Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Letter to Frederick Stephens, 2 February 1881
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1881 February 2
Type of Manuscript: letter
Scribe: DGR

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

page: [1]

My dear Stephens,
Thanks heartily for so excellent an article and so clear a presentation of my pictures. I think it will be best to omit the third picture, as I said. I have thought it best not to mark the proof with pen but only with pencil which you can readily remove. I enclose a paper explaining my numbers and crosses.
Surely I gave you a translation of the Italian passage. Has anyone taken on himself to strike this out of the slip? The Italian has certainly been altered by someone and needs reinstating. As for the translation, has it perhaps struck someone as too paraphrastic? It should be restored. The two words “Salsé colui” in line 6 convey to an Italian ear the full sense of the line in my translation
“This in his inmost heart well knoweth he.”
Yours sincerely,

D. G. Rossetti
page: [2]
N.B. Private
P.S. It strikes me that it may not be possible to give attention to these matters if the article is to appear this week. In such case I think it would be much better to defer it, not only to the next Saturday, but to the Saturday following that — i.e. three Saturdays from this writing. I have a particular reason for taking this view.
1. I think “enabled” would be better than “permitted” as the favour is absolutely to myself. Two instead of three pictures would now be included.
2. In line 2 of sonnet “keep” should be “fledge.” Please make this restoration. Who can have changed my words?
3. At the end of the same line the comma should be a semi-colon.
4. Divide sonnet after the 8th line.
5. “Seated under the boughs of a tree.” This would be more correct correct if saying “Seated between the dividing boughs of the tree.”
6. Have you marked “and ignorant of our presence”? I think it might be better out. Someone has also marked “that way” a little further on: I fancy “our way” would be better.
* As Ionides is named, I think the passage on the next picture should be opened thus: “The second picture, the property of Mr. Frederick Leyland” &c. I am glad the possessors should be named.
* “Among those whose opportunity of repentance was only at the last moment—and who died without absolution” might be better than the passage between among and absolution.
8. The Italian runs thus in spelling and punctuation:
  • Deh quando tu sarai tornato al mondo
  • E riposato della lunga via,
  • (Seguito il terzo spirito al secondo,)
  • Ricorditi di me che son la Pia.
  • Siena me fe', disfecemi Maremma:
  • Salsi colui che inanellata pria
  • Disposando m'avea colla sua gemma.
Please note the correct indentation of the lines, and the parenthesis necessary in line 3. Of course there are a few antiquated peculiarities, but I give the most approved form.
page: [3]
The Italian should be followed by saying—
“These lines are rendered on the frame of the picture as follows:—[”]
  • “Ah! when on earth thy voice again is heard
  • And there from the long road hast rested thee,”
  • (After the second spirit said the third,)
  • “Remember me who am La Pia: me
  • From Siena sprung & by Maremma dead:
  • This in his inmost heart well knoweth he
  • With whose fair jewel I was ringed and wed.”
10. I think these sentences would be more exact thus:—
11. “The lady reclines on the ramparts, beside the grey stone-work of a cylindrical tower. This tower is covered with the dense foliage of a climbing fig-tree" &c.
12. “gives glimpses of the distant reach of the ramparts and outer chapel” would be more exact.
13. I think after “lustre” it would be well to say:— “a swarm of rooks wheels in evening flight to the turret.”
15. I think the sentence about her hands needs a change to be exact: as thus:— “Her hands reach along her knees: some of their fingers are interlaced, while one thumb and forefinger clasp tightly, even to the whitening of nail and knuckle, the ‘fair jewel’ on the other hand.” By the bye, I may mention that this phrase shows me clearly that I did give you the translation. Who the devil cut it out?
16. I should substitute “animation” instead of “courage” as I intend the face to be more reduced by disease than by discouragement, though the rest of the description is exact.
17. “husband's” should of course be “husband.”
18. I fancy the sentence would be better if concluding at “tone.” The rest I should think best omitted.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: dgr.ltr.0560.rad.xml