Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription
Document Title: The Portrait (fair copy manuscript, Ashmolean Museum): a Rossetti Archive Document
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1869
Type of Manuscript: fair copy
full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.
Printer's Direction: page 209
Editorial Description: note to the printer about the page location of the text
But when that hour my soul won strength
- For words whose silence wastes & kills,
- Dull raindrops smote us, & at length
- Thundered the heat within the hills.
- That eve
at home I spoke
those words again
- Beside the pelted window-pane;
- And there she hearkened what I said,
- With under-glances that surveyed
- The empty pastures blind with rain.
10 Next day the memories of these things,
- Like leaves through which a bird has flown,
- Still vibrated with Love's warm wings;
- Till I must make them all my own
- And paint this picture. So, 'twixt ease
- Of talk and sweet long silences,
- She stood among the plants in bloom
- At windows of a summer room,
- To feign the shadow of the trees.
- And as I wrought, while all above
20 And all around was fragrant air,
- In the sick burthen of my love
- It seemed each sun-thrilled blossom there
- Beat like a heart among the leaves.
- O heart that
never beats nor heaves,
- In that one darkness lying still,
- What now to thee my love's great will
- Or the fine web the sunshine weaves?
- For now doth daylight disavow
- Those days,—nought left to see or hear.
30 Only in solemn whispers now
- At night-time these things reach mine ear;
- When the leaf-shadows at a breath
- Shrink in the road, and all the heath,
- Forest and water, far and wide,
- In limpid starlight glorified,
- Lie like the mystery of death.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Copyright: Reproduced with permission of The Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.