The Lovers' Walk

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1871
Rhyme: abbaabbacddccd
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 193

◦ Baum, ed., House of Life 83-84


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets First Edition text.

Scholarly Commentary


The extreme artificiality of the sonnet is epitomized in line 1 (“in no wise”) and line 4 (“osier-odoured stream”). DGR's intent throughout is clear enough: to generate a series of paradoxical entanglements of materials drawn from very different orders. As Baum laconically remarks, “This sort of architectonics is not difficult to understand, but its appeal is to a rather limited and highly cultivated taste#x201d; (Baum, House of Life. 83).

Textual History: Composition

Composed June 1871, five complete manuscripts come down to us and a sixth must have existed. The earliest of these is the corrected copy in the Library of Congress, which has a distinctively different sestet. The Ashley Library fair copy is also distinctive in that it is copied out as one of a group of three sonnets titled “Love and Loss”. The other manuscripts are the copies in the Fitzwilliam and Princeton and the fair copy in the Bodleian Kelmscott Love Sonnets group. Another manuscript existed but has not appeared, the one DGR sent to W. B. Scott in a letter of about 13 August 1871 (see his Autobiographical Notes (page 145)). Scott's transcript differs slightly from the received text of the sonnet.

Textual History: Revision

A fragment revision for lines 13-14 appears in the first of the small notebooks in the Ashley Library.

Printing History

First published in the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets and collected thereafter.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 3-1871.raw.xml