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
Scribe: DGR

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

Image of page [1] page: [1]
Printer's Direction: page 209
Editorial Description: note to the printer about the page location of the text
[Untitled fragment]
  • And 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 neither 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.