Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription
Document Title: Letter to Mrs. Gabriele Rossetti, 18 August 1871
Date of Composition: 1871 August 18
full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.
Transcription Gap: pages 1-4 (text available elsewhere, to be added here later)
- Tonight this sunset spreads two golden wings
- Cleaving the Western sky;
- Winged too with wind it is, and winnowings
- Of birds; as if the day's last hour in rings
- Of strenuous flight must die.
- Sun-steeped in fire, the homeward pinions sway
- Above the dovecote-tops;
- And clouds of starlings, ere they rest with day,
- Sink, clamorous like mill-waters, at wild play,
10 By turns in every copse.
- Each tree heart-deep the wrangling rout receives—
- Save for the whirr within,
- You could not tell the starlings from the leaves;
- Then one great puff of wings, and the swarm heaves
- Away with all its din.
- Even thus Hope's hours, in ever-eddying flight,
- To many a refuge tend;
- With the first light she laughed, and the last light
- Glows round her still; who natheless in the night
20 At length must make an end.
- And now the mustering rooks innumerable
- Together sail and soar,
- While for the day's death, like a tolling knell,
- Unto the heart they seem to cry, Farewell,
- No more, farewell, no more!
- Is Hope not plumed, as 'twere a fiery dart?
- Therefore, O dying day,
- Even as thou goest must she too depart,
- And Sorrow fold such pinions on the heart,
30 As will not fly away?
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Copyright: Princeton University Library, Department of Rare Books and Special