Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the The first edition of the 1881
The sonnet contrasts sharply with its companion sonnet “Spring” written nearly a year earlier. The difference is not merely in the subject matter but in the stylistic treatment. The detail recorded in this sonnet is highly particular and immediate—not at all unlike the early PRB manner. The “Spring” sonnet is, by contrast, a study in imaginative surmise.
DGR wrote the sonnet sometime shortly before 23 February 1874, as he told his mother in a letter of that date in which he enclosed a copy of the sonnet. There is an early draft fragment of three lines preserved in the second of the small Ashley note books. Two integral manuscripts survive: a fair copy from 1874 in the Bodleian, and the printer's copy manuscript for the 1881 printing.
First published in the 30 May 1874 issue of The Athenaeum as the first of the two sonnets headed together “Thames Valley Sonnets”. DGR then republished it as a separate sonnet in the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets and it has been collected thereafter.