Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Sonnet on a first reading of “Sordello” (fair copy, Houghton Library, Harvard U.)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1849
Type of Manuscript: fair copy
Scribe: DGR

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Sonnet on a first reading of “Sordello.”

  • “Sordello's story,” (The Sphinx yawned and said,)
  • “Who would has heard.” Is this enough? Who could,
  • ('Twere not amiss to add,) has understood,—
  • Who understood, perhaps has profited.
  • For my part, I might tell a tale, instead,
  • Of one who, dreaming of no likelihood
  • Even that the Book was going to stop for good,
  • Turned the last leaf—and lo! the book was read.
  • Now shame on thee, weak soul of mine! With hand
  • 10 Guarding thy gathered brows, thou peerest at
  • A perfect Image built into the sun,
  • And say'st, “'Tis small and dim.” Nay, 'tis too grand
  • With heighth and sunshine: and because of that,
  • Fools scoff. But wilt thou too be such an one?

Electronic Archive Edition: 1