The force of this poem depends upon its prosodic trajectory, which climaxes
in the final stanza's resort to one of DGR's most important rhyming sets:
here, the set of heart, art, depart, heart. That set is an instance of a key
constellation of rhymes that run through The House
of Life: see Nuptial Sleep, Heart's Compass, Parted Love, Without Her, The Song-Throe, Barren Spring, Newborn Death I,
and A Superscription . The foundational unit
of the rhyme set, the word “art”, establishes the
focussing subject. In this case, the poem concludes is a characteristically
Rossettian ambiguity: the soul's imagined “flight” is
established as an “Adieu” to the “Sad soul and
sorrowing heart”. Whether the departure marks an end or a
beginning is not specified, nor is it suggested whether one would be
preferable to the other, or what each might entail. What is specified is
this complex of ambiguous possibilities. In this respect the poem concludes
in precisely the same fashion as The House of
The poem's opening recalls the opening of The
Stream's Secret, and the relation is much enforced if the pencil draft of the latter is examined: as he began
that poem DGR set down a list of rhyming and consonantal words. Water is the
principal echoing and reflecting medium in the latter, however, whereas here
it is air and wind.
DGR wrote another poem with the same title.
This appears to be an early work, perhaps 1850. It is a ballad and is first
published in this Archive.
The poem was composed in 1876. Only one integral manuscript is
extant—the printer's copy (at Princeton). This manuscript is
reproduced in facsimile in Marillier (page 223).
First published in the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets first edition and collected thereafter.