Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription
Document Title: Letter to James Collinson, 25 October 1849
Author: William Holman Hunt
Date of Composition: 1849 October 25
Type of Manuscript: letter
full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.
- Ah yes, exactly so: but when a man
- Has trundled out of England into France
- And half thro Belgium, always in this prance
- Of steam, and still has stuck to his first plan—
- Blank verse or sonnets; and as he began
- Would end:—why, even the blankest verse may
- To falter in default of circumstance,
- And even the sonnet lack its mystic span.
- Trees will be trees, grass grass, pools merely pools,
10 Unto the end of time and Belgium. Points
- Of fact which Poets (very abject fools)
- Get scent of—once their epithets grown tame
- And scarce. Even to these foreign rails—my
- Begin to find their jolting much the same.
Transcription Gap: prose text of letter (to be added later)
Manuscript Addition: [Here follows the / poem published / in the Germ]
Editorial Description: WMR's note beside the title
- At Antwerp, there is a low wall
- About the city, and a moat
- Beneath, that the wind keeps afloat.
- You pass the gates in a slow crawl,
- And if the air is warm at all
- The Carillon will give you thought.
- I climbed the stair in Antwerp Church,
- What time the urgent weight of sound
- At sunset spins the building round:
- Far up, the Carillon did search
- The wind; and the birds came to perch
- Far under, where the gables wound.
- In Antwerp harbour on the Scheldt
- I stood along, a certain space
- Of night. The mist was near my face;
The Deep on, the flow was heard & felt:
- The Carillon kept pause, and dwelt
- In music thro the silent place.
- At Bruges, when you leave the train,—
- A singing numbness in your ears,—
- The Carillon's first sound appears
- Only the inner hum. Again
- A little minute though—your brain
- Takes quiet, and the whole sense hears.
- John Memmelinck and John van Eyck
- Hold state at Bruges. In sore shame
- I scanned the works that keep their name.
- The Carillon, which then did strike
- Mine ears, was heard of theirs alike:
- It set me closer unto them.
I wish I had finished this blessed ditty, Dear PRB; but I have not
“& there an end,”—or no end
at all rather.
Transcription Gap: remainder of prose text of letter (to be added later)
Electronic Archive Edition: 1