Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Letter to William Allingham, 23 July 1854, manuscript
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1854 July 21
Type of Manuscript: corrected copy
Scribe: DGR

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

Transcription Gap: prose text of letter (to be added later)
page: [3]
My original poems are all (or all of the best) in an aboriginal state, being beginnings, though some of them very long beginnings, and not one, I think, fairly copied. Moreover, I am always hoping to finish those I like, and know they would have no chance if shown to you unfinished, as I am sure they would not please you in that state,and then I should feel disgusted with them. This is the sheer truth. Of short pieces I have seldom
Image of page [4] page: [4]
or never done anything tolerable, except perhaps sonnets, but if I can find any which I think in any sense legible I will send them with the translations. I wish if you wr[?]te write anything you care to show, you would reciprocate, as you may be sure I care to see. As a grand instalment I send you the Mac Crac sonnet: it hangs over him as yet like the sword of Damocles. I dare say you remember Tennyson's sonnet “The Kraken it is in the M.S. book of mine you have by you,—so compare.
Mac Cracken—
  • Getting his pictures, like his supper, cheap
  • Far far away in Belfast by the sea,
  • His scaly, one-eyed, uninvaded sleep
  • Mac Cracken sleepeth. While the PRB
  • Must keep the shady side, he walks a swell
  • Through spungings of perennial growth & height:
  • And far away in Belfast out of sight,
  • By many an open do and secret sell,
  • Fresh daubers he makes shift to scarify
  • 10 And fleece with pliant shears the slumbering
  • green.
  • Image of page [5] page: [5]
    Manuscript Addition: (10) 2
    Editorial Note: Numbers added at the top center.
  • There he has lied, though aged, & will lie,
  • Fattening on ill-got pictures in his sleep,
  • Till some Pre-Raphael prove for him too deep.
  • Then once by Hunt & Ruskin to be seen,
  • Insolvent he shall turn & in the Queen's Bench die.

You'll find it very close to the original—as well as to fact.
I'll add my last sonnet, made 2 days ago—though at the risk of seeming trivial after the stern reality of the above.
  • As when two men have loved a woman well,
  • Each hating each; and all in all, deceit,
  • Since not for either, this straight marriage sheet
  • And the long pauses of this wedding-bell;
  • But o'er her grave, the night & day dispel
  • At last their feud forlorn, with cold & heat;
  • Nor other than dear friends, to death may fleet
  • The two lives left which most of her can tell:—
  • So separate hopes, that in a soul had wood
  • 10 The one same Peace, strove with each other long:
  • And Peace before their faces perished since:
  • So from that soul, in mindful brotherhood,
  • (When silence may not be) sometimes they throng
  • Through high-streets & at many dusty inns.

But my sonnets are not generally finished till I see them again after forgetting them, & this is only 2 days old.
Transcription Gap: prose text of letter (to be added later)
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: dgr.ltr.0535.rad.xml