Alas, So Long!

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1881
Rhyme: a44ba4b3b4a2c3c3
Meter: iambic with variations
Genre: lyric

Scholarly Commentary


Adopting the genre of the song allows DGR to depersonalize somewhat this lyric, whose subject—DGR's dead wife—would otherwise inflect it with the kind of romantic style he always strove to avoid. Comparing this work with any number of similar poems by DGR's sister is instructive. Both solicit impersonal styles of address, but DGR's religious agnosticism, very evident in this poem, contrasts sharply with Christina's religious faith.

Textual History: Composition

The poem was written sometime in 1881. Three draft fragments survive, two in the small British Library notebooks (one in Notebook III, the other in Notebook IV), the third in the Rosenbach Library, Philadelphia.. The printer's copy is the only surviving integral manuscript.

Printing History

First printed in the Ballads and Sonnets first edition and collected thereafter.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 9-1881.raw.xml