Printer's Direction: Sonnets (all along top)
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer correcting the running head.
Manuscript Addition: [Charles Whittingham's printer date stamp, 7 May 81]
- THESE coins that jostle on my hand do own
- No single image: each name here and date
- Denoting in man's consciousness and state
- New change. In some, the face is clearly known,—
- In others marred. The badge of that old throne
- Of Kings is on the obverse; or this sign
- Which says, “Behold, I, France, am only mine;”
- Or else the eagle that dared soar alone.
- Even as these coins, so are these lives and years
10 Mixed and bewildered; yet hs each of them
- No less its part in what has come to be
- For France. Republic, Empire, Monarchy,—
- Each clamours or keeps silence in her name,
- And lives within the pulse that now is hers.
- AS one who, groping in a narrow stair,
- Has imminent clang of bells against his ears,
- Which, being afar in distance, still appears
- Quite close to him because of the pent air,—
- So with this France. She stumbles half aware
- In darkness without space for breath. Each one
- Who hears the thunder says, It shall anon
- Be in among her ranks to scatter her
- This may be; and it may be that the storm
10 Is spent in rain upon the unscathed seas
- Or breaks o'er other countries ere it die;
- While she, upclimbing always through the swarm
- Of darkness and of hurtling sound, from these
- Steps forth upon the light in a still sky.
- THE head and hands of murdered Cicero,
- Above his seat high in the Forum hung,
- Drew jeers and burning tears. When on the rung
- Of a swift-mounted ladder, all aglow,
- Fluvia, Mark Antony's shameless wife, with show
- Of foot firm-poised and gleaming arm upflung,
- Bade her sharp needle pierce that god-like tongue
- Whose speech fed Rome even as the Tiber's flow.
- And thou, Cleopatra's Needle, that hadst thrid
10Great skirts of Time ere she and Antony hid
- Dead hope!—hast thou too reached, surviving
- A city of sweet speech scorned,—on whose chill stone
- Keats withered, Coleridge pined, and Chatterton,
- Breadless, with poison froze the God-fired breath?
Printer's Direction: This in one / line small caps.
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer referencing the printing of the revision to the title.
- IN grappled ships around The Victory,
- Three boys did England's Duty with stout cheer,
- While one dread truth was kept from every ear,
- More dire than deafening fire that churned the sea:
- For in the flag-ship's weltering cockpit, he
- Who was the Battle's Heart without a peer,
- He who had seen all fearful sights save Fear,
- Was passing from all life save Victory.
- And round the old memorial board to-day,
10 Three greybeards—each a warworn British Tar—
- View through the mist of years that hour afar:
- Who soon shall greet, 'mid memories of fierce fray,
- The impassioned soul which on its radiant way
- Soared through the fiery cloud of Trafalgar.
- FROM him did forty million serfs, endow'd
- Each with six feet of death-due soil, receive
- Rich freeborn lifelong land, where
on to sheave
- Their country's harvest. These to-day aloud
- Demand of Heaven a Father's blood,—sore bow'd
- With tears and thrilled with wrath; who, while
- they grieve,
- On every guilty head would fain achieve
- All torment by his edicts disallow'd.
- He stayed the knout's red-ravening fangs; and first
10 Of Russian traitors, his own murderers go
- White to the tomb. While he,—laid foully low
- With limbs red-rent, with festering brain which erst
- Willed kingly freedom,—'gainst the deed accurst
- To God bears witness of his people's woe.
- HOW large that thrush looks on the bare thorn-tree!
- A swarm of such, three little months ago,
- Had hidden in the leaves and let none know
- Save by the outburst of their minstrelsy.
- A white flake here and there—a snow-lily
- Of last night's frost—our naked flower-beds hold;
- And for a rose-flower on the darkling mould
- The hungry redbreast gleams. No bloom, no bee.
- The current shudders to its ice-bound sedge:
10 Nipped in their bath, the stark reeds one by one
- Flash each its clinging diamond in the sun:
- 'Neath winds which for this Winter's sovereign
- Shall curb great king-masts to the ocean's edge
- And leave memorial forest-king's o'erthrown.
- SOFT-LITTERED is the new-year's lambing-fold,
- And in the hollowed haystack at its side
- The shepherd lies o'nights now, wakeful-eyed
- At the ewes' travailing call through the dark cold.
- The young rooks cheep 'mid the thick caw o'the old:
- And near unpeopled stream-sides, on the ground,
- By her spring-cry the moorhen's nest is found,
- Where the drained flood-lands flaunt their marigold.
- Chill are the gusts to which the pastures cower,
10 And chill the current where the young reeds stand
- As green and close as the young wheat on land:
- Yet here the cuckoo and the cuckoo-flower
- Plight to the heart Spring's perfect imminent hour
- Whose breath shall soothe you like your dear
- one's hand.
Printer's Direction: Sonnets
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer correcting the running head.
Printer's Direction: Stet this to page 32
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer restoring the poem, after having marked it for excision.
- SISTER, first shake we off the dust we have
- Upon our feet, lest it defile the stones
- Inscriptured, covering their sacred bones
- Who lie i'the aisles which keep the names they gave,
- Their trust abiding round them in the grave;
- Whom painters paint for visible orisons,
- And to whom sculptors pray in stone and bronze;
- Their voices echo still like a spent wave.
- Without here, the church-bells are but a tune,
10And on the carven church-door this hot noon
- Lays all its heavy sunshine here without:
- But having entered in, we shall find there
- Silence, and sudden dimness, and deep prayer,
- And faces of crowned angels all about.
- DID she in summer write it, or in spring,
- Or with this wail of autumn at her ears,
- Or in some winter left among old years
- Scratched it through tettered cark? A certain thing
- That round her heart the frost was hardening,
- Not to be thawed of tears, which on this pane
- Channelled the rime, perchance, in fevered rain,
- For false man's sake and love's most bitter sting.
- Howbeit, between this last word and the next
10Unwritten, subtly seasoned was the smart,
- And here at least the grace to weep: if she,
- Rather, midway in her disconsolate text,
- Rebelled not, loathing from the trodden heart
- That thing which she had found man's love to be.
Transcribed Footnote (page 329):
Added TextX For a woman's fragmentary inscription.
I è la luce che in sù questo muro
- Rifrange appena, un breve istante scorta
- Del rio palazzo alla soprana porta.
- Lungi quei fiori d'E
nna, O lido oscuro,
- Dal frutto tuo fatal che omai
- Lungi quel cielo dal tartareo manto
- Che quì mi cuopre: e lungi ahi lungi ahi quanto
- Le notti che sar
àn dai di
ì che furo.
- Lungi da me mi sento; e ognor s
10 Cerco e ricerco, e resto ascoltatrice;
- E qualche cuore a qualche anima dice,
- (Di cui mi g
iunge il suon da quando in quando,
- Continuamente insieme sospirando,)—
- “Oimè per te, Proserpina infelice!”
- Afar away the light that brings cold cheer
- Unto this wall,—one instant and no more
- Admitted at my distant palace-door.
- Afar the flowers of E
nna from this drear
- Dire fruit, which, tasted once, must thrall me here.
- Afar those skies from this Tartarean grey
- That chills me: and afar, how far away,
- The nights that shall be from the days that were.
- Afar from mine own self I seem, and wing
10 Strange ways in thought, and listen for a sign:
- And still some heart unto some soul doth pine,
- (Whose sounds mine inner sense is fain to bring,
- Continually together murmuring,)—
- “Woe's me for thee, unhappy Proserpine
- O BELLA Mano, che ti lavi e piaci
- In quel medesmo tuo puro elemento
- Donde la Dea dell' amoroso avvento
- Nacque, (e dall' onda s'infuocar le faci
- Di mille inispegnibili fornaci):—
- Come a Venere a te
l'oro e l'argento
- Offron gli Amori; e ognun riguarda attento
- La bocca che sorride e te che taci.
- In dolce modo dove onor t'invii
10 Vattene adorna, e porta insiem fra tante
- Di Venere e di vergine sembiante;
- Umilemente in luoghi onesti e pii
- Bianca e soave ogn
ora; infin che sii,
- O Mano, mansueta in man d'amante.
- O LOVELY hand, that thy sweet self dost lave
- In that thy pure and proper element,
- Whence erst the Lady of Love's high advènt
- Was born, and endless fires sprang from the
- Even as her Loves to her their offerings gave,
- For thee the jewelled gifts they bear; while each
- Looks to those lips, of music-measured speech
- The fount, and of more bliss than man may crave.
- In royal wise ring-girt and bracelet-spann'd,
10 A flower of Venus' own virginity,
- Go shine among thy sisterly sweet band;
- In maiden-minded converse delicately
- Evermore white and soft; until thou be,
- O hand! heart-handsel'd in a lover's hand.
- BEHOLD Fiammetta, shown in Vision here.
- Gloom-girt 'mid Spring-flushed apple-growth she
- And as she sways the branches with her hands,
- Along her arm the sundered bloom falls sheer,
- In separate petals shed, each like a tear;
- While from the quivering bough the bird expands
- His wings. And lo! thy spirit understands
- Life shaken and shower'd and flown, and Death
- drawn near.
- All stirs with change. Her garments beat the air:
10 The angel circling round her aureole
- Shimmers in flight against the tree
's grey bole:
- While she, with reassuring eyes most fair,
- A presage and a promise stands; as 'twere
- On Death's dark storm the rainbow of the Soul.
- MYSTERY: lo! betwixt the sun and moon
- Astarte of the Syrians: Venus Queen
re Aphrodite was. In silver sheen
- Her twofold girdle clasps the infinite boon
- Of bliss whereof the heaven and earth commune:
- And from her neck's inclining flower-stem lean
- Love-freighted lips and absolute eyes that wean
- The pulse of hearts to the spheres' dominant tune.
- Torch-bearing her sweet ministers compel
10 All thrones of light beyond the sky and sea
- The witness of Beauty's face to be:
- That face, of Love's all-penetrative spell
- Amulet, talisman, and oracle,—
- Betwixt the sun and moon a mystery.
Printer's Direction: Indent
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer in left margin of lines 13-14
Printer's Direction: get in 2 pages / on slip
Editorial Description: DGR's note to the printer.
- HER lute hangs shadowed in the apple-tree,
- While flashing fingers weave the sweet-strung
- Between its chords; and as the wild notes swell,
- The sea-bird for those branches leaves the sea.
- But to what sound her listening ear stoops she?
- What netherworld gulf-whispers doth she hear,
- In answering echoes from what planisphere,
- Along the wind, along the estuary?
- She sinks into her spell: and when full soon
10 Her lips move and she soars into her song,
- What creatures of the midmost main shall throng
- In furrowed surf-clouds to the summoning
- Till he, the fated mariner
, hears her cry,
- And up her rock, bare-breasted, comes to die?