Verses to John Tupper

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1850 April?
Meter: iambic
Genre: verse letter
The poem is a tour de force on a single rhyme, “ack”, with the lines of varying length.


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1911.

Scholarly Commentary


DGR was fond of these kinds of humorous verse letters. This one gives an especially amusing glimpse into the comraderie among the early Pre-Raphaelite circle. WMR's note on the poem identifies the slang references and the probable occasion: “The Prince, George Tupper; the Baron, his brother Alexander; Spectro-cadaveral Rex, John (or Jack) Tupper; the Maniac, Holman Hunt. These rather silly nicknames were not Dante Rossetti's invention. The occasion for the doggerel appears to have been that he had received an invitation to join with Hunt, Stephens, and the three Tuppers, in a brief country- tramp”. Tupper's nickname comes from his satiric medley “Smoke”, published in The Germ (May 1850).

Textual History: Composition

The verse letter was apparently written in April 1850 (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 50. 5 ). The manuscript is now in the Brotherton Library.

Printing History

First published in 1900 from the Brotherton manuscript by WMR in Pre-Raphaelite Diaries and Letters, 20-21 and first collected in 1911. WMR's text is substantively identical to the manuscript and differs in accidentals hardly at all. For the differences see Fredeman, Correspondence, 50. 5 .

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 7-1850.raw.xml