WMR, Humorous Poems, 474-475
The lines are a parody, or travesty, that DGR executed on his own poem “The Cloud Confines”. He interlineated that poem's refrain with lines of American slang verse that he took from John Hays's comic ballad “Jim Bludso”. John Hay (1838-1905), a prominent American author and statesman, published
“Jim Bludso” in his 1871 collection
Pike County Ballads and other poems
. WMR collected two of Hays's poems—including “Jim Bludso”— in his 1879 anthology of
The manuscript text is uniquely present in DGR's letter of 1 September 1876 to Mrs. Holme Summer. Mrs. Summer had asked DGR about the refrain lines of his poem “The Cloud Confines”. He quoted the refrain and then added: “Having thus unburdened myself, I hope you will refrain from remembering it in some such form as” the text of his parodic transformation, which he then copied out for her. After copying his miscegenated text he added: “Please pardon the horrible handwriting. I cannot excuse the puns”, in the latter case meaning his play on the words “unburdened” and “refrain”.
First printed from manuscript in
Doughty and Wahl, Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, III.1457