Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Letter to Frances M. L. Rossetti, 5 Sptember 1848
Author: DGR
Date of Composition: 1848 September 5
Type of Manuscript: letter
Scribe: DGR

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

page: [1]
Tuesday night [c. 5 September 1848]

Dear Mamma,
William having suggested that you might perhaps like a note from me, I hasten to send you the same, which I would have done before, had I possessed any news which I thought would interest you. At present indeed I have not a jot more than then, except of that class which William gloats over & all others scorn. This accordingly I must proceed to retail.
I have returned this minute from the Queen's Theatre in Tottenham Street whither I went with Collinson and Clifton to witness a profoundly intense Drama entitled “Koeuba, the Pirate Vessel,” wherein are served up a British Sailor & other dainties. One of the pirates wore trouserstraps, which I thought was a touch of nature, considering.
Have you seen Christina's and William's rhyme sonnets? The second of C.'s is really good: so is the second of W's. His third is also good, but for the strange word “queer,” wherein I recognize the influence of Christina's powerful mind. His fourth has some very good lines, but is wretched nonsense as it stands.
By the bye, I will transcribe you a howling canticle written by me yesterday in what agony of tears let the style suggest. I hereby declare that if snobbishness consists in the assumption of false appearances, the most snobbish of all things is poetry.
page: [2]
The Fall of the Leaf
  • Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
  • How the heart feels a languid grief
  • Laid on it for a covering,
  • And how sleep seems a goodly thing
  • In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
  • And how the spirit gripes Misfortune
  • At the fall of the leaf in Autumn,
  • As one that makes the end more brief:
  • And how the mind with the falling leaf
  • 10Falls, till its births are mere abortion?
  • Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
  • How the clogged Sense, coiled up and stiff
  • At feel of Summer's perishing,
  • Dares not pass Winter to reach Spring
  • In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
  • And how the swift heat of the brain
  • Hateth because it is in vain
  • In Autumn at the fall of the leaf,
  • Knowest thou not? and how the chief
  • 20Of joys seems not to have much pain.
  • Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
  • How the soul feels as a dried sheaf
  • Bound up at length for harvesting,
  • And how death seems a comely thing
  • In autumn at the fall of the leaf?
page: [3]
The folio of the Great Cyclographic continues its rounds. It is now with Collinson. Calling on him this evening, and finding that he had no sketch ready & did not mean to make one, I designed an angular saint which we mean to send round under his name, to the mystification and sore disgust, no doubt, of the members in general. I expect we shall end by getting kicked out. The criticisms are becoming more and more scurrilous. Dennis has helped them materially in their downward course by telling Deverell that his last design is a reversion from Retzsch's outline of the same subject.
Collinson has almost finished his poem of the “Child Jesus.” It is a very first rate affair. He has augmented it with two new incidents, by which addition it is now made emblematical of the “Five Sorrowful Mysteries” of the Atonement. He thinks of leaving to morrow for Herne Bay, with the intention of remaining there a few days. I may perhaps accompany him, but have not yet quite decided.
Having exhausted everything, believe me, dear Mamma,
Your affectionate Son,

G. C. Rossetti
Will you tell William that our literary criticisms have not yet commenced? I see no reason why he should not retain “grey meadows.”
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: dgr.ltr.0567.rad.xml