For certain he hath seen all perfectness

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1861
Rhyme: abbaabbacdecde
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


“Introduction to Part II” (in Early Italian Poets) 189-193

◦ Foster and Boyd, Dante's Lyric Poetry, I.78-79 (II. 125-127) .

◦ De Robertis, ed., Vita Nuova, 185-187 .

Scholarly Commentary


This sonnet follows on its paired sonnet “My lady looks so gentle and so pure” (see commentary for the latter). DGR's “aesthetic” reading of his source text, marked most clearly in the first sonnet by an echo of Shelley, here comes forward, as so often with DGR, in a dramatic moment of “mistranslation” at lines 7-8. DGR uses a pictorial—indeed, an ekphrastic—figure to signal Beatrice's “perfect. . .beauty” where Dante's is vestmental.

DGR's source text was “Vede perfettamente ogni salute” in the third volume of Fraticell's Opere Minori di Dante Alighieri.

Textual History: Composition

An early work, probably late 1840s.

Printing History

The translation was first published in 1861 in The Early Italian Poets; it was reprinted in 1874 in Dante and his Circle.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 24d-1861.raw.xml