The Lady's Lament

Alternately titled: No More

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848 September
Rhyme: a4a4a4a4a4a4a2
Meter: iambic
Genre: song
In his final revision of the poem, DGR reduced his two line refrain (in dimeters) to a single tetrameter. WMR published the poem in that latest revised form. All versions add an extra line to the final stanza.


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

Scholarly Commentary


This early poem shows how important DGR regarded the prosodic features of his work. An experiment in rhyme, the exercise—like the bouts rimès sonnets he was writing at the same time with his brother—finally achieves something far more important: not so much onomatopoiea as a demonstration of how the visual and sound features of verse constitute the core of what poetry involves. The poem has much in common with nonsense verse.

In his gloss to the poem WMR explicitly associates it with “Autumn Song”,which is well enough said. More interesting, however, are the poem's close and obvious affinities with “The Blessed Damozel”, a fact especially underscored in the clear allusion both of DGR's poems make to Poe's “The Raven”. It is perfectly clear that in 1848 DGR had a clear grasp of Poe's importance for anyone interested in investigating and extending the resources of poetic expression.

Textual History: Composition

As the early fair copy in the Huntington manuscript indicates, this poem was written in September 1848 under the title “No More”. A draft manuscript survives that exhibits notable variations from the later texts. The latter may have been written in 1847, which is the conjecture of WMR.

DGR recast the poem in 1873 or 1874, as is clear from the fair copy text in the Bodleian Library (where it is titled “A Lament”). That revision process is preserved in the fourth extant manuscript, which is at Texas and in which the received title is given to the poem.

Printing History

First published in in WMR's 1886 edition (I. 238-239) under the received title and collected thereafter.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 8-1848.raw.xml