Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Preface to the 1901 Facsimile Reprint of The Germ
Author: William Michael Rossetti
Date of publication: 1901
Publisher: Elliot Stock

The full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.

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Note: An ornamental “PRB” is stamped in the lower right-hand corner of the cover.

By W. M. Rossetti

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Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature

and Art





IN 1850







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Note: The initial “O” of the essay is a large capital.

Of late years it has been my fate or my whim to write a good

deal about the early days of the Præraphaelite movement, the

members of the Præraphaelite Brotherhood, and especially my

brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and my sister Christina Georgina

Rossetti. I am now invited to write something further on the subject,

with immediate reference to the Præraphaelite magazine “ The

,” republished in this volume. I know of no particular reason

why I should not do this, for certain it is that few people living know,

or ever knew, so much as I do about “ The Germ,”; and if some press-

critics who regarded previous writings of mine as superfluous or ill-

judged should entertain a like opinion now, in equal or increased

measure, I willingly leave them to say so, while I pursue my own course

none the less.
The Germ” is here my direct theme, not the Præraphaelite

Brotherhood; but it seems requisite to say in the first instance something

about the Brotherhood—its members, allies, and ideas—so as to exhibit

a raison d'être for the magazine. In doing this I must necessarily

repeat some things which I have set forth before, and which, from the

writings of others as well as myself, are well enough known to many.

I can vary my form of expression, but cannot introduce much novelty

into my statements of fact.
In 1848 the British School of Painting was in anything but a vital

or a lively condition. One very great and incomparable genius, Turner,

belonged to it. He was old and past his executive prime. There were

some other highly able men—Etty and David Scott, then both very near

their death; Maclise, Dyce, Cope, Mulready, Linnell, Poole, William

Henry Hunt, Landseer, Leslie, Watts, Cox, J.F. Lewis, and some others.

There were also some distinctly clever men, such as Ward, Frith, and

Egg. Paton, Gilbert, Ford Madox Brown, Mark Anthony, had given

sufficient indication of their powers, but were all in an early stage.

On the whole the school had sunk very far below what it had been in

the days of Hogarth, Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Blake, and its
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ordinary average had come to be something for which commonplace is a

laudatory term, and imbecility a not excessive one.
There were in the late summer of 1848 , in the Schools of the Royal

Academy or barely emergent from them, four young men to whom this

condition of the art seemed offensive, contemptible, and even scandalous.

Their names were William Holman-Hunt, John Everett Millais, and

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painters, and Thomas Woolner, sculptor. Their

ages varied from twenty-two to nineteen—Woolner being the eldest, and

Millais the youngest. Being little more than lads, these young men

were naturally not very deep in either the theory or the practice of art:

but they had open eyes and minds, and could discern that some things were

good and other bad—that some things they liked, and others they hated.

They hated the lack of ideas in art, and the lack of character; the

silliness and vacuity which belong to the one, the flimsiness and make-

believe which result from the other. They hated those forms of execution

which are merely smooth and prettyish, and those which, pretending to

mastery, are nothing better than slovenly and slapdash, or what the

P.R.B.'s called “sloshy.” Still more did they hate the notion that each

artist should not obey his own individual impulse, act upon his own

perception and study of Nature, and scrutinize and work at his

objective material with assiduity before he could attempt to display and

interpret it; but that, instead of all this, he should try to be “like

somebody else,” imitating some extant style and manner, and applying

the cut-and-dry rules enunciated by A from the practice of B or C.

They determined to do the exact contrary. The temper of these strip-

lings, after some years of the current academic training, was the temper

of rebels: they meant revolt, and produced revolution. It would be a

mistake to suppose, because the called themselves Præraphaelites, that

they seriously disliked the works produced by Raphael; but they disliked

the works produced by Raphael's uninspired satellites, and were resolved

to find out, by personal study and practice, what their own several

faculties and adaptabilities might be, without being bound by rules and

big-wiggeries founded upon the performance of Raphael or of any one.

They were to have no master except their own powers of mind and

hand, and their own first-hand study of Nature. Their minds were to

furnish them with subjects for works of art, and with the general scheme

of treatment; Nature was to be their one or their paramount storehouse

of materials for objects to be represented; the study of her was to be

deep, and the representation (at any rate in the earlier stages of self-

discipline and work) in the highest degree exact; executive methods were

to be learned partly from precept and example, but most essentially from

practice and experiment. As their minds were very different in range
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and direction, their products also, from the first, differed greatly; and

these soon ceased to have any link of resemblance.
The Præraphaelite Brothers entertained a deep respect and a sincere

affection for the works of some of the artists who had preceded Raphael;

and they thought that they should more or less be following the lead of

those artists if they themselves were to develop their own individuality,

disregarding school-rules. This was really the sum and substance of

their “Præraphaelitism.” It may freely be allowed that, as they

were very young, and fired by certain ideas impressive to their own

spirits, they unduly ignored some other ideas and theories which have

none the less a deal to say for themselves. They contemned some things

and some practitioners of art not at all contemptible, and, in speech still

more than in thought, they at times wilfully heaped up the scorn. You

cannot have a youthful rebel with a faculty who is also a model head-

boy in a school.
The P.R.B. was completed by the accession of three members to the

four already mentioned. These were James Collinson, a domestic

painter; Frederic George Stephens, an Academy-student of painting;

and myself, a Government-clerk. These again, when the P.R.B. was

formed towards September
1848, were all young, aged respectively

about twenty-three, twenty-one, and nineteen.
This Præraphaelite Brotherhood was the independent creation of

Holman-Hunt, Millais, Rossetti, and (in perhaps a somewhat minor

degree) Woolner: it cannot be said that they were prompted or abetted

by any one. Ruskin, whose name has been sometimes inaccurately

mixed up in the matter, and who had as yet published only the first

two volumes of “Modern Painters,” was wholly unknown to them

personally, and in his writings was probably known only to Holman-

Hunt. Ford Madox Brown had been an intimate of Rossetti since

1848, and he sympathized, fully as much as any of these younger

men, with some old-world developments of art preceding its ripeness or

over-ripeness: but he had no inclination to join any organization for

protest and reform, and he followed his own course—more influenced,

for four or five years ensuing, by what the P.R.B.'s were doing than

influencing them. Among the persons who were most intimate with the

members of the Brotherhood towards the date of its formation, and

onwards till the inception of “ The Germ,” I may mention the following.

For Holman-Hunt, the sculptor John Lucas Tupper, who had been a

fellow Academy-student, and was now an anatomical designer at Guy's

Hospital: he and his family were equally well acquainted with Mr.

Stephens. For Millais, the painter Charles Allston Collins, son of the

well-known painter of domestic life and coast-scenes William Collins;
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the painter Arthur Hughes; also his own brother, William Henry

Millais, who had musical aptitudes and became a landscape-painter.

For Rossetti, William Bell Scott (brother of David Scott), painter, poet,

and Master of the Government School of Design in Newcastle-on-Tyne;

Major Calder Campbell, a retired Officer of the Indian army, and a

somewhat popular writer of tales, verses, etc.; Alexander Munro the

sculptor; Walter Howell Deverell, a young painter, son of the Secretary

to the Government Schools of Design; James Hannay, the novelist,

satirical writer, and journalist; and (known through Madox Brown)

William Cave Thomas, a painter who had studied in the severe classical

school of Germany, and had earned a name in the Westminster Hall

competitions for frescoes in Parliament. For Woolner, John Hancock

and Bernhard Smith, sculptors; Coventry Patmore the poet, with his

connections the Orme family and Professor Masson; also William

North, an eccentric young literary man, of much effervescence and

some talent, author of “Anti-Coningsby” and other novels. For

Collinson, the prominent painter of romantic and biblical subjects John

Rogers Herbert, who was, like Collinson himself, a Roman Catholic

The Præraphaelite Brotherhood having been founded in September

1848 , the members exhibited in 1849 works conceived in the new spirit.

These were received by critics and by the public with more than moderate

though certainly not unmixed favour: it had not as yet transpired that

there was a league of unquiet and ambitious young spirits, bent upon

making a fresh start of their own, and a clean sweep of some effete re-

spectabilities. It was not until after the exhibitions were near closing

1849 that any idea of bringing out a magazine came to be discussed.

The author of the project was Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He alone among

the P.R.B.'s had already cultivated the art of writing in verse and in

prose to some noticeable extent (“ The Blessed Damozel” had been pro-

duced before May
1847 ), and he was better acquainted than any other

member with British and foreign literature. There need be no self-

conceit in saying that in these respects I came next to him. Holman-

Hunt, Woolner, and Stephens, were all reading men (in British litera-

ture only) within straiter bounds than Rossetti: not any one of them,

I think, had as yet done in writing anything worth mentioning. Millais

and Collinson, more especially the former, were men of the brush, not

the pen, yet both of them capable of writing with point, and even in

verse. By July
13 and 14, 1849, some steps were taken towards dis-

cussing the project of a magazine. The price, as at first proposed, was

to be sixpence; the title, “ Monthly Thoughts in Literature, Poetry,

and Art
”; each number was to have an etching. Soon afterwards
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a price of one shilling was decided upon, and two etchings per

number: but this latter intention was not carried out. * All the

P.R.B.'s were to be proprietors of the magazine: I question however

whether Collinson was ever persuaded to assume this responsibility,

entailing payment of an eventual deficit. We were quite ready also

to have some other proprietors. Mr. Herbert was addressed by Col-

linson, and at one time was regarded as pretty safe. Mr. Hancock

the sculptor did not resist the pressure put upon him; but after all he

contributed nothing to “ The Germ,” either in work or in money.

Walter Deverell assented, and paid when the time came. Thus there

seem to have been eight, or else seven,
de facto proprietors—not one of

them having any spare cash, and not all of them much steadiness of

interest in the scheme set going by Dante Rossetti.
With so many persons having a kind of co-equal right to decide what

should be done with the magazine, it soon became apparent that some-

body ought to be appointed Editor, and assume the control. I, during

an absence from London, was fixed upon for this purpose by Woolner

and my brother—with the express or tacit assent, so far as I know, of

all the others, I received notice of my new dignity on September

1849, being just under twenty years of age, and I forthwith applied

myself to the task. It had at first been proposed to print upon the

prospectus and wrappers of the magazine the words “Conducted by

Artists,” and also (just about this time) to entitle it “The P.R.B.

Journal.” I called attention to the first of these points as running

counter to my assuming the editorship, and to the second as in itself

inappropriate: both had in fact been already set aside. My brother

had ere this been introduced to Messrs. Aylott and Jones, publishers in

Paternoster Row (principally concerned, I believe, with books of evan-

gelical religion), and had entered into terms with them, and got them

to print a prospectus. “P.R.B.” was at first printed on the latter,

but to this Mr. Holman-Hunt objected in November, and it was omitted.

The printers were to be Messrs. Tupper and Sons, a firm of lithographic

and general printers in the City, the same family to which John Lucas

Tupper belonged. The then title, invented by my brother, was “Thoughts

towards Nature,” a phrase which, though somewhat extra-peculiar,

indicated accurately enough the predominant conception of the Præ-

raphaelite Brotherhood, that an artist, whether painter or writer, ought

to be bent upon defining and expressing his own personal thoughts, and
Transcribed Footnote (page 9):

* Many of the particulars here given regarding “ The Germ” appear in

the so-called “P.R.B. Journal,” which was published towards December

1899, in the volume named “Preraphaelite Diaries and Letters”, edited by

W.M. Rossetti.” At the date when I wrote the present introduction, that

volume had not been offered for publication.

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that these ought to be based upon a direct study of Nature, and harmon-

ized with her manifestations. It was not until December
19, when the

issue of our No. 1 was closely impending, that a different title, “ The

,” was proposed. On that evening there was a rather large

gathering at Dante Rossetti's studio,
72 Newman Street; the seven

P.R.B.'s, Madox Brown, Cave Thomas, Deverell, Hancock, and John

and George Tupper. Mr. Thomas had drawn up a list of no less than

sixty-five possible titles (a facsimile of his MS. of some of them appears

in the
Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti to William Allingham,

edited by George Birkbeck Hill— Unwin, 1897 ). Only a few of them

met with favour; and one of them, “The Germ,” going to the vote along

with “The Seed” and “The Scroll,” was approved by a vote of six to

four. The next best were, I think, “The Harbinger,” “First

Thoughts,” “The Sower,” “The Truth-Seeker,” and “The Acorn.”

Appended to the new title we retained, as a sub-title, something of what

had been previously proposed; and the serial appeared as “ The Germ.

Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art.” At this

same meeting Mr. Woolner suggested that authors' names should not be

published in the magazine. I alone opposed him, and his motion was

carried. I cannot at this distance of time remember with any precision

what his reasons were; but I think that he, and all the other artists

concerned, entertained a general feeling that to appear publicly as

writers, and especially as writers opposing the ordinary current of

opinions on fine art, would damage their professional position, which

already involved uphill work more than enough.
The Germ ,” No. 1, came out on or about January 1, 1850. The

number of copies printed was
700 . Something like 200 were sold, in

about equal proportions by the publishers, by ourselves among

acquaintances and well-wishers. This was not encouraging, so we

reduced the issue of No.
2 to 500 copies. It sold less well than No. 1 .

With this number was introduced the change of printing on the wrapper

the names of most of the contributors: not of all, for some still

preferred to remain unnamed, or to figure under a fancy designation.

Had we been left to our own resources, we must now have dropped the

magazine. But the printing-firm—or Mr. George I.F. Tupper as

representing it—came forward, and undertook to try the chance of two

numbers more. The title was altered (at Mr. Alexander Tupper's

suggestion) to “ Art and Poetry, being Thoughts towards Nature, con-

ducted principally by Artists
”; and Messrs. Dickinson and Co., of New

Bond Street, the printsellers, consented to join their name as publishers

to that of Messrs. Aylott and Jones. Mr. Robert Dickinson, the head

of this firm, and more especially his brother, the able portrait-painter
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Mr. Lowes Dickinson, were well known to Madox Brown, and through

him to members of the P.R.B. I continued to be editor; but, as the money

stake of myself and my colleagues in the publication had now ceased, I

naturally accommodated myself more than before to any wish evinced by

the Tupper family. No.
3 , which ought to have appeared March 1,

was delayed by these uncertainties and changes till March
31. No. 4

came out on April
30 . Some small amount of advertising was done,

more particularly by posters carried about in front of the Royal

Academy (then in Trafalgar Square), which opened at the beginning of

May. All efforts proved useless. People would not buy “ The Germ,”

and would scarcely consent to know of its existence. So the magazine

breathed its last, and its obsequies were conducted in the strictest privacy.

Its debts exceeded its assets, and a sum of £
33 odd, due on Nos. 1 and

2, had to be cleared off by the seven (or eight) proprietors, conscientious

against the grain. What may have been the loss of Messrs. Tupper on

3 and 4 I am unable to say. It is hardly worth specifying that

neither the editor, nor any of the contributors whether literary or artistic,

received any sort of payment. This was foreseen from the first as being

“in the bond,” and was no grievance to anybody.
The Germ,” as we have seen, was a most decided failure, yet it

would be a mistake to suppose that it excited no amount of literary

attention whatsoever. There were laudatory notices in “The Dispatch,”

“The Guardian,” “Howitt's Standard of Freedom,” “John Bull,”

“The Critic,” “Bell's Weekly Messenger,” “The Morning Chronicle,”

and I dare say some other papers. A pat on the back, with a very

lukewarm hand, was bestowed by “The Art Journal.” There were

notices also—not eulogistic—in “ The Spectator” and elsewhere. The

editor of “The Critic,” Mr. (afterwards Serjeant) Cox, on the faith

of doings in “ The Germ,” invited me, or some other of the art-writers

there, to undertake the fine-art department—picture-exhibitions, etc.—of

his weekly review. This I did for a short time, and, on getting trans-

ferred to “ The Spectator,” I was succeeded on “The Critic” by Mr.

F.G. Stephens. I also received some letters consequent upon “ The

,” and made some acquaintances among authors; Horne, Clough,

Heraud, Westland Marston, also Miss Glyn the actress. I as editor

came in for this; but of course the attractiveness of “ The Germ

depended upon the writings of others, chiefly Messrs. Woolner, Patmore,

and Orchard, my sister, and above all my brother, and, among the

artist-etchers, Mr. Holman-Hunt.
I happen to be still in possession of the notices which appeared in

“The Critic,” “Bell's Weekly Messenger,” and “The Guardian,” and

of extracts (as given in our present facsimile) from those in “John Bull,”
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“The Morning Chronicle,” and “The Standard of Freedom”: I here

reproduce the first three for the curious reader's perusal. First comes

the review which appeared in “The Critic” on February
15, 1850,

followed by a second review on June
1 . The former was (as shown by

the initials) written by Mr. Cox, and I presume the latter also. Major

Calder Campbell must have called the particular attention of Mr. Cox

to “ The Germ.” My own first personal acquaintance with this gentle-

man may have been intermediate between
15 February and 1 June.
The Germ. Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art.

Nos. I. and II. London: Aylott and Jones.

We depart from our usual plan of noticing the periodicals under one

heading, for the purpose of introducing to our readers a new aspirant for

public favour, which has peculiar and uncommon claims to attention, for in

design and execution it differs from all other periodicals. The Germ is the

somewhat affected and unpromising title give to a small monthly journal,

which is devoted almost entirely to poetry and art, and is the production of

a party of young persons. This statement is of itself, as we are well aware,

enough to cause it to be looked upon with shyness. A periodical largely

occupied with poetry wears an unpromising aspect to readers who have

learned from experience what nonsensical stuff most fugitive magazine-poetry

is; nor is this natural prejudice diminished by the knowledge that it is the

production of young gentlemen and ladies. But, when they have read a few

extracts which we propose to make, we think they will own that for once

appearances are deceitful, and that an affected title and an unpromising

theme really hides a great deal of genius; mingled however, we must also

admit, with many conceits which youth is prone to, but which time and

experience will assuredly tame.

That the contents of The Germ are the production of no common minds

the following extracts will sufficiently prove, and we may add that these are

but a small portion of the contents which might prefer equal claims to


My Beautiful Lady,” and “ Of my Lady in Death,” are two poems in a

quaint metre, full of true poetry, marred by not a few affectations—the

genuine metal, but wanting to be purified from its dross. Nevertheless, it is

pleasant to find the precious ore anywhere in these unpoetical times.

To our taste the following is replete with poetry. What a picture it is!

A poet's tongue has told what an artist's eye has seen. It is the first of a

series to be entitled “Songs of One Household.” [Here comes Dante Ros-

setti's poem, “ My Sister's Sleep ,” followed by Patmore's “Seasons,” and

Christina Rossetti's “ Testimony.”] We have not space to take any speci-

mens of the prose, but the essays on art are conceived with an equal ap-

preciation of its meaning and requirements. Being such, The Germ has our

heartiest wishes for its success; but we scarcely dare to hope that it may win

the popularity it deserves. The truth is that it is too good for the time. It

is not material enough for the age.

Art and Poetry: being Thoughts towards Nature. Conducted principally

by Artists. Nos. 3 and 4. London: Dickinson and Co.

Some time since we had occasion to direct the attention of our readers to

a periodical then just issued under the modest title of The Germ . The

surprise and pleasure with which we read it was, as we are informed, very

generally shared by our readers upon perusing the poems we extracted from it;

and it was manifest to every person of the slightest taste that the con-

tributors were possessed of genius of a very high order, and that The Germ

was not wantonly so entitled, for it abounded with the promise of a rich

harvest to be anticipated from the maturity of those whose youth could

accomplish so much.

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But we expressed also our fear lest the very excellence of this magazine

should be fatal to its success. It was too good—that is to say, too refined

and of too lofty a class, both in its art and in its poetry—to be sufficiently

popular to pay even the printer's bill. The name, too, was against it, being

somewhat unintelligible to the thoughtless, and conveying to the considerate

a notion of something very juvenile. Those fears were not unfounded, for it

was suspended for a short time; but other journals after a while discovered

and proclaimed the merit that was scattered profusely over the pages of The

, and, thus encouraged, the enterprise has been resumed, with a change

of name which we must regard as an improvement. Art and Poetry

precisely describes its character. It is wholly devoted to them, and it aims

at originality in both. It is seeking out for itself new paths, in a spirit of

earnestness, and with an undoubted ability which must lead to a new era.

The writers may err somewhat at first, show themselves too defiant of pre-

scriptive rules, and mistake extravagance for originality; but this fault

(inherent in youth when, conscious of its powers, it first sets up for itself)

will after a while work its own cure, and with experience will come soberer

action. But we cannot contemplate this young and rising school in art and

literature without the most ardent anticipations of something great to grow

from it, something new and worthy of our age, and we bid them God speed

upon the path they have adventured.

But our more immediate purpose here is with the poetry, of which about

one-half of each number is composed. It is all beautiful, must of it of extra-

ordinary merit, and equal to anything that any of our known poets could

write, save Tennyson, of whom the strains sometimes remind us, although

they are not imitations in any sense of the word. [The Reviewer next pro-

ceeds to quote, with a few words of comment, Christina Rossetti's “ Sweet

,” John Tupper's “ Viola and Olivia,” Orchard's “ Whit-Sunday Morn,”

and (later on) Dante Rossetti's “ Pax Vobis.”]

Almost one half of the April number is occupied with a “Dialogue on Art,”

the composition of an Artist whose works are well known to the public. It

was written during a period of ill health, which forbad the use of the brush,

and, taking his pen, he has given to the world his thoughts upon art in a

paper which the Edinburgh Review in its best days might have been proud to


Sure we are that not one of our readers will regret the length at which we

have noticed this work.

The short and unpretending critique which I add from “Bell's

Weekly Messenger” was written, I believe, either by or at the instance

of Mr. Bellamy, a gentleman who acted as secretary to the National

Club. His son addressed me as editor of “ The Germ,” in terms of

great ardour, and through the son I on one occasion saw the father as

Art and Poetry. Nos. I., II., and III. London, Dickinson and Co.

The present numbers are the commencement of a very useful publication,

conducted principally by artists, the design of which is to “express thoughts

towards Nature.” We see much to commend in its pages, which are also

nicely illustrated in the mediæval style of art and in outline. The paper upon

Shakespeare's tragedy of “Macbeth,” in the third number, abounds with

striking passages, and will be found to be well worthy of consideration.

I now proceed to “The Guardian.” The notice came out on August

20, 1850, some months after “ The Germ” had expired. I do not

now know who wrote it, and (so far as memory serves me) I never did

know. The writer truly said that Millais “contributes nothing” to the

magazine. This however was not Millais's fault, for he made an
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etching for a prose story by my brother (named “ An Autopsychology,”

or now “ St. Agnes of Intercession”); and this etching, along with the

story, had been expected to appear in a No. 5 of “ The Germ” which

never came out. The “very curious but very striking picture” by

Rossetti was the “ Annunciation,” now in the National British Gallery.
Art and Poetry. Being Thoughts towards Nature. Conducted principally

by Artists. Dickinson and Co., and Aylott and Jones.

We are very sorry to find that, after a short life of four monthly numbers,

this magazine is not likely to be continued. Independently of the great

ability displayed by some of its contributors, we have been anxious to see the

rising school of young and clever artists find a voice, and tell us what they

are aiming at, and how they propose to reach their aim. This magazine was

to a great extent connected with the Pre-Raffaelle Brethren, whose paintings

have attracted this year a more than ordinary quantity of attention, and an

amount of praise and blame perhaps equally extravagant. As might have

been expected, the school has been identified with its cleverest manipulator,

Mr. Millais, and his merits or defects have been made the measure of the

admiration or contempt bestowed by the public upon those whom it chooses to

class with him. This is not matter of complaint, but it is a mistake. As far

as these papers enable us to judge, Mr. Millais is by no means the leading

mind among his fraternity; and judged by the principles of some clever and

beautiful papers upon art in the magazine before us, his pictures would be

described by them as wanting in some of the very highest artistic qualities,

although possessing many which entitle them to attention and respect. The

chief contributors to this magazine (to which Mr. Millais contributes nothing)

are other artists, as yet not greatly known, but with feeling and purpose about

them such as must make them remarkable in time. Some of the best papers

are by two brothers named Rossetti, one of whom, Mr. D. G. Rossetti, has a

very curious but very striking picture now exhibiting in the Portland

Gallery. Mr. Deverell, who has also a very clever picture in the same

gallery, contributes some beautiful poetry. It is perhaps chiefly in the

poetry that the abilities of these writers are displayed; for, with somewhat

absurd and much that is affected, there is yet in the poetical pieces of these

four numbers a beauty and grace of language and sentiment, and not seldom

a vigour of conception, altogether above the common run. Want of purpose

may be easily charged against them as a fault, and with some justice, but it is

a very common defect of youthful poetry, which is sure to disappear with time

if there be anything real and manly in the poet. The best pieces are too long

to extracted in entire, and are not to be judged of fairly except as wholes.

There is a very fine poem called “ Repining” of which this is particularly true.

[Next comes a quotation of Christina Rossetti's “ Dream Land,” and of a

portion of Dante Rossetti's “ Blessed Damozel.”] The last number contains

a remarkable dialogue on Art, written by a young man, John Orchard, who

has since died. It is well worth study. Kalon, Kosmon, Sophon, and

Christian, whose names, of course, represent the opinions they defend, discuss

a number of subjects connected with the arts. Each character is well sup-

ported, and the wisdom and candour of the whole piece is very striking,

especially when we consider the youth and inexperience of the writer. Art

lost a true and high-minded votary in Mr. Orchard [A rather long extract

from the “ Dialogue” follows here.]

It is a pity that the publication is to stop. English artists have hitherto

worked each one by himself, with too little of common purpose, too little of

mutual support, too little of distinct and steadily pursued intellectual object.

We do not believe that they are one whit more jealous than the followers of

other professions. But they are less forced to be together, and the little

jealousies which deform the natures of us all have in their case, for this

reason, freer scope, and tend more to isolation. Here, at last, we have a

school, ignorant it may be, conceited possibly, as yet with but vague and un-

realised objects, but working together with a common purpose, according to

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Sig. b
certain admitted principles, and looking to one another for help and sympathy.

This is new in England, and we are very anxious it should have a fair trial.

Its aim, moreover, however imperfectly attained as yet, is high and pure. No

one can walk along our streets and not see how debased and sensual our tastes

have become. The saying of Burke (so unworthy of a great man), that vice

loses half its evil by losing all its grossness, is practically acted upon, and

voluptuous and seductive figures, recommended only by a soft effeminacy,

swarm our shop-windows and defile our drawing-rooms. It is impossible to

over-state the extent to which they minister to, and increase the foul sins of,

a corrupt and luxurious age. A school of artists who attempt to bring back

the popular taste to the severe draperies and pure forms of early art are at

least deserving of encouragement. Success in their attempt would be a

national blessing.

Shrivelling in the Spring of 1850 , “ The Germ” showed no further

sign of sprouting for many years, though I suppose it may have been

known to the promoters of “ The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine,”

produced in
1856 , and may have furnished some incitement towards

that enterprise—again an unsuccessful one commercially. Gradually

some people began to take a little interest in the knowledge that such a

publication had existed, and to inquire after stray copies here and there.

This may perhaps have commenced before
1870 , or at any rate shortly

afterwards, as in that year the “ Poems” of Dante Rossetti were

brought out, exciting a great amount of attention and admiration, and

curiosity attached to anything that he might have published before.

One heard of such prices as ten shillings for a set of the “ The Germ,”

then £
2 , £10 , £30 , etc., and in 1899 a copy handsomely bound by

Cobden-Saunderson was sold in America for about £
104 . Will

that high-water mark ever be exceeded? For the sake of common-sense,

let us hope not.
I will now go through the articles in “ The Germ” one by one.

Wherever any of them may seem to invite a few words of explanation

I offer such to the reader; and I give the names of the authors, when not

named in the magazine itself. Those articles which do not call for

any particular comment receive none here.
On the wrapper of each number is to be found a sonnet, printed in

a rather aggressively Gothic type, beginning, “When whoso merely

hath a little thought.” This sonnet is my performance; it had been

suggested that one or other of the proprietors of the magazine should

write a sonnet to express the spirit in which the publication was under-

taken. I wrote the one here in question, which met with general

acceptance; and I do not remember that any one else competed. This

sonnet may not be a good one, but I do not see why it should be

considered unintelligible. Mr. Bell Scott, in his “Autobiographical

Notes,” expressed the opinion that to master the production would

almost need a Browning Society's united intellects. And he then gave
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his interpretation, differing not essentially from my own. What I

meant is this: A writer ought to think out his subject honestly and

personally, not imitatively, and ought to express it with directness and

precision; if he does this, we should respect his performance as

truthful, even though it may not be important. This indicated, for

writers, much the same principle which the P.R.B. professed for

painters,—individual genuineness in the thought, reproductive genuine-

ness in the presentment.
By Thomas Woolner: “ My Beautiful Lady ,” and “ Of My Lady

in Death
.” These compositions were, I think, nearly the first attempts

which Mr. Woolner made in verse; any earlier endeavours must have

been few and slight. The author's long poem “ My Beautiful Lady,”

published in
1863 , started from these beginnings. Coventry Patmore,

on hearing the poems in September
1849 , was considerably impressed

by them: “the only defect he found” (as notified in a letter from

Dante Rossetti) “being that they were a trifle too much in earnest in

the passionate parts, and too sculpturesque generally. He means by

this that each stanza stands too much alone, and has its own ideas too

much to itself.”
By Ford Madox Brown: “ The Love of Beauty: Sonnet .”
By John L. Tupper: “ The Subject in Art .” Two papers, which do

not complete the important thesis here undertaken. Mr. Tupper was,

for an artist, a man of unusually scientific mind; yet he was not, I think,

distinguished by that power of orderly and progressive exposition which

befits an argumentation. These papers exhibit a good deal of thought,

and state several truths which, even if partial truths, are not the less

deserving of attention; but the dissertation does not produce a very

clear impression, inasmuch as there is too great a readiness to plunge

in medias res , checked by too great a tendency to harking back, and

re-stating some conclusion in modified terms and with insecure corollaries.

Two points which Mr. Tupper chiefly insists upon are:
(1) that the

subject in a work of art affects the beholder in the same sort of way as

the same subject, occurring as a fact or aspect of Nature, affects him;

and thus whatever in Nature excites the mental and moral emotion of

man is a right subject for fine art ; and
(2) , that subjects of our own

day should not be discarded in favour of those of a past time. These

principles, along with others bearing in the same direction, underlie

the propositions lately advanced by Count Leo Tolstoy in his most inter-

esting and valuable (though I think one-sided) book entitled “ What is

Art? ”—and the like may be said of the principles announced in the

Hand and Soul” of Dante Rossetti, and in the “ Dialogue on Art

by John Orchard, through the mouths of two of the speakers, Christian
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Sig. b 2
and Sophon. I have once or twice seen these papers by Mr. Tupper

commented upon to the effect that he wholly ignores the question of art-

merit in a work of art, the question whether it is good or bad in form,

colour, etc. But this is a mistake, for in fact he allows that this is a

relevant consideration, but declines to bring it within his own lines of

discussion. There is also a curious passage which has been remarked

upon as next door to absurd; that where, in treating of various forms

of still life as inferior subjects for art, he says that “the dead pheasant

in a picture will always be as ‘food,’ while the same at the poulterer's

will be but a dead pheasant.” I do not perceive that this is really

absurd. At the poulterer's (and Mr. Tupper has proceeded to say as

much in his article) all the items are in fact food, and therefore the spec-

tator attends to the differences between them ; one being a pheasant, one

a fowl, one a rabbit, etc. But, in a varied collection of pictures, most of

the works representing some subject quite unconnected with food; and, if

you see among them one, such as a dead pheasant, representing an

article of food, that is the point which primarily occurs to your mind

as distinguishing this particular picture from the others. The views

expressed by Mr. Tupper in these two papers should be regarded as his

own, and not by any means necessarily those upheld by the Præ-

raphaelite Brotherhood. The members of this body must however have

agreed with several of his utterances, and sympathized with others, apart

from strict agreement.
By Patmore: “ The Seasons .” This choice little poem was

volunteered to “ The Germ” in September, after the author had read

our prospectus, which impressed him favourably. He withheld his

name, much to our disappointment, having resolved to do so in all

instances where something of his might be published pending the issue

of a new volume.
By Christina Rossetti: “ Dream Land .” Though my sister was

only just nineteen when this remarkable lyric was printed, she had

already made some slight appearance in published type (not to speak of

the privately printed “Verses” of
1847 ), as two small poems of hers

had been inserted in “ The Athenæum” in October
1848 . “ Dream

” was written in April
1849 , before “ The Germ” was thought

of; and it may be as well to say that all my sister's contributions to

this magazine were produced without any reference to publication in

that or in any particular form.
By Dante G. Rossetti: “ My Sister's Sleep.” This purports to be

1 of “ Songs of One Household.” I do not much think that Dante

Rossetti ever wrote any other poem which would have been proper to

such a series. “ My Sister's Sleep” was composed very soon after he
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emerged from a merely juvenile stage of work. I believe that it dates

before “ The Blessed Damozel,” and therefore before May
1847 . It is

not founded upon any actual event affecting the Rossetti family, nor

any family of our acquaintance. As I have said in my Memoir of my

(1895) , the poem was shown, perhaps early in 1848 , by Major

Calder Campbell to the editress of the “ Belle Assemblée,” who heartily

admired it, but, for one reason or another, did not publish it. This

composition is somewhat noticeable on more grounds than one; not

least as being in a metre which was not much in use until it became

famous in Tennyson's “In Memoriam,” published in
1850 , and of

course totally unknown to Rossetti when he wrote “ My Sister's Sleep.”

In later years my brother viewed this early work with some distaste,

and he only reluctantly reprinted it in his “ Poems,”
1870 . He then

wholly omitted the four stanzas
7, 8, 12, 13, beginning: “Silence

was speaking,” “I said, full knowledge,” “She stood a moment,”

“Almost unwittingly”; and he made some other verbal alterations.*

It will be observed that this poem was written long before the Præ-

raphaelite movement began. None the less it shows in an eminent

degree one of the influences which guided that movement: the intimate

intertexture of a spiritual sense with a material form; small actualities

made vocal of lofty meanings.
By Dante G. Rossetti: “ Hand and Soul .” This tale was, I think,

written with an express view to its appearing in No.
1 of our magazine,

and Rossetti began making for it an etching, which, though not ready

for No.
1 , was intended to appear in some number later than the second.

He drew it in March
1850 ; but, being disgusted with the performance,

he scratched the plate over, and tore up the prints. The design showed

Chiaro dell' Erma in the act of painting his embodied Soul. Though

the form of this tale is that of romantic metaphor, its substance is a

very serious manifesto of art-dogma. It amounts to saying, The only

satisfactory works of art are those which exhibit the very soul of the

artist. To work for fame or self-display is a failure, and to work for

direct moral proselytizing is a failure; but to paint that which your

own perceptions and emotions urge you to paint promises to be a success

for yourself, and hence a benefit to the mass of beholders. This was

the core of the “Præraphaelite” creed; with the adjunct (which

hardly came within the scope of Rossetti's tale, and yet may be partly

traced there) that the artist cannot attain to adequate self-expression
Transcribed Footnote (page 18):

* I may call attention to Stanza 16, “She stooped an instant.” The word

is “stooped” in “ The Germ ,” and in the “ Poems” of 1870. This is un-

doubtedly correct; but in my brother's re-issue of the “ Poems,” 1881, the

word got mis-printed “stopped”;and I find the same mis-print in subsequent


Image of page 19 page: 19
save through a stern study and realization of natural appearances.

And it may be said that to this core of the Præraphaelite creed Rossetti

always adhered throughout his life, greatly different though his later

works are from his earlier ones in the externals of artistic style. Most

of “ Hand and Soul” was written on December
21, 1849, day and night,

chiefly in some five hours beginning after midnight. Three currents of

thought may be traced in this story:
(1) A certain amount of knowledge

regarding the beginnings of Italian art, mingled with some ignorance,

voluntary or involuntary, of what was possible to be done in the middle

of the thirteenth century;
(2) a highly ideal, yet individual, general

treatment of the narrative; and
(3) a curious aptitude at detailing

figments as if they were facts. All about Chiaro dell' Erma himself,

Dresden and Dr. Aemmster, D'Agincourt, pictures at the Pitti Gallery,

the author's visit to Florence in
1847 , etc., are pure inventions or “mys-

tifications”; but so realistically put that they have in various instances

been relied upon and cited as truths. I gave some details as to this in

my Memoir of Dante Rossetti. The style of writing in “ Hand and

” is of a very exceptional kind. My brother had at that time a

great affection for “Stories after Nature,” written by Charles Wells

(author of “Joseph and his Brethren”), and these he kept in view to some

extent as a model, though the direct resemblance is faint indeed. In the

conversation of foreign art-students, forming the epilogue, he may have

been not wholly oblivious of the scene in Browning's “Pippa Passes”

(a prime favourite of his), where some “foreign students of painting

and sculpture” are preparing a disagreeable surprise for the French

sculptor Jules. There is, however, no sort of imitation; and Rossetti's

dialogue is the more markedly natural of the two. In re-reading

“Hand and Soul,” I am struck by two passages which came true of

Rossetti himself in after-life:
(1) “Sometimes after nightfall he

would walk abroad in the most solitary places he could find—hardly

feeling the ground under him because of the thoughts of the day which

held him in fever.”
(2) “Often he would remain at work through

the whole of a day, not resting once so long as the light lasted.” When

Rossetti, in
1869 , was collecting his poems, and getting them privately

printed with a view to after-publication, he thought of including

Hand and Soul” in the same volume, but did not eventually do so.

The privately-printed copy forms a small pamphlet, which has some-

times been sold at high prices—I believe £
10 and upwards. At this

time I pointed out to him that the church at Pisa which he named San

Rocco could not possibly have borne that name—San Rocco being a

historical character who lived at a later date: the Church was then

re-named “San Petronio,” and this I believe is the only change of the
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least importance introduced into the reprint. In December 1870 the

tale was published in “ The Fortnightly Review.” The Rev. Alfred

Gurney (deceased not long ago) was a great admirer of Dante Rossetti's

works. He published in
1883 a brochure named “A Dream of Fair

Women, a Study of some Pictures by Dante Gabriel Rossetti”; he also

published an essay on “ Hand and Soul,” giving a more directly religious

interpretation to the story than its author had at all intended. It is

entitled “A Painter's Day-dream.”
By W. M. Rossetti: “ Review of Clough's Bothie of Toperna-

.” The only remark which I need to make on this somewhat

ponderous article is that I, as Editor of “ The Germ,” was more or less

expected to do the sort of work for which other “proprietors” had little

inclination—such especially as the regular reviewing of new poems.
By W. M. Rossetti: “ Her First Season: Sonnet.” As I have

said elsewhere, my brother and I were at one time greatly addicted to

writing sonnets together to
bouts-rimés: the date may have been

1848 , and the practice had, I think, quite ceased for some little

while before “ The Germ” commenced in
1850 . This sonnet was one

of my
bouts-rimés performances. I ought to have been more chary

than I was of introducing into our seriously-intended magazine such

hap-hazard things as
bouts-rimés poems: one reason for doing so was

that we were often at a loss for something to fill a spare page.
By John L. Tupper: “ A Sketch from Nature.” The locality

indicated in these very spirited descriptive lines is given as “Sydenham

Wood.” When I was compiling the posthumous volume of John

Tupper's “Poems” which came out in
1897 , I should, so far as merit

is concerned, have wished to include this little piece: it was omitted

solely on the ground of its being already published.
By Christina Rossetti: “ An End.” Written in March 1849 .
By Collinson: “ The Child Jesus, a Record Typical of the Five

Sorrowful Mysteries
.” Collinson, as I have already said, was hardly

a writing man, and I question whether he had produced a line of verse

prior to undertaking this by no means trivial task. The poem, like the

etching which he did for it, is deficient in native strength, nor is there

much invention in the symbolical incidents which make it up: but its

general level, and several of its lines and passages, always appeared to

me, and still appear, highly laudable, and far better than could have

been reckoned for. Here and there a telling line was supplied by

Dante Rossetti. Millais, when shortly afterwards in Oxford, found

that the poem had made some sensation there. It is singular that

Collinson should, throughout his composition, speak of Nazareth as

being on the sea-shore—which is the reverse of the fact. The Præ-
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raphaelites, with all their love of exact truth to nature, were a little

arbitrary in applying the principle; and Collinson seems to have

regarded it as quite superfluous to look into a map, and see whether

Nazareth was near the sea or not. Or possibly he trusted to Dante

Rossetti's poem “ Ave,” in which likewise Nazareth is a marine town.

My brother advisedly stuck to this in
1869 , when I pointed out the

error to him: he replied, “I fear the sea must remain at Nazareth:

you know an old painter would have made no bones if he wanted it for

his background.” I cannot say whether Collinson, if put to it, would

have pleaded the like arbitrary and almost burlesque excuse: at any

rate he made the blunder, and in a much more detailed shape than in

Rossetti's lyric. “ The Child Jesus” is, I think, the
only poem of any

importance that he ever wrote.
By Christina Rossetti: “ A Pause of Thought .” On the wrapper

of “ The Germ” the writer's name is given as “Ellen Alleyn”: this

was my brother's concoction, as Christina did not care to figure under

her own name. “ A Pause of Thought” was written in February
1848 ,

when she was but little turned of seventeen. Taken as a personal

utterance (which I presume it to be, though I never inquired as to that,

and though it was at first named “ Lines in Memory of Schiller's Der

”), it is remarkable; for it seems to show that, even at that

early age, she aspired ardently after poetic fame, with a keen sense of

“hope deferred.”
By F. G. Stephens (called “John Seward” on the wrapper): “The

Purpose and Tendency of Early Italian Art.” This article speaks for

itself as being a direct outcome of the Præraphaelite movement: its

aim is to enforce personal independent endeavour, based upon close

study of nature, and to illustrate the like qualities shown in the earlier

school of art. It is more hortatory than argumentative, and is in fact

too short to develop its thesis—it indicates some main points for

By W. Bell Scott: “ Morning Sleep.” This poem delighted us

extremely when Mr. Scott sent it in reply to a request for contributions.

I still think it a noticeably fine thing, and one of his most equable pieces of

execution. It was republished in his volume of “Poems,”
1875 —with

some verbal changes, and shortened, I think damaged.
By Patmore: “ Stars and Moon.”
By Ford Madox Brown: “ On the Mechanism of a Historical

”: Part
1 , the Design. It is by this time a well-recognized fact

that Brown was one of the men in England, or indeed in Europe, most

capable of painting a historical picture, and it is a matter of regret that

The Germ” came to an end before he had an opportunity of continuing
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and completing this serviceable compendium of precepts. He had

studied art in continental schools; but I do not think he imported into

his article much of what he had been taught,—rather what he had

thought out for himself, and had begun putting into practice.
By W. M. Rossetti: “ Fancies at Leisure.” The first three of

these were written to
bouts-rimés . As to No. 1 , “ Noon Rest,” I

have a tolerably clear recollection that the rhymes were prescribed to me

by Millais, on one of the days in
1849 when I was sitting to him for

the head of Lorenzo in his first Præraphaelite picture from Keats's

“Isabella.” No.
4 , “Sheer Waste,” was not a bouts-rimés

performance. It was chiefly the outcome of an early afternoon spent

lazily in Regent's Park.
By Walter H. Deverell: “ The Light Beyond .” These sonnets are

not of very finished execution, but they have a dignified sustained tone

and some good lines. Had Deverell lived a little longer, he might

probably have proved that he had some genuine vocation as a poet, no

less than a decided pictorial faculty. He died young in February

By Dante G. Rossetti: “ The Blessed Damozel .” As to this

celebrated poem much might be said; but I shall not say it here, partly

because I wrote an Introduction to a reprint (published by Messrs.

Duckworth and Co. in 1898) of the “ Germ” version of the poem,

which is the earliest version extant, and in that Introduction I gave a

number of particulars forestalling what I could now set down. I will

however take this opportunity of correcting a blunder into which I fell

in the Introduction above mentioned. I called attention to “calm”

and “warm,” which make a “cockney rhyme” in stanza 9 of this

Germ” version; and I said that, in the later version printed in

The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine” in 1856, a change in the line

was made, substituting “swam” for “calm,” and that the cockneyism,

though shuffled, was not thus corrected. In “The Saturday Review,”

June 25, 1898, the publication of Messrs. Duckworth was criticized;

and the writer very properly pointed out that I had made a crass mistake.

“Mr. Rossetti,” he said, “must be a very hasty reader of texts. What

is printed [in ‘ The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine’] is ‘swarm,’ not

‘swam,’ and the rhyme with ‘warm’ is perfect, stultifying the editor's

criticism completely.” Probably the critic considered my error as

unaccountable as it was serious; and yet it could be fully accounted

for, though not fully excused. I had not been “a very hasty reader of

texts” in the sense indicated by “The Saturday Review.” The fact is

that, not possessing a copy of “ The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine,”

I had referred to the book brought out by Mr. William Sharp in 1882,
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“Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Record and a Study,” in which are given

(with every appearance of care and completeness) the passages of “The

Blessed Damozel” as they appeared in “ The Germ,” with the alterations

printed in “ The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine.”

From the latter, the line in question is given by Mr. Sharp as “Waste sea of worlds

that swam”; and I, supposing him to be correct (though I allow that

memory ought to have taught me the contrary), reproduced that line to

the same effect. “Always verify your references” is a precept to which

editors and commentators cannot too carefully conform. Many thanks

to the writer in “The Saturday Review” for showing that, while I, and

also Mr. Sharp, had made a mistake, my brother had made none.
By W. M. Rossetti: “ Review of the Strayed Reveller and other

Poems, by A.
” As we all now know, “A.” was Matthew Arnold, and

this was his first published volume; but I, at the time of writing the

review, knew nothing of the identity of “A.,” and even had I been told

that he was Matthew Arnold, that would have carried the matter hardly

at all further. I remember that, after I had written the whole or most

of this admiring review, I found that the volume had been abused in

“Blackwood's Magazine”; a fact of sweet savour to myself and other

P.R.B.'s, as we entertained a hearty detestation of that magazine, with

its blustering “Christopher North,” and its traditions of truculency

against Keats, Shelley, Leigh Hunt, Tennyson, Ruskin, and some

others. I read “A.'s” volume with great attention, and piqued myself

somewhat upon having introduced into my review some reference (detailed

or cursory) to every poem in it. Possibly (but I hardly think so) the

critique was afterwards shortened, so as to bereave it of this merit.
By Madox Brown (the etching) and by W. M. Rossetti (the verses):

Cordelia.” For the belated No.
3 of “ The Germ” we were much at a

loss for an illustration. Mr. Brown offered to accommodate us by

etching this design, one of a series from “King Lear” which he had

drawn in Paris in
1844 . That series, though not very sightly to the

eye, is of extraordinary value for dramatic insight and energy. We

gladly accepted, and he produced this etching with very little self-satis-

faction, so far as the technique of execution is concerned. Dante Rossetti

was to have furnished some verses for the etching; but for this he did

not find time, so I was put in as a stopgap, and I am not sure that any

reader of “ The Germ” has ever thanked me for my obedience to the

call of duty.
By Patmore: “ Essay on Macbeth .” In this interesting and well-

considered paper Mr. Patmore assumes that he was the first person to

put into writing the opinion that Macbeth, before meeting with the

witches, had already definitely conceived and imparted the idea of
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obtaining the crown of Scotland by wrongful means. I have always

felt some uncertainty whether Mr. Patmore was really the first; if he

was, it certainly seems strange that the train of reasoning which he

furnishes in this essay—forcible, even if we do not regard it as un-

answerable—should not have presented itself to the mind and pen of

some earlier writer. The Essay appears to have been left incomplete in

at least one respect. In speaking of “the fifth scene,” the author refers

to “postponement of comment” upon Macbeth's letter to his wife, and

he “leaves it for the present.” But the comment never comes.
By Christina Rossetti: “ Repining.” This rather long poem, written

in December
1847 on a still broader scale, was never republished by the

authoress, although all her other poems in “ The Germ” were so. She

did not think that its deservings were such as to call for republication.

I apprehend that herein she exercised a wise discretion: none the less,

when I was compiling the volume of her “New Poems,” issued in
1896 ,

I included “ Repining”—for I think that some of the considerations

which apply to the works of an author while living do not remain in

anything like full force after death.
By Dante G. Rossetti: “ The Carillon, Antwerp and Bruges.”

These verses, and some others further on in “ The Germ,” were written

during the brief trip, in Paris and Belgium, which my brother made

along with Holman-Hunt in the autumn of
1849 . He did not re-

publish “ The Carillon”; but he left in MS. an abridged form of it,

with the title “ Antwerp and Bruges,” and this I included in his

Collected Works,”
1886 . The only important change was the omission

of stanzas
1 and 4 .
By Dante G. Rossetti: “ From the Cliffs, Noon.” Altering some

phrases in this lyric, and adding two stanzas, Rossetti republished it

under the name of “ The Sea-limits.”
By W. M. Rossetti: “ Fancies at Leisure.” The first four were

written to
bouts-rimés : not the fifth, “ The Fire Smouldering,” which

is, I think, as old as
1848 , or even 1847.
By John L. Tupper: “ Papers of the MS. Society; No. 1, An

Incident in the Siege of Troy
.” This grotesque outburst, though

sprightly and clever, was not well-suited to the pages of “ The Germ.”

My attention had been called to it at an earlier date, when my editorial

power was unmodified, but I then staved it off, and indeed John Tupper

himself did not deem it appropriate. It will be observed that “MS.

Society” is said not to mean “Manuscript Society.” I forget what it

did mean—possibly “Medical Student Society.” The whole thing is

replete with semi-private sous-entendus
sous-entendus , and banter at Free Trade,

medical and anatomical matters, etc. The like general remarks apply to
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4 , “ Smoke,” by the same writer. It is a rollicking semi-intelligible

chaunt, a forcible thing in its way, proper in the first instance (I believe)

to a sort of club of medical students, Royal Academy students, and others

—highly-seasoned smokers most of them—in which John Tupper

exercised a quasi-privacy, and was called (owing to his thinness, much

over-stated in the poem) “The Spectro-cadaveral King.” No.
5 ,

“Rain,” is again by John Tupper, and is the only item in “The Papers

of the MS. Society” which seems, in tone and method, to be reasonably

appropriate for “ The Germ.”
By Alexander Tupper: No. 2 , “ Swift's Dunces.”
By George I. F. Tupper: No. 3 , “ Mental Scales.” This also, in the

scrappy condition which it here presents, reads rather as a joke than as

a serious proposition: I believe it was meant for the latter.
By John L. Tupper: “ Viola and Olivia .” The verses are not of

much significance. The etching by Deverell, however defective in

technique, claims more attention, as the Viola was drawn from Miss

Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal, whom Deverell had observed in a bonnet-shop

some few months before the etching was done, and who in
1860 became

the wife of Dante Rossetti. This face does not give much idea of hers,

and yet it is not unlike her in a way. The face of Olivia bears some

resemblance to Christina Rossetti: I think however that it was drawn,

not from her, but from a sister of the artist.
By John Orchard: “ A Dialogue on Art.” The brief remarks

prefacing this dialogue were written by Dante Rossetti. The diction

of the dialogue itself was also, at Orchard's instance, revised to some

minor extent by my brother, and I dare say by me. Orchard was a

painter of whom perhaps no memory remains at the present day: he

exhibited some few pictures, among which I can dimly remember one of

“The Flight of Archbishop Becket from England.” His age may, I

suppose, have been twenty-seven or twenty-eight years at the date of his

death. In our circle he was unknown; but, conceiving a deep admiration

for Rossetti's first exhibited picture
(1849) , “ The Girlhood of Mary

,” he wrote to him, enclosing a sonnet upon the picture—a very

bad sonnet in all executive respects, and far from giving promise of the

spirited, if unequal, poetic treatment which we find in the lines in

The Germ,” “ On a Whit-Sunday Morn in the Month of May.”

This led to a call from Orchard to Rossetti. I think there was only

one call, and I, as well as my brother, saw him on that occasion.

Afterwards, he sent this dialogue for “ The Germ.” The dialogue has

always, and I think justly, been regarded as a remarkable performance.

The form of expression is not impeccable, but there is a large amount of

eloquence, coming in aid of definite and expansive thought. From
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what is here said it will be understood that Orchard was quite uncon-

nected with the P.R.B. He expressed opinions of his own which may

indeed have assimilated in some points to theirs, but he was not in any

degree the mouthpiece of their organization, nor prompted by any

member of the Brotherhood. In the dialogue, the speaker whose opinions

appear manifestly to represent those of Orchard himself is Christian,

who is mostly backed up by Sophon. Christian forces ideas of purism

or puritanism to an extreme, beyond anything which I can recollect as

characterizing any of the P.R.B. His upholding of the painters who

preceded Raphael as the best men for nurturing new and noble develop-

ments of art in our own day was more in their line. In my brother's

prefatory note a question is raised of publishing any other writings

which Orchard might have left behind. None such, however, were

found. Dr. W. C. Bennett (afterwards known as the author of

“Songs for Sailors,” etc.), who had been intimate with Orchard, aided

my brother in his researches.

By F. G. Stephens (called “Laura Savage” on the wrapper):

Modern Giants .”
By Dante G. Rossetti: “ Pax Vobis.” Republished by the author,

with some alterations, under the title of “ World's Worth.”
By Dante G. Rossetti: “ Sonnets for Pictures.” No. 1, “ A Virgin

and Child, by Hans Memmeling
,” was not reprinted by Rossetti, but is

included (with a few verbal alterations made by him in MS.) in his

Collected Works.” No.
2 , “ A Marriage of St. Katherine, by the

.” A similar observation. No.
3 , “ A Dance of Nymphs, by

Andrea Mantegna
,” was republished by Rossetti, with some verbal

alterations. No.
4 , “ A Venetian Pastoral, by Giorgione”—the like.

The alterations here are of considerable moment. Rossetti, in a pub-

lished letter of October
8, 1849 , referred to the Giorgione picture as

follows: “A Pastoral—at least, a kind of Pastoral—by Giorgione,

which is so intensely fine that I condescended to sit down before it and

write a sonnet. You must have heard me rave about the engraving

before, and, I fancy, have seen it yourself. There is a woman, naked,

at one side, who is dipping a glass vessel into a well, and in the centre

two men and another naked woman, who seem to have paused for a

moment in playing on the musical instruments which they hold.” Nos.

5 and 6 , “ Angelica Rescued from the Sea-Monster, by Ingres,” were

also reprinted by the author, with scarcely any alteration. Patmore, on

reading these two sonnets, was much struck with their truthfulness of

quality, as being descriptive of paintings. As to some of the other

sonnets, Mr. W. M. Hardinge wrote in “Temple Bar,” several years

ago, an article containing various pertinent and acute remarks.
Image of page 27 page: 27
By W. M. Rossetti: “Review of Browning's Christmas Eve and

Easter Day.” The only observation I need make upon this review—

which was merely intended as introductory to a fuller estimate of the

poem, to appear in an ensuing number of “ The Germ”—is that it

exemplifies that profound cultus of Robert Browning which, commenced

by Dante Rossetti, had permeated the whole of the Præraphaelite

Brotherhood, and formed, not less than some other ideas, a bond of

union among them. It will be readily understood that, in Mr. Stephens's

article, “ Modern Giants,” the person spoken of as “the greatest

perhaps of modern poets” is Browning.
By W. M. Rossetti: “ The Evil under the Sun: Sonnet.” This

sonnet was composed in August
1849 , when the great cause of the

Hungarian insurrection against Austrian tyranny was, like revolutionary

movements elsewhere, precipitating towards its fall. My original title

for the sonnet was, “
For the General Oppression of the Better by the

Worse Cause, Autumn
1849 .” When the verses had to be published

in “ The Germ,” a magazine which did not aim at taking any side

in politics, it was thought that this title was inappropriate, and the

other was substituted. At a much later date the sonnet was re-

printed with yet another and more significant title, “ Democracy Down-

Having now disposed of “ The Germ” in general, and singly of

most of the articles in it, I have very little to add. The project of

reprinting the magazine was conceived by its present publisher, Mr.

Stock, many years ago—perhaps about
1883 . At that time several

contributors assented, but others declined, and considerations of copy-

right made it impracticable to proceed with the project. It is only now

that lapse of time has disposed of the copyright question, and Mr. Stock

is free to act as he likes. I was from the first one of those (the

majority) who assented to the republication, acting herein on behalf

of my brother, then lately deceased, as well as of myself. I am quite

aware that some of the articles in “ The Germ” are far from good, and

some others, though good in essentials, are to a certain extent juvenile;

but juvenility is anything but uninteresting when it is that of such men

as Coventry Patmore and Dante Rossetti. “ The Germ” contains

nothing of which, in spirit and in purport, the writers need be ashamed.

If people like to read it without paying fancy prices for the original

edition, they were and are, so far as I am concerned, welcome to do so.

Before Mr. Stock's long-standing scheme could be legally carried into

effect, an American publisher, Mr. Mosher, towards the close of
1898 ,

brought out a handsome reprint of “ The Germ” (not in any wise a
Image of page 28 page: 28
facsimile), and a few of the copies were placed on sale in London.*

Mr. Mosher gave as an introduction to his volume an article by the late

J. Ashcroft Noble which originally appeared in an English magazine

in May
1882 . This article is entitled “A Pre-Raphaelite Magazine.”

It is written in a spirit of generous sympathy, and is mostly correct in

its facts. I may here mention another article on “ The Germ,” also

published, towards
1868 , in some magazine. It is by John Burnell

Payne (originally a Clergyman of the Church of England), who died

young in
1869 . He wrote a triplet of articles, named “Præraphaelite

Poetry and Painting,” of which Part
I . is on “ The Germ.” He ex-

presses himself sympathetically enough; but his main drift is to show

that the Præraphaelite movement, after passing through some immature

stages, developed into a quasi-Renaissance result. A perusal of his

paper will show that Mr. Payne was one of the persons who supposed

Chiaro dell'Erma, the hero of “ Hand and Soul,” to have been a real

painter, author of an extant picture.
Mr. Stock's reprint is of the facsimile order, and even faults of print

are reproduced. I am not called upon to say with any precision what

there are. On page
45 I observe “ear,” which should be “car”; on

62 , Angilico, and Rossini (for Rosini). On page 155 the words,

“I believe that the thought-wrapped philosopher,” ought to begin a new

sentence. On page 159 “Phyrnes” ought of course to be “Phrynes.”

The punctuation could frequently be improved.
I will conclude by appending a little list (it makes no pretension to

completeness) of writings bearing upon the Præraphaelite Brotherhood

and its members. Writings of that kind are by this date rather

numerous; but some readers of the present pages may not well know

where to find them, and might none the less be inclined to read up the

subject a little. I give these works in the order (as far as I know it)

of their dates, without any attempt to indicate the degree of their

importance. That is a question on which I naturally entertain opinions

of my own, but I shall not intrude them upon the reader.
Transcribed Footnote (page 28):

* I have seen in the “Irish Figaro”, May 6, 1899, a very pleasant notice, signed “J. Reid,” of this reprint.

  • Ruskin: Pre-Raphaelitism, 1854, and other later writings.
  • F. G. Stephens: William Holman-Hunt and his Works, 1860.
  • William Sharp: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1882.
  • Hall Caine: Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1882.
  • Walter Hamilton: The Æsthetic Movement in England, 1882.
  • T. Watts-Dunton: The Truth about Rossetti, 1883, and other

  • Image of page 29 page: 29
  • W. Holman-Hunt: The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, 1884 (?).
  • Earnest Chesneau: La Peinture Anglaise, 1884 (?).
  • Joseph Knight: Life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1887.
  • W. M. Rossetti: Dante Gabriel Rossetti as Designer and Writer,

  • Harry Quilter: Preferences in Art, 1892.
  • W. Bell Scott: Autobiographical Notes, 1892.
  • Esther Wood: Dante Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Movement,

  • Robert de la Sizeranne: La Peinture Anglaise Contemporaine,

  • Dante G. Rossetti: Family Letters, with Memoir by W. M.

    , 1895.
  • Richard Muther: The History of Modern Painting, vols. ii. and

    iii., 1896.
  • Ford H. M. Hueffer: Ford Madox Brown, 1896.
  • Dante G. Rossetti: Letters to William Allingham, edited by Dr.

    Birkbeck Hill, 1897.
  • M. H. Spielmann: Millais and his Works, 1898.
  • Antonio Agresti: Poesie di Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Traduzione

    con uno Studio su la Pittura Inglese, etc., 1899.
  • Fraulein Wilmersdoerffer: Dante Gabriel Rossetti und sein Einflusz,

  • Edited by W. M. Rossetti: Ruskin, Rossetti, Præraphaelitism,

  • J. Guille Millais: Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais,

  • Percy H. Bate: The English Præraphaelite Painters, 1899.
  • H. C. Marillier: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1899.
  • Edited by W. M. Rossetti: Præraphaelite Diaries and Letters,

There are also books on Burne-Jones and Willaim Morris with

which I am not accurately acquainted. It seems strange that no

memoir of Thomas Woolner has yet been published; a fine sculptor

and remarkable man known to and appreciated by all sorts of people,

and certain to have figured extensively in correspondence. He died

in October 1892. Mr. Holman-Hunt is understood to have been

engaged for a long while past upon a book on Præraphaelitism
Image of page 30 page: 30
which would cast into the shade most of the earlier literature on the


July 1899.
N.B.—When the third number of the magazine was about to

appear, with a change of title from “ The Germ” to “ Art and

,” two fly-sheets were drawn up, more, I think, by Messrs.

Tupper the printing-firm than by myself. They contain some

“Opinions of the Press,” already referred to in this Introduction, and

an explanation as to the change of title. The fly-sheets appear in

facsimile as follows:
Image of page 31 page: 31
Published Monthly.—Price One Shilling.

“Art and Poetry,”

Being Thoughts towards Nature.

Conducted principally by Artists.
Of the little worthy the name of writing that has ever been

written upon the principles of Art, (of course excepting that

on the mere mechanism), a very small portion is by Artists

themselves; and that is so scattered, that one scarcely knows

where to find the ideas of an Artist except in his pictures.
With a view to obtain the thoughts of Artists, upon Nature

as evolved in Art, in another language besides their own

one, this Periodical has been established. Thus, then,

it is not open to the conflicting opinions of all who handle the

brush and palette, nor is it restricted to actual practitioners;

but is intended to enunciate the principles of those who, in

the true spirit of Art, enforce a rigid adherence to the sim-

plicity of Nature either in Art or Poetry, and consequently

regardless whether emanating from practical Artists, or from

those who have studied nature in the Artist's School.
Hence this work will contain such original Tales (in prose

or verse), Poems, Essays, and the like, as may seem conceived

in the spirit, or with the intent, of exhibiting a pure and

unaffected style, to which purpose analytical Reviews of

current Literature—especially Poetry—will be introduced;

as also illustrative Etchings, one of which latter, executed

with the utmost care and completeness, will appear in each


Published by Messrs. DICKINSON, 114, NEW BOND STREET,

Image of page 32 page: 32
Note: The text of this flysheet was originally in hand-written script.
“The Germ”

The Subscribers to this Periodical are

respectfully informed that in future it will

appear under the title of Art and Poetry

instead of the original arbitrary one, which

occasioned much misapprehension—This

alteration will not be productive of any ill

consequence, as the title has never occurred

in the work itself, and Label will be

supplied for placing on the old wrappers, so as

to make them conformable to the new—
It should also be noticed that the Numbers

will henceforward be published on the last day

of the Month for which they are dated—
Town Subscribers will oblige by filling up &

returning the accompanying form, which will

ensure the Numbers being duly forwarded as

Country Subscribers may obtain their copies by

kindly forwarding their orders to any Booksellers in

their respective Neighborhoods.—
Image of page 33 page: 33
Published Monthly.—Price One Shilling.

“Art and Poetry,”

Being Thoughts towards Nature.

Conducted principally by Artists.

Of the little worthy the name of writing that has ever been

written upon the principles of Art, (of course excepting that

on the mere mechanism), a very small portion is by Artists

themselves; and that is so scattered, that one scarcely knows

where to find the ideas of an Artist except in his pictures.
With a view to obtain the thoughts of Artists, upon Nature

as evolved in Art, in another language besides their own

one, this Periodical has been established. Thus, then,

it is not open to the conflicting opinions of all who handle the

brush and palette, nor is it restricted to actual practitioners;

but is intended to enunciate the principles of those who, in

the true spirit of Art, enforce a rigid adherence to the sim-

plicity of Nature either in Art or Poetry, and consequently

regardless whether emanating from practical Artists, or from

those who have studied nature in the Artist's School.
Hence this work will contain such original Tales (in prose

or verse), Poems, Essays, and the like, as may seem conceived

in the spirit, or with the intent, of exhibiting a pure and

unaffected style, to which purpose analytical Reviews of

current Literature—especially Poetry—will be introduced;

as also illustrative Etchings, one of which latter, executed

with the utmost care and completeness, will appear in each


Published by Messrs. DICKINSON, 114, NEW BOND STREET,

Image of page 34 page: 34
Note: The text of this flysheet was originally in hand-written script.
. . . Original Poems, stories to develop thought and principle, essays con

cerning Art & other subjects, are the materials which are to compose this unique

addition to our periodical literature Among the poetry, there are some

rare gems of poetic conception; among the prose essays, we notice “ the

Subject in Art
” which treats of Art itself in a noble and lofty tone, with

the view which he must take of it who would, in the truest sense of the

word, be an Artist, and another paper, not less interesting, on “ the

Purpose and Tendency of Early Italian Art
” A well executed Etching

in the medieval style, accompanies each number”
John Bull.
“. . . There are so many original and beautiful thoughts in these pages —

indeed some of the poems & tales are in themselves so beautiful in spirit & form—

that we have hopes of the writers, when they shall have got rid of those ghosts of

mediæval art which now haunt their every page. The essay ‘ On the Mechanism

of a Historical Picture
’ is a good practical treatise, and indicates the kind of

writing which is much wanted among artists ”
Morning Chronicle.
“We depart from our usual plan of noticing the periodicals under one heading, for the

purpose of introducing to our readers a new aspirant for public favour, which has pecu

liar and uncommon claims to attention, for in design & execution it differs from all

other periodicals . . . A periodical largely occupied with poetry wears an unpromising

aspect to readers who have learned from experience what nonsensical stuff most fugitive

Magazine poetry is . . . . But, when they have read a few extracts which we propose to make,

we think they will own that for once appearances are deceitful . . . . That the

contents of this work are the productions of no common minds, the following extracts will

sufficiently prove . . . . We have not space to take any specimens of the prose; but

the essays on Art are conceived with an equal appreciation of its meaning & requirements.

Being such, this work has our heartiest wishes for its success, but we scarcely dare to hope

that it may win the popularity it deserves. The truth is that it is too good for the time. It

is not material enough for the age”
“. . . It bears unquestionable evidences of true inspirations and, in fact, is so thoroughly

spiritual that it is more likely to find ‘the fit audience though few’ than to attract the

multitude . . . The prose articles are much to our taste . . . We know, however, of no

periodical of the time which is so genuinely poetical and artistic in its tone.”
Standard of Freedom.
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