Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Letter to Mrs. Gabriele Rossetti, 18 August 1871
Author: DGR
Date of Composition: 1871 August 18
Scribe: DGR

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

Transcription Gap: pages 1-4 (text available elsewhere, to be added here later)
page: [5]
Sunset Wings
  • 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.
page: [6]
  • 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
Source File: dgr.ltr.0559.rad.xml
Copyright: Princeton University Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections