Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature X (Delaware Museum, author's first proof, partial copy)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 May 6
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 307 page: 307
  • Still we say as we go,—
  • “Strange to think by the way,
  • Whatever there is to know,
  • That shall we know one day.”
  • The sky leans dumb on the sea,
  • 50 Aweary with all its wings;
  • And oh! the song the sea sings
  • Is dark everlastingly.
  • Our past is clean forgot,
  • Our present is and is not,
  • Our future's a sealed seedplot,
  • And what betwixt them are we?—
  • We who say as we go,—
  • “Strange to think by the way,
  • Whatever there is to know,
  • 60 That shall we know one day.”
Image of page [308] page: [308]
Note: blank page
Image of page [309] page: [309]
Image of page [310] page: [310]
Note: blank page
Image of page [311] page: [311]
Manuscript Addition:
Editorial Description: Printer's check mark
Manuscript Addition: ^
Editorial Description: Printer's mark, possibly indicating this is an insert page.
Note: A check mark is put in the right margin by line 7, referencing the underlined word “yon”.

Added Text,


  • Turn not the prophet 's page, O Son! He knew
  • All that thou hast to suffer, and hath writ.
  • Not yet thine hour of knowledge , .. Infinite
  • The sorrows that thy manhood's lot must rue
  • And dire acquaintance of thy grief. That clue ,
  • The spirits of thy mournful ministerings
  • Seek through yon scroll in silence. For these
  • things
  • The angels have desired to look into.
  • Still before Eden waves the fiery sword,—
  • 10 Her Tree of Life unransomed: whose sad Tree
  • Of Knowledge yet to growth of Calvary
  • Must yield its Tempter,—Hell the earliest dead
  • Of Earth resign,—and yet, O Son and Lord,
  • The Seed o' the Woman bruise the serpent's
  • head.
Transcribed Footnote (page [311]):

1 In this picture the Virgin Mother is seen withholding

from the Child Saviour the prophetic writings in which his

sufferings are foretold. Angelic figures beside them examine

a scroll.

Image of page 312 page: 312
Note: DGR corrects the running head on this page and the next from “The House of Life” to “Sonnets”
Manuscript Addition: (Qy. headline / replace?
Editorial Description: Printer's query to DGR.
Printer's Direction: Sonnets (all along top line)
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer



  • What masque of what old wind-withered New-Year
  • Honours this Lady? 1 Flora, wanton-eyed
  • For birth, and with all flowrets prankt and pied:
  • Aurora, Zephyrus, with mutual cheer
  • Of clasp and kiss: the Graces circling near,
  • 'Neath bower-linked arch of white arms glorified:
  • And with those feathered feet which hovering
  • glide
  • O'er Spring's brief bloom, Hermes the harbinger.
  • Birth-bare, not death-bare yet, the young stems
  • stand,
  • 10 This Lady's temple-columns: o'er her head
  • Love wings his shaft. What mystery here is read
  • Of homage or of hope? But how command
  • Dead Springs to answer? And how question here
  • These mummers of that wind-withered New-
  • Year?
Transcribed Footnote (page 312):

1 The same lady, here surrounded by the masque of

Spring, is evidently the subject of a portrait of by Botticelli for-

merly in the Pourtalès collection in Paris. This portrait is

inscribed “Smeralda Bandinelli.”

Image of page 313 page: 313
Note: A check mark is put in the right margin by line 7, referencing the underlined words “unuttered” and “soared”.
  • With Shakspeare's manhood at a boy's wild
  • heart,—
  • Through Hamlet's doubt to Shakspeare near
  • allied,
  • And kin to Milton through his Satan's pride,—
  • At Death's sole door he stooped, and craved a dart;
  • And to the dear new bower of England's art,—
  • Even to that shrine Time else had deified,
  • The unuttered heart that soared against his
  • side,—
  • Drove the fell point, and smote life's seals apart.
  • Thy nested home-loves, noble Chatterton;
  • 10 The angel-trodden stair thy soul could trace
  • Up Redcliffe's spire; and in the world's armed
  • space
  • Thy gallant sword-play:—these to many an one
  • Are sweet for ever; as thy grave unknown
  • And love-dream of thine unrecorded face.
Image of page 314 page: 314

(To Frederick Shields, on his Sketch of Blake's work-

room and death . -room, 3, Fountain Court, Strand.)
  • This is the place. Even here the dauntless soul,
  • The unflinching hand, wrought on; till in that
  • nook,
  • As on that very bed, his life partook
  • New birth, and passed. Yon river's dusky shoal,
  • Whereto the close-built coiling lanes unroll,
  • Faced his work-window, whence his eyes would
  • stare,
  • Thought-wandering, unto nought that met them
  • there,
  • But to the unfettered irreversible goal.
  • This cupboard, Holy of Holies, held the cloud
  • 10 Of his soul writ and limned; this other one,
  • His true wife's charge, full oft to their abode
  • Yielded for daily bread the martyr's stone,
  • Ere yet their food might be that Bread alone,
  • The words n e ow home-speech of the mouth of God.
Image of page 315 page: 315
Note: A check mark is put in the right margin by line 9, referencing the printing of the underlined words.
  • His Soul fared forth (as from the deep home-grove
  • The father-songster plies the hour-long quest,)
  • To feed his soul-brood hungering in the nest;
  • But his warm Heart, the mother-bird, above
  • Their callow fledgling progeny still hove
  • With tented roof of wings and fostering breast
  • Till the Soul fed the soul-brood. Richly blest
  • From Heaven their growth, whose food was Human
  • Love.
  • Yet ah! Like desart pools that show the stars
  • 10 Once in long leagues,—even such the scarce-
  • snatched hours
  • Which deepening pain left to his lordliest
  • powers:—
  • Heaven lost through spider-trammelled prison-bars.
  • Five Six years, from seventy sixty saved! Yet kindling
  • skies
  • Own them, a beacon to our centuries.
Image of page 316 page: 316
  • The w i eltering London ways where children weep
  • And girls whom none call maidens laugh,—
  • strange road
  • Miring his outward steps, who inly trode
  • The bright Castalian brink and Latmos' steep:—
  • Even such his life's cross-paths; till deathly deep
  • He toiled through sands of Lethe; and long pain,
  • Weary with labour spurned and love found vain,
  • In dead Rome's sheltering shadow wrapped his
  • sleep.
  • O pang-dowered Poet, whose reverberant lips
  • 10And heart-strung lyre awoke the Moon's eclipse,—
  • Thou whom the daisies glory in growing o'er,—
  • Their fragrance clings around thy name, not writ
  • But rumour'd in water, while the fame of it
  • Along Time's flood goes echoing evermore.
Image of page 317 page: 317

(Inscription for the couch, still preserved, on which

he passed the last night of his life.)
  • 'Twixt those twin worlds,—the world of Sleep,
  • which gave
  • No dream to warn,—the tidal world of Death,
  • Which the earth's sea, as the earth, replenisheth,—
  • Shelley, Song's orient sun, to breast the wave,
  • Rose from this couch that morn. Ah! did he brave
  • Only the sea?—or did man's deed of hell
  • Engulph his bark 'mid mists impenetrable? . . . .
  • No eye discerned, nor any power might save.
  • When that mist cleared, O Shelley! what dread veil
  • 10 Was rent from thee, to whom far-darkling Truth
  • Reigned sovereign guide through thy brief age-
  • less youth?
  • Was the Truth thy Truth, Shelley?—Hush! All-
  • Hail,
  • Past doubt, thou gav'st it; and in Truth's bright
  • sphere ,
  • Art first of praisers, being most prais e èd here.
Image of page 318 page: 318
Added TextUntimely Lost.

(Oliver Madox Brown. Born 1855; Died 1874


Born 1855, Died 1874.
  • Upon the landscape of his coming life
  • A youth high-gifted gazed, and found it fair:
  • The heights of work, the floods of praise, were
  • there.
  • What friendships, what desires, what love, what
  • wife?—
  • All things to come. The fanned springtide was rife
  • With imminent solstice; and the ardent air
  • Had summer sweets and autumn fires to bear;—
  • Heart's ease full-pulsed with perfect strength for
  • strife.
  • A mist has risen: we see the youth no more:
  • 10 Does he see on and strive on? And may we
  • Late-tottering worldworn hence, find his to be
  • The young strong hand which helps us up that
  • shore?
  • Or, echoing the No More with Nevermore,
  • Must Night be ours and his? We hope: and he?
Image of page 319 page: 319


(24th August, 1572.
Deleted Text
  • Not 'neath the altar only,—yet, in sooth,
  • There more than elsewhere,—is the cry, “How
  • long?”
  • How hath the right sown there borne fruit in
  • wrong,
  • The wrong waxed fourfold! Thence, ( in hate i' the name of
  • Truth)
  • O'er weapons blessed for carnage, to fierce youth
  • From evil age, the word hath hissed along:—
  • “Ye are the Lord's: go forth, destroy, be strong:
  • Christ's Church absolves ye from Christ's law of
  • ruth.”
  • Therefore, O Christ, thine altar's wine-cup is
  • 10 As thine own blood indeed, and as the blood
  • Of thine elect, at divers seasons spilt
  • On the altar-stone, that to Man's Church, for this
  • Shall prove a stone of stumbling,—whence it
  • stood
  • To be rent up ere the true Church be built.
Image of page 320 page: 320
Note: DGR cancels the poem but then writes “Stet” to replace it. A check mark is put beside line 5 to reference the printing of the word “stayed.”
Manuscript Addition: Sonnets
Editorial Description: DGR's correction of running head.
Printer's Direction: This to page 325
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer
  • How dear the sky has been above this place!
  • Small treasures of this sky that we see here
  • Seen weak through prison-bars from year to
  • year;
  • Eyed with a painful prayer upon God's grace
  • To save, and tears that stayed along the face
  • Lifted at S sunset. Yea, how passing dear,
  • Those nights when through the bars a wind left
  • clear
  • The heaven, and moonlight soothed the limpid
  • space!
  • So was it, till one night the secret kept
  • 10 Safe in low vault and stealthy corridor
  • Was blown abroad on gospel-tongues of flame.
  • O ways of God, mysterious evermore!
  • How many on this spot have cursed and wept
  • That all might stand here now and own Thy
  • Name.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1