Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription
Document Title: The New Path, Volume 1
Author: Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art
Date of publication: 1863 May - 1864 April
Publisher: Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art
Printer: Home Printing Office, 29 E 29th St
Issue: Vol 1
full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.
Transcription Gap: pages 1-88 (not by DGR)
Transcription Gap: pages 89-102 (not by DGR)
Note: All pages containing The Blessed Damozel
are formatted in two columns.
THERE are several poems by D. G.
Rossetti, the head of the English Pre-Raphaelites, very much loved by those
who know them, but very little known in this country, although three of them
were printed some years ago in
. In compliance
with numerous requests, we reprint, from the
one of the finest.
D. G. Rossetti.
The text of the poem is slightly modified from
was copy text for this printing. Most notable is the altered spelling of the
- The Blessed Damosel leaned out
- From the gold bar of heaven;
- Her eyes knew more of rest and shade
- Than waters stilled at even,
- She held three lilies in her hand,
- And the stars in her hair were seven.
- Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
- No wrought flowers did adorn,
- But a white rose of Mary's gift,
10 For service meetly worn;
- And the hair lying down her back
- Was yellow, like ripe corn.
- Her seemed she scarce had been a day
- One of God's choristers,
- The wonder was not yet quite gone
- From that still look of hers,
- Albeit to them she left the day
- Had counted as ten years.
- (To one it is ten years of years.
20 . . . . Yet now, and in this place,
- Surely she leaned o'er me,—her hair
- Fell all about my face. . . . .
- Nothing,—the autumn fall of leaves.
- The whole year sets apace.)
- It was the rampart of God's house
- That she was standing on,
- By God built over the sheer depth
- The which is space begun,
- So high that looking downward thence
30 She scarce could see the sun.
- It lies in heaven, across the flood
- Of Æther, like a bridge;
- Beneath, the tides of day and night
- With flame and blackness ridge
- The void, as low as where the earth
- Spins, like a fretful midge.
- She scarcely heard her sweet new friends
- Playing at holy games,
- Softly they spoke among themselves
40 Their virginal, chaste names,
- And the souls, mounting up to God,
- Went by her like thin flames.
- And still she bowed above the vast
- Waste sea of worlds that swarm,
- Until her bosom must have made
- The bar she leaned on warm,
- And the lilies lay as if asleep
- Along her bended arm.
- From the fixed place of heaven, she saw
50 Time, like a pulse, shake fierce
- Through all the worlds, her gaze still strove
- Within the gulf to pierce
- Its path, and now she spoke, as when
- The stars sung in their spheres.
- “I wish that he would come to me!
- For he will come,” she said.
- “Have I not prayed in heaven? on earth
- Lord! Lord! has he not prayed?
- Are not two prayers a perfect strength?
- And shall I feel afraid?
- “When 'round his head the aureole clings
- And he is clothed in white,
- I'll take his hand and go with him
70 To the deep wells of light,
- And we will step down as to a stream,
- And bathe there, in God's sight.
- “We two will stand beside that shrine
- Occult, withheld, untrod,
- Whose lamps are stirred continually
- By prayers sent up to God,
- And see our old prayers, granted, melt,
- Each like a little cloud.
- “We two will lie in the shadow of
80 The living, mystic tree
- Within whose secret growth the dove
- Is sometimes felt to be,
- While every leaf that his plumes touch
- Saith his name audibly.
- “And I myself will teach to him,
- I myself, lying so,
- The songs I sing here, which his voice
- Shall pause in, hushed and slow,
- And find new knowledge in each pause
90 Or some new thing to know.”
- (Ah, sweet! just now, in that bird's song,
- Strove not her accents there
- Fain to be hearkened? When those bells
- Possessed the midday air,
- Was she not stepping to my side
- Down all the trembling stair?)
- “We two,” she said “will seek the grove
- Where the lady Mary is
- With her five handmaidens, whose names
100 Are five sweet symphonies,—
- Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
- Margaret and Rosalys.
- “Circlewise sit they, with bound locks
- And foreheads garlanded,
- Into the fine cloth white like flame
- Weaving the golden thread,
- To fashion the birth robes for them
- Who are just born, being dead.
- “He shall fear, haply, and be dumb,
110 Then I will lay my cheek
- To his, and tell about our love,
- Not once abashed or weak,
- And the dear Mother shall approve
- My pride, and let me speak.
- “Herself shall bring us, hand in hand,
- To Him, 'round whom all souls
- Kneel, the unnumbered ransomed heads
- Bowed with their aureoles;
- And angels meeting us, shall sing
120 To their citherns and citoles.
- “There will I ask of Christ the Lord
- Thus much for him and me,—
- Only to live, as once on earth,
- At peace, only to be,
- As then awhile, forever now
- Together, I and he.”
- She gazed, and listened, and then said,
- Less sad of speech than mild,
- “All this is when he comes,” she ceased,
130 The light thrilled past her, filled
- With angels in strong level lapse,—
- Her eyes prayed, and she smiled.
- (I saw her smile) but soon their flight
- Was vague in distant spheres,
- And then she laid her arms along
- The golden barriers,
- And bowed her head upon her hands,
- And wept; (I heard her tears.)
Transcription Gap: remainder of page (not by DGR)
Transcription Gap: pages 105-163 (not by DGR)
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Copyright: Digital images courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections.