Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Letter to Thomas Gordon Hake, September 11, 1871
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1871 September 11
Type of Manuscript: letter
Scribe: DGR

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

Transcription Gap: pages 1-2 and most of 3 of letter (to be added later)
page: [3]
I'm writing a longish ballad poem about a Beryl of magic Crystal—a story with, I hope, good emotions and surprises in it. To show you what the metre is, I'll copy the description of the Beryl. I had originally meant to intercept the stanzas with a running and very varied burden, but I found the poem was too long and intricate for such treatment, as the mind was overtaxed with a double current of ideas. However I copy one section of this proposed burden (I had written a good many such before discontinuing the idea), after the stanzas. The burden was to be used with one line after the couplet and one after the triplet of each stanza. Thus, either of the two specimens I copy would just suffice for the four stanzas I send. The burdens were to be distantly allusive to the story in a sort of gradually culminating way.
Ever yours

D. G. R.
I copy two for variety.
  • Water-willow and wellaway,
  • With a wind blown night and day.
  • The willow's wan and the water white,
  • With a wind blown day and night.
  • The willows wave on the waterway,
  • With a wind blown night and day.
  • The willows wail in the waning light,
  • With a wind blown day and night.
  • Honey-flowers to the honeycomb
  • And the honey-bee's from home.
  • A honey-comb and a honey-flower,
  • And the bee shall have his hour.
  • A honeyed heart for the honeycomb,
  • And the humming bee flies home.
  • A heavy heart in the honeyflower,
  • And the bee has had his hour.
  • The lady unbound her jewelled zone,
  • And drew from her robe the Beryl-stone.
  • Shaped it was to a shadowy sphere,—
  • World of our world, the sun's compeer,
  • That bears and buries the toiling year.
  • With shuddering light 'twas stirred and strewn
  • Like the cloud-nest of the wading moon:
  • Freaked it was as the bubble's ball,—
  • Rainbow-hued through a misty pall
  • 10Like the middle light of the waterfall.
  • Shadows dwelt in its teeming girth
  • Of the known and unknown things of earth;
  • The cloud above and the wave around,—
  • The central fire at the sphere's heart bound,
  • Like doomsday prisoned underground.
  • A thousand years it lay in the sea
  • With a treasure wrecked from Thessaly:
  • Deep it lay 'neath the ocean's wrack,
  • But the water-spirits found the track:
  • 20A soul was lost to win it back.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: dgr.ltr.0543.rad.xml