enthroning throat
10 The mouth's mould testifies of voice and kiss,
- The shadowed eyes remember and foresee.
- Her face is made her shrine. Let all men note
- That in all years (O Love, thy gift is this!)
- They that would look on her must come to me.
- Warmed by her hand and shadowed by her hair
- As close she leaned and poured her heart through
- Whereof the articulate throbs accompany
- The smooth black stream that makes thy whiteness
- Sweet fluttering sheet, even of her breath aware,—
- Oh let thy silent song disclose to me
- That soul wherewith her lips and eyes agree
- Like married music in Love's answering air.
- Fain had I watched her when, at some fond thought,
10 Her bosom to the writing closelier press'd,
- And her breast's secrets peered into her breast;
- When, through eyes raised an instant, her soul
- My soul, and from the sudden confluence caught
- The words that made her love the loveliest.
- Sweet twining hedgeflowers wind-stirred in no wise
- On this June day; and hand that clings in
- Still glades; and meeting faces scarcely fann'd:—
- An osier-odoured stream that draws the skies
- Deep to its heart; and mirrored eyes in eyes:—
- Fresh hourly wonder o'er the Summer land
- Of light and cloud; and two souls softly spann'd
- With one o'erarching heaven of smiles and sighs:—
- Even such their path, whose bodies lean unto
10 Each other's visible sweetness amorously,—
- Whose passionate hearts lean by Love's
- Together on his heart for ever true,
- As the cloud-foaming firmamental blue
- Rest on the blue line of a foamless sea.
- “I love you, sweet: how can you
- How much I love you?” “You I
love even so,
- And so I learn it.” “Sweet,
you cannot know
- How fair you are.” “If fair enough to earn
- Your love, so much is all my love's concern.”
- “My love grows hourly,
sweet.” “Mine too doth
- Yet love seemed full so many hours ago!”
- Thus lovers speak, till kisses claim their turn.
- Ah! happy they to whom such words as these
10 In youth have served for speech the whole day long,
- Hour after hour, remote from the world's throng,
- Work, contest, fame, all life's confederate pleas,—
- What while Love breathed in sighs and silences
- Through two blent souls one rapturous undersong.
- On this sweet bank your head thrice sweet and dear
- I lay, and spread your hair on either side,
- And see the newborn woodflowers bashful-eyed
- Look through the golden tresses here and there.
- On these debateable borders of the year
- Spring's foot half falters; scarce she yet may know
- The leafless blackthorn-blossom from the snow;
- And through her bowers the wind's way still is clear.
- But April's Sun strikes down the glades to-day;
10 So shut your eyes upturned, and feel my kiss
- Creep, as the Spring now thrills through every spray,
- Up your warm throat to your warm lips: for this
- Is even the hour of Love's sworn suitservice,
- With whom cold hearts are counted castaway.
- Have you not noted, in some family
- Where two were born of a first marriage-bed,
- How still they own their gracious bond, though fed
- And nursed on the forgotten breast and knee?—
- How to their father's children they shall be
- In act and thought of one goodwill; but each
- Shall for the other have, in silence speech,
- And in a word complete community?
- Even so, when first I saw you, seemed it, love,
10 That among souls allied to mine was yet
- One nearer kindred than life hinted of.
- O born with me somewhere that men forget,
- And though in years of sight and sound unmet,
- Known for my soul's birth-partner well enough!
Electronic Archive Edition: 1