Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Ballads and Sonnets (1881), proof Signature Y (Delaware Museum, second revise, partial copy)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1881 May 18 (circa)
Publisher: F. S. Ellis
Printer: Chiswick Press, C. Whittingham and Co.
Issue: 3

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

Image of page 321 page: 321
Sig. Y
  • 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 321):

1 For a woman's fragmentary inscription.

Image of page 329 page: 329

  • “THERE is a budding morrow in midnight:”—
  • So sang our Keats, our English nightingale.
  • And here, as lamps across the bridge turn pale
  • In London's smokeless resurrection-light,
  • Dark breaks to dawn. But o'er the deadly blight
  • Of love deflowered and sorrow of none avail
  • Which makes this man gasp and this woman
  • quail,
  • Can day from darkness ever again take flight?
  • Ah! gave not these two hearts their mutual pledge,
  • 10Under one mantle sheltered 'neath the hedge
  • In gloaming courtship? And O God! to-day
  • He only knows he holds her;—but what part
  • Can life now take? She cries in her locked heart,—
  • “Leave me—I do not know you—go away!”
Image of page 330 page: 330

Deleted Text
  • HER lute hangs shadowed in the apple-tree,
  • While flashing fingers weave the sweet-strung
  • spell
  • 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 rune:
  • Till he, the fated mariner, hears her cry,
  • And up her rock, bare-breasted, comes to die?
Image of page 331 page: 331

  • BEHOLD Fiammetta, shown in Vision here.
  • Gloom-girt 'mid Spring-flushed apple-growth she
  • stands;
  • 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.
Image of page 332 page: 332

Deleted Text
  • THE thronged boughs of the shadowy sycamore
  • Still bear young leaflets half the summer through;
  • From when the robin 'gainst the unhidden blue
  • Perched dark, till now, deep in the leafy core,
  • The embowered throstle's urgent wood-notes soar
  • Through summer silence. Still the leaves come
  • new;
  • Yet never rosy-sheathed as those which drew
  • Their spiral tongues from spring-buds heretofore.
  • Within the branching shade of Reverie
  • 10Dreams even may spring till autumn; yet none be
  • Like woman's budding day-dream spirit-fann'd.
  • Lo! tow'rd deep skies, not deeper than her look,
  • She dreams; till now on her forgotten book
  • Drops the forgotten blossom from her hand.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1