Youth's Spring-Tribute

Alternately titled: Love's Spring-Tribute
Alternately titled: Spring-Tribute

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1870
Rhyme: abbaaccadedeed
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ Fontana, “Descriptions of the Kiss,” 85-86.

◦ WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 194

◦ Baum, ed., House of Life, 86


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

Scholarly Commentary


The sonnet has been much praised, understandably, but its textual history—in particular, the revision in line 4—is as arresting as its aesthetic achievement. The revision is a dramatic exposure of how DGR manipulated the biographical context of his poems in order to construct a certain argument and formal order in the sonnet sequence. DGR originally wrote this sonnet to and about Jane Morris, but as it appears in the sequence it refers principally not to the so-called Innominata (the sequence's poetical stand-in for Jane Morris) but to the Beloved (the sequence's stand-in for his wife Elizabeth).

Textual History: Composition

Three manuscripts of the poem are extant: the earliest is the holograph fair copy (Bodleian Library) in the book of so-called Kelmscott Love Sonnets that DGR put together as a gift for Jane Morris. From this manuscript was made a copy by May Morris (in the Fitzwilliam Museum), which carries one important correction by DGR (in line 4). The third is DGR's fair copy (in the Troxell Collection, Princeton U. Library). The latter carries DGR's final revision.

Printing History

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

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 5-1870.raw.xml