Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: [Verses to Robert Browning]
Author: DGR
Date of Composition: 1850 April
Type of Manuscript: verse letter
Scribe: DGR

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

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  • Was this well done, thou Robert Browning?
  • —Me also, prayer for the one candle
  • Burnt at thy shrine—to set me frowning?
  • Me, swinger of the myrrh & sandal
  • Before thee, as For thy nose, as for nose of Providence,
  • Who for thy sake dreamed not a gibe ill
  • At any verse in the Holy Bible;
  • Who said—Take Virgil & take Ovid hence
  • Off Hesiod—let old Melesigines
  • 10 Be off poste haste on his yellow ridgy Creak down at once on his yellow ridgy knees
  • Who'd ask, if you showed fight for Dante
  • If it was earnest or a blague you meant
  • And cursorily in course of argument
  • Had brought to mind a man named managed to remember Shakespeare
  • —Who, Robert, in thy cause would break spear
  • With Christian Muslem or Ashantee
  • Who to any old book on any bookstall
  • Which, opened, turned out to be not a tome
  • Of thine, would say, as to the cook’s call
  • 20From the area, that her master’s not at h[ome]
  • “Thank you, I'm sorry to have troubled [you]”
  • From their spoil giving thee thy double [due]
  • And for the books, in this day [fashionable]
  • [Did?] Dickens, Tennyson, & Thackeray
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  • (Wishing to swear curse but not for passion able)
  • Lest rend vamp their crockery & crackery
  • Or kick the bucket like Alnaschar;
  • Me who in faith (theme then abhorred)
  • Turning an inkling of Though with a leaning towards the Lascar,
  • 30Would have girded my loins upon thy warrant
  • And having hugged Ali hard & kist Yan,
  • [With?] Taken up staff & cudgels for Mahomet;
  • And at least felt sure (touching the Christian)
  • That bread which Ezra & which Nahum ate
  • ( Brought Fetched to them, wasn't it by raven,
  • Grovelled prone in the trough of the desert
  • At high noon when the sand is hottest
  • Seething & writhing at their protest,—
  • As they were painted by Simon Griesseart
  • 40Gold saucers round their each numskull s shaven
  • Tell me that that bread & the other bread
  • Broken elsewhere for bond & brotherhead
  • (For such, quoth I, is of the prophets)
  • Was the devil's—just a baking of Tophets
  • For Tophet is ordained of old—
  • Yea for the King it is preparèd
  • (Is now by Robert, am I told)
  • [?] And for all of us from Japhet & Jared
  • [?] him & me!—O Robert Browning
  • 50[And?] also—me—to set me frowning
  • Was this well done, thou Robert Browning?
Electronic Archive Edition: 1