Baum, ed., The House of Life, 98-99
WMR, DGR as Designer and Writer, 199
Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1870 Poems First Edition text.
Many of DGR's most conventional sonnets in “The House of Life” sequence are strong
precisely through the intricacy of their management of the tradition of Italian
love poetry. This piece is not one of those. Nonetheless, it possesses
a real interest for students of DGR's work as a possible gloss on the voluptuous
flower-filled portraits he created in the 60s and 70s.
“Before April 1870”
Classified Lists, 6
) ; but its printing in the First Trial Book shows that DGR wrote it before
October 1869, and almost certainly in September of that year, specifically
for insertion in The
House of Life sequence. The only surviving autograph manuscript is the corrected copy in the Fitzwilliam composite “House of Life” manuscript.
The text as printed in the First Trial Book remains the same in all later printings.
The sonnet's vegetative profusion as related to the figure
of the beloved woman connects directly to the portrait style DGR began to cultivate
in 1859 with the painting of Bocca Baciata. More relevant in this case, however, would be paintings like
The Blue Bower,
Lady Lilith, and of course
The Blessed Damozel.
First printed in the First Trial Book at the beginning of October 1869 and kept through the rest of
the proofs; it is published first in the 1870 Poems. The sonnet is number XIV in
The House of Life as published in the 1870
volume, and number XXIII in the sequence
as published in 1881.
Another sonnet constructed out of the stil
novisti and Petrarchan tradition, it should be compared with the argument in
The sonnet also recalls DGR's sister's most famous poem, “Goblin Market”, to which this piece might well be taken
as a response.