WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 242-243
Baum, ed., House of Life, 190-191
Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets first edition text.
Both WMR and Baum focus attention on paraphrasing the sonnet, which to Baum exhibits “a perplexing looseness of . . . sentence structure”. Both seem to take the elaborate figuration at face (that is to say, psycho-biographical) value when they might well have noted, what seems obvious, that the sonnet is a kind of allegorical presentation of DGR's compositional method. In that sense the poem is indeed very personal. The sonnet glosses the visionary perplexities that continually emerge and metastasize through the sequence, as DGR re-thinks his poems by re-writing them or re-organizing them, thus generating a perpetually shifting set of perspectives.
Five integral manuscripts of the sonnet survive: a corrected copy in the Delaware/Bancroft collection; and four fair copies, one in the Troxell composite “House of Life” sequence, another in the Bodleian “Kelmscott Love Sonnets”, a copy enclosed in a letter to Thomas Hake (22 September 1871), and the May Morris copy in the Fitzwilliam composite “House of Life” sequence. (For the manuscript sent to Hake see
Fredeman, Correspondence, 71.153).
First published in the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets and collected thereafter.