Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Algernon Stanhope. Sacred to the Memory of Algernon R.G. Stanhope (natus est 1838--obit 1847)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1847 (September)
Type of Manuscript: autograph fair copy
Scribe: DGR

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

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Note: Bookplate with standing female angel blowing trumpet and seated female angel. Between the two figures is a flowing banner on which is inscribed the owner's name. Below the figures and the ower's name is an inscribed poem.



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to the Memory


Algernon R. G. Stanhope

(natus est 1838 — obiit 1847)

  • “The silver cord is loosed,” he said,
  • “The golden bowl is broken;
  • A few more prayers having been prayed,
  • A few more love-words spoken
  • I shall turn my face unto the wall,
  • And sleeping, not be woken.
  • “Yet a short while, mamma, —dear friends,
  • Yet but a little space, —
  • And the shadows will have shut me in
  • 10That gather round my face.
  • But do not therefore weep; I go
  • To Heaven, a better place.”

  • Is it a better place, my child,
  • That thou art gone unto?
  • Upon this earth that thou hast left
  • Hadst thou not much to do?
  • Would not thy joys have been a crowd
  • And thy troubles small and few?
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  • Hadst thou not wealth, and are there not
  • 20Those who do lack for bread,
  • Who would have looked to thee, their hope,
  • To be taught and comforted? —
  • And the naked to be clothed by thee,
  • And the hungry to be fed.
  • Hadst thou not friends, and were they not
  • Those friends who love us most
  • I'the world? And would'st thou not have borne
  • A name which is the boast
  • Not of thy house alone, but all
  • 30England from coast to coast?
  • And beauty too was thine: thou hadst
  • The look that Angels have
  • Who from their Heaven behold our earth
  • Where Grief is and the Grave,
  • And joy in the many souls there are
  • For them to help and save.
  • And many thou hast helped, dear child,
  • And savèd, verily;
  • Thy spirit was a Temple for
  • 40Christ-hearted charity;
  • Yea, the loud prayers of he rescued poor
  • Have often followed thee.
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  • And Genius lit within thy breast
  • An upward flame and strong; —
  • Genius, begetting Poesy,
  • Whose hoard of hidden song,
  • Lying at thy warm heart, would soon
  • Have risen to thy tongue.
  • Beauty, and rank, and friends, and wealth,
  • 50Genius and excellence, —
  • Could not all these, thy heritage,
  • Win thee from hastening hence?
  • Was the soul so much more unto thee
  • Than joys of mind and sense?
  • For nobles would have courted thee;
  • Thou wouldst have seen thy name
  • A star to the world; the great and wise,
  • As sunshine to a gem,
  • Would have been drawn to thee, —thyself
  • 60Being as one of them.
  • And, bending with an English grace,
  • The ladies of our isle,
  • With their soft curls and their virgin eyes
  • Which look so sweet all the while,
  • Had given thee for thy nobleness
  • A precious golden smile.
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  • These will not be thine: thy life's
  • Appointed period
  • Being past o'er, thou liest on
  • 70The folded pinions broad
  • Of the Seraph who is bearing thee
  • Up through the sun to God.
  • It has a solemn sound — “to God”;
  • And strange high thoughts it weaves
  • Of a garden where the Tree of Life
  • In mystic shadows gives,
  • And the music of the rapid worlds
  • Is the wind that stirs the leaves.
  • Yet thou! — the brave, deep-thoughted child,
  • 80Whom Love and Sympathy
  • And Admiration gathered round
  • And worshipped! — Can it be
  • That there is anywhere, in truth,
  • “A better place” for thee?
  • Pause awhile, cherub, in thy song;
  • Let thy curl-shaded face
  • Lean to us from thy heavenly seat
  • With the old childish grace;
  • And tell us, dearest — Is it there,
  • 90Truly, “a better place?”
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  • What have I asked? Do I so love
  • Life then, and cling thereby;
  • As to make all this marvel that
  • The heaven-home, hushed and high,
  • Should be a better place for one
  • So far more pure than I?
  • Surely, it is a better place:
  • Wealth shuts not there his ken
  • From woes his heart yearns to assuage;
  • 100Nor noble origin
  • Wounds him by lessening trust betwixt
  • Him and his fellow-men.
  • Nor Genius, with sunny eyes
  • Whose light sets like the sun,
  • Gives to him, as to the dear child
  • She chooseth for her own,
  • Her laurel-wreath which maketh white
  • The hair it resteth on;
  • Nor friends die from him, but instead
  • 110Come to him where he is;
  • Nor Passion, rank with evil joys
  • And worse satieties,
  • Pouting her crimson lips at him
  • Layeth her cheek to his;
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  • Nor priests be there, like a bad dream
  • That at your bed's foot stands
  • All night (and yet it goes at last!)
  • Nor moans of king-curst lands
  • Make his breast heave and his pale brow
  • 120To drop into his hands.
  • But Love walks always with him now;
  • And Faith, not chained but free;
  • And Hope, bent forward, and with hair
  • Held back continually
  • To hear the chariot-wheels;
  • And wise, calm Charity.

September 1847
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 8-1847.blms.rad.xml