Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature O (Delaware Museum, first author's proof)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 May 3
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
Issue: 1

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

Image of page 193 page: 193
Sig. O
Note: Three lines are written at the top of the page as alternates for line 8, the first two being cancelled by DGR. The alternate he drafted at the bottom of the page is for line 14.
Manuscript Addition: 1
Editorial Description: Printer's proof number added in upper left.
Manuscript Addition: x
Editorial Description: Printer's mark in upper right corner.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham's printer date stamp, 3 May 81]

  • High grace, the dower of queens; and therewithal
  • Some wood-born wonder's sweet simplicity;
  • A glance like water brimming with the sky
  • Or hyacinth-light where forest-shadows fall;
  • Such thrilling pallor of cheek as doth enthral
  • The heart; a mouth whose passionate forms imply
  • All music and all silence held thereby;
  • Gold tresses, her embo rd wering co [?] ronal;
  • Added Text Gold tresses, her embordering coronal
  • Added Text Deep golden locks, her queenly coronal
  • Added TextDeep golden locks, her flowering sovereign coronal
  • A round reared neck, meet column of Love's shrine ,
  • 10 To cling to when the heart takes sanctuary;
  • Hands which for ever at Love's bidding be,
  • And soft-stirred feet still answering to his sign:—
  • These are her gifts, as tongue may tell them o'er , .
  • Breathe low her name, my soul; for that means
  • more.
  • Added TextThou knowst her name, O Love; and that means more.
Image of page 194 page: 194

  • Lady, I thank thee for thy loveliness,
  • Because my lady is more lovely still.
  • Glorying I gaze, and yield with glad goodwill
  • To thee thy tribute; by whose sweet-spun dress
  • Of delicate life Love labours to assess ,
  • My lady's absolute queendom; saying, “Lo!
  • How high this beauty is, which yet doth show
  • But as that beauty's sovereign votaress.”
  • Lady, I saw thee with her, side by side;
  • 10 And as, when night's fair fires their queen sur-
  • round,
  • An emulous star too near the moon will ride,—
  • Even so thy rays within her luminous bound
  • Were traced no more; and by the light so drown'd,
  • Lady, not thou but she was glorified.
Image of page 195 page: 195

  • Could Juno's self more sovereign presence wear
  • Than thou, 'mid other ladies , throned in grace?—
  • Or Pallas, when thou bend'st with soul-stilled face
  • O'er poet's page gold-shadowed in thy hair?
  • Dost thou than Venus seem less heavenly fair
  • When o'er the sea of love's tumultuous trance
  • Hovers thy smile, and mingles with thy glance
  • That sweet voice like the last wave murmuring
  • there?
  • Before such triune loveliness divine
  • 10 Awestruck I ask, which goddess here most claims
  • The prize that, howsoe'er adjudged, is thine?
  • Then Love breathes low the sweetest of thy
  • names;
  • And Venus Victrix to my heart doth bring
  • Herself, the Helen of her guerdoning.
Image of page 196 page: 196

  • Sometimes she is a child within mine arms,
  • Cowering beneath dark wings that love must
  • chase ; ,—
  • With still tears sho erw wering and averted face,
  • Inexplicably filled with faint alarms:
  • And oft from mine own spirit's hurtling harms
  • I crave the refuge of her deep embrace,—
  • Against all ills the fortified strong place
  • And sweet reserve of sovereign counter-charms.
  • And Love, our light at night and shade at noon,
  • 10 Lulls us to rest with songs, and turns away
  • All shafts of shelterless tumultuous day.
  • Like the moon's growth, his face gleams through
  • his tune;
  • And as soft waters warble to the moon,
  • Our answering spirits chime one roundelay.
Image of page 197 page: 197

  • Sometimes I fain would find in thee some fault,
  • That I might love thee still in spite of it:
  • Yet how should our Lord Love curtail one whit
  • Thy perfect praise whom most he would exalt?
  • Alas! he can but make my heart's low vault
  • Even in men's sight unworthier, being lit
  • By thee, who thereby show'st more exquisite
  • Like fiery chrysoprase in deep basalt.
  • Yet will I nowise shrink; but at Love's shrine
  • 10 Myself within the beams his brow doth dart
  • Will set the flashing jewel of thy heart
  • In that dull chamber where it deigns to shine:
  • For lo! in honour of thine excellencies
  • My heart takes pride to show how poor it is.
Image of page 198 page: 198

  • Not in thy body is thy life at all
  • But in this lady's lips and hands and eyes;
  • Through these she yields thee life that vivifies
  • What else were sorrow's servant and death's thrall.
  • Look on thyself without her, and recall
  • The waste remembrance and forlorn surmise
  • That lived but in a dead-drawn breath of sighs
  • O'er vanished hours and hours eventual.
  • Even so much life hath the poor tress of hair
  • 10 Which, stored apart, is all love hath to show
  • For heart-beats and for fire-heats long ago;
  • Even so much life endures unknown, even where,
  • 'Mid change the changeless night environeth,
  • Lies all that golden hair undimmed in death.
Image of page 199 page: 199

  • “When that dead face, bowered in the furthest
  • years,
  • Which once was all the life years held for thee,
  • Can now scarce bid the tides of memory
  • Cast on thy soul a little spray of tears,—
  • How canst thou gaze into these eyes of hers
  • Whom now thy heart delights in, and not see
  • Within each orb Love's philtred euphrasy
  • Make them of buried troth remembrancers?”
  • “Nay, pitiful Love, nay, loving Pity! Well
  • 10 Thou knowest that in these twain I have confess'd
  • Two very voices of thy summoning bell.
  • Nay, Master, shall not Death make manifest
  • In these the culminant changes which approve
  • The love-moon that must light my soul to Love?”
Image of page 200 page: 200

  • “Thou Ghost,” I said, “and is thy name To-day?—
  • Yesterday's son, with such an abject brow!—
  • And can To-morrow be more pale than thou?”
  • While yet I spoke, the silence answered: “Yea,
  • Henceforth our issue is all grieved and grey,
  • And each beforehand makes such poor avow
  • As of old leaves beneath the budding bough
  • Or night-drift that the sundawn shreds away.”
  • Then cried I: “Mother of many malisons,
  • 10 O Earth, receive me to thy dusty bed!”
  • But therewithal the tremulous silence said:
  • “Lo! Love yet bids thy lady greet thee once:—
  • Yea, twice,—whereby thy life is still the sun's;
  • And thrice,—whereby the shadow of death is
  • dead.”
Image of page 201 page: 201

  • Girt in dark growths, yet glimmering with one
  • star,
  • O night desirous as the nights of youth!
  • Why should my heart within thy spell, forsooth,
  • Now beat, as the bride's finger-pulses are
  • Quickened within the girdling golden bar?
  • What wings are these than fan my pillow smooth?
  • And why does Sleep, waved back by Joy and
  • Ruth,
  • Tread softly round and gaze at me from far?
  • Nay, night deep-leaved! And would Love feign in
  • thee
  • 10 Some shadowy palpitating grove that bears
  • Rest for man's eyes and music for his ears?
  • O lonely night! art thou not known to me,
  • A thicket hung with masks of mockery
  • And watered with the wasteful warmth of tears?
Image of page 202 page: 202

  • Two separate divided silences,
  • Which, brought together, would find loving voice;
  • Two glances which together would rejoice
  • In love, now lost like stars beyond dark trees;
  • Two hands apart whose touch alone gives ease;
  • Two bosoms which, heart-shrined with mutual
  • flame,
  • Would, meeting in one clasp, be made the same;
  • Two souls, the shores wave-mocked of sundering
  • seas:—
  • Such are we now. Ah! may our hope forecast
  • 10 Indeed one hour again, when on this stream
  • Of darkened love once more the light shall
  • gleam?—
  • An hour how slow to come, how quickly past,—
  • Which beams blooms and fades, and only leaves at last,
  • Faint as shed flowers, the attenuated dream.
Image of page 203 page: 203

  • Like labour-laden moonclouds faint to flee
  • From winds that sweep the winter-bitten wo rld,—
  • Like multiform circumfluence manifold
  • Of night's flood-tide,—like terrors that agree
  • Of hoarse-tongued fire and inarticulate sea,—
  • Even such, within some glass dimmed by our
  • breath,
  • Our hearts discern wild images of Death,
  • Shadows and shoals that edge eternity.
  • Howbeit athwart Death's imminent shade doth
  • soar
  • 10 O ur ne Power , than flow of stream or flight of dove
  • Sweeter to glide around, to brood above.
  • Tell me, my heart,—what angel-greeted door
  • Or threshold of wing-winnowed threshing-floor
  • Hath guest fire-fledged as thine, whose lord is
  • Love?
Image of page 204 page: 204

  • I deemed thy garments, O my Hope, were grey,
  • So far I viewed thee. Now the space between
  • Is passed at length; and garmented in green
  • Even as in days of yore thou stand'st to-day.
  • Ah God! and but for lingering dull dismay,
  • On all that road our footsteps erst had been
  • Even thus commingled, and our shadows seen
  • Blent on the hedgerows and the water-way.
  • O Hope of mine whose eyes are living love,
  • 10 No eyes but hers,—O Love and Hope the same!—
  • Lean close to me, for now the sinking sun
  • That warmed our feet scarce gilds our hair above.
  • O hers thy voice and very hers thy name!
  • Alas, cling round me, for the day is done!
Image of page 205 page: 205

Added TextHOPE & TROTH
  • Kiss once again Bless hope & troth. Full many a withered year
  • Whirled past us, eddying to its chill doomsday;
  • And clasped together where the blown leaves lay,
  • We long have knelt and wept full many a tear.
  • Yet lo! one hour at last, the Spring's compeer,
  • Flutes softly to us from some green byeway:
  • Those years, those tears are dead, but only they . ,—
  • Kiss once again, my love; for we are here.
    Added TextBut only they—for thou & I are here.
  • Cling heart to heart; nor of this hour demand
  • 10 Whether in very truth, when we are dead,
  • Our hearts shall wake to know Love's golden head
  • Sole sunshine of the imperishable land;
  • Or but discern, through night's unfeatured scope,
  • Scorn-fired at length the illusive eyes of Hope.
Image of page 206 page: 206

  • Love, should I fear death most for you or me?
  • Yet if you die, can I not follow you,
  • Forcing the straits of change? Alas! but who
  • Shall wrest a bond from night's inveteracy,
  • Ere yet my hazardous soul put forth, to be
  • Her warrant against all her haste might rue?—
  • Ah! in your eyes so reached what dumb adieu,
  • What unsunned gy v res of waste eternity?
  • And if I die the first, shall death be then
  • 10 A lampless watchtower whence I see you weep?—
  • Or (woe is me!) a bed wherein my sleep
  • Ne'er notes (as death's dear cup at last you drain),
  • The hour when you too learn that all is vain
  • And that Hope sows what Love shall never reap?
Image of page 207 page: 207

  • Because our talk was of the cloud-control
  • And moon-track of the journeying face of Fate,
  • Her tremulous kisses faltered at love's gate
  • And her eyes dreamed against a distant goal:
  • But soon, remembering her how brief the whole
  • Of joy, which its own hours annihilate,
  • Her set gaze gathered, thirstier than of late,
  • And as she kissed, her mouth became her soul.
  • Thence in what ways we wandered, and how strove
  • 10 To build with fire-tried vows the piteous home
  • Which memory haunts and whither sleep may
  • roam,—
  • They only know for whom the roof of Love
  • Is the still-seated secret of the grove,
  • Nor spire may rise nor bell be heard therefrom.
Image of page 208 page: 208

  • What shall be said of this embattled day
  • And armed occupation of this night
  • By all thy foes beleaguered,—now when sight
  • Nor sound denotes the loved one far away?
  • Of these thy vanquished hours what shalt thou say,—
  • As every sense to which she dealt delight
  • Now labours lonely o'er the stark noon-height
  • To reach the sunset's desolate disarray?
  • Stand still, fond fettered wretch! while Memory's art
  • 10 Parades the Past before thy face, and lures
  • Thy spirit to her passionate portraitures:
  • Till the tempestuous tide-gates flung apart
  • Flood with wild will the hollows of thy heart,
  • And thy heart rends thee, and thy body endures.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1