Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Notebook Pages (Note Book III, Duke Library)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1881
Scribe: DGR

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

page: [i]
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

Writings: XXVII. Note Book III
Image of page [ii] page: [ii]
Manuscript Addition: 38
Editorial Description: Pagination or numeration added by someone in upper right corner, not DGR or WMR
Dante Gabriel


His own M.S.

[W. M. Rossetti]
Image of page [1] page: [1]

Deleted Text
  • though all the rest go by,
  • Ditties & dirges of the unanswering sky.

  • For this can love, & does love, & loves me.
  • (For this can love, & does, & loves but me.)

Deleted Text
  • A test for love. In every kiss sealed fast
  • To feel the first kiss & forebode the last.

As one who falls asleep on a hill, &

waking sees sunset as he thinks in

the sky & forebodes a darkling night

to travel further, but as the light

widens, finds that it is the dawn of

a new day—&

Note: This is a prose sketch for a sonnet that DGR never wrote.
  • And heavenly things in your eyes have place
  • Those breaks of sky in the twilight face.

  • Aye, we'll shake hands, though scarce for love, we two;
  • But I hate hatred worse than I hate you.

  • And love & faith the vehement heart of all.

Deleted Text
  • If to grow old in Heaven is to grow young,
  • (As the Seer saw & said)

Deleted Text
  • Even as the rose-tree's verdure left alone
  • Will flush all ruddy when the rose is gone.
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Note: DGR first drew a line across the page beneath the first verse but he later cancelled the line break, joining what had been two separate scraps of verse into a three line unit.
  • With 'Mid water-daisies & wild waifs of spring,
  • There where the iris rears its gold-crowned sheaf
  • With flowering rush & sceptred arrow-leaf

(To Art.)
I loved thee ere I loved a

woman, Love.

  • Down on his silence the moon gazed
  • Dumb from the unmeasured dome;
  • And as each gulf-scooped wave rang home
  • With hoary crest upraised,
  • Like fire in snow the moonlight blazed
  • Amid the champing foam.

Note: DGR wrote “Michael Scott” in parentheses above this couplet.
Deleted Text
  • It seemed that through the forest boughs in flight
  • The wind swooped onward brandishing the light.

Deleted Text
  • Or like a wisp that laughs upon the wall

Note: See the draft of this epigram in the Ashley Library's Small Note Book 2
  • My world my work my woman all my own,—
  • What face but thine has taught me all that art
  • Can be & still be Nature's counterpart?
  • What form but thine within one bosom's zone
  • Unto my star-beseeching eyes has shown
  • The Zodiac of all beauty?

Deleted Text
  • To God at best, to Chance at worst,
  • Give thanks for good things from thy Soul

  • Sphinx-faced with unabashed augury

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All that he might do rushed through his soul

—passion & wrongdoing and despotic will, as with

wide eye fixed & his proud and scarcely quivering

mouth half hidden in his beard, he acted

it through in his soul & cast it out.

  • a face that like a governing star
  • Gathers and garners from all things that are
  • Their silent penetrative loveliness

  • The glass stands empty of all things it knew

  • O Thou whose name, being alone, aloud
  • I utter oft, & though thou art not there,
  • Toward thine imaged presence kiss the air

La mest maestrìa di Michelangelo

  • I saw the love which is was my life flow past
  • Twixt shadowed reaches like a murmuring stream
  • Added TextI was awake—and lo it was a dream

  • Or give ten years of life's most bitter wane
  • To see the loved one as she was again

  • And of the cup of human agony
  • Enough to fill the sea

  • Even as the morn grows clearer on the sky
  • While the sky darkens & her Venus' star
  • Thrills with a keener radiance from afar

  • Oltretomba qualchecosa?
  • Added Text
  • Chè ne dici? Saremo felici?
  • Terra mai posa e mar rimbomba

  • imperatorial car
  • And purple-dyed paludament of war
(emperor's cloak—paludamentum)

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Note: The first four notebook entries on this page are all canceled by DGR in a single set of cross-through strokes. The last three entries are cancelled in the same way, and all appear to have been done at the same time (as does the cancellation of the eighth entry on the page, from “Ardour and Memory”.
  • The forehead veiled & the veiled throat of Death

Note: This fragment distinctly echoes various poems by Coleridge.
Deleted Text
  • Thou that beyond the real self doth see
  • A self ideal, bid thy heart beware

Deleted Text
  • And plaintive days that haunt the haggard hills
  • With bleak unspoken woe

Note: WMR marks this text in pencil in the left margin “Com s” (i.e., “Commandments”).
Deleted Text
  • To know for certain that we do not know
  • Is the first step in knowledge

  • furtive flickering streams

  • mouth like the lips of a wound

  • Think through this silence how when we are old
  • We two shall think upon this place & day.

Deleted Text
  • the lifted eyes
  • When all the daughters of the daybreak sing.

  • An ant-sting's prickly at first
  • But the pain soon dies away;
  • A gnat-sting's worse the next day;
  • But a wasp 'tis stings the worst.

  • Added Textinexplicable blight
  • And mad revulsion of the tarnished light

Note: The fragment bears an echo of line 4 of “Life the Beloved”, which was written in 1873.
  • His face, in Fortune's favours sunn'd
  • Was radiantly rubicund

Deleted Text
  • the bitter stage of life
  • Where friend & foe are parts alternated

Deleted Text
  • that some last
  • Wild pageant of the accumulated past
  • Which clangs & flashes for a drowning man.

  • With airs new-fledged & valorous lusts of morn.

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Note: The page comprises DGR's transcription of how to use Zaak in repainting. It is transcribed on the recto of a stiff notebook page that is marbled on the verso (and thus represents the final page in one of the typical DGR notebooks).
Transcription Gap: the text of the page (to be transcribed later)
page: [6]
Note: marbled page
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Note: See “Commandments”, lines 36-42.
In early life the affinities of man are upper-

most & draw them together: later

their individualities become tyrannous

& sunder them.

Note: WMR marks this text in the left margin, vertically, “Com s”. See “Commandments”, lines 57-63. The second part of this text was added later by DGR in pencil.
An artist often hates his own best work as

in the same way as an envious soul hates

the great works of others: it is equally

a perpetual self-reproach
Added Text

Keep thy works

equal. If not, thou

shalt come to hate &c.

Note: WMR marks this text in the left margin, vertically, “Commandment s”.
A slander er must ous satirist should indeed bear a deal

of contempt in his nature; ? since he has

to find enough for others over and above

the amount he must secretly allot

to himself.
Added Text

Art thou a slanderous satirist?

Then lay up stores of contempt for beyond all

thou must give to others thou wilt secretly need a

store for thyself.

Note: WMR marks this text in the left margin, vertically, “Comm s”.
Remember As the waifs cast up by the sea change

with the changing season, so the

tides of the soul may throw up their changing

drift on the sand: but the sea beyond

is should be one for ever.

The memmor memory of past pleasure

in pain brings a sting at first but

afterwards, a salve.

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Thackeray is the Valet of Society, to whom

not one of his masters is a hero. He

lives upon small advantages which

he exacts from all alike.

Christina R.—the isolation of a bird,

—remote, minute, & distinct.

. . . . . . . belongs to that extraordinary

class of persons whom no amount

of intellect can prevent from being

Added Text

to that extraordinart sect

whom no amount of intellect

can prevent from being fools

can spare

Dickens was an inspired bagman—

an articulate counter-jumper.

Fuseli was and such painters are the Vultures to Michael

Angelo's Eagle.

Poetry is the apparent image of

unapparent realities.
Added TextRealities most far from thee.

Note: WMR marks this text in the left margin, vertically, “C s”.
  • The Science of Theometry

Deleted Text
  • —and we ye
  • Whom trees that knew our sires should cease to know
  • And still stand silent

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Aura & Aurora.— Descriptions of both.—

Both belonging to one man.—Which did he

cherish, & spurn the other? A question

most fitly answered by the scornful lip of

a devil in Hell.

Moderation is the highest law

of poetry. Experimental as Coleridge

sometimes becomes, his best work

is tuned but never twanged; and

this is his great distinction from

almost all others who venture as far.

It is bad enough when there is a gifted

& powerful opposition to the teachings

of the best minds in any period: but

when the best minds themselves are

on a false tack, who shall stem the


In refined natures of humble birth,

breeding seems to have preceded as in

a former existence, & the peasant

woman looks & is born a queen.
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A friend is a welcome character in

the drama of life: an enemy is

a second character, not unexpected,

& to whom no reasonable objection can

be raised. But when the 2 parts run

into each other, then it is time to

drop the curtain.

Why should an Inventor usurp

the critic's share of function by replying

to them, or refuse to admit (as

they practically assert) that he

was born to do work which they

were born to talk about?

There are certain passionate phases

of the soul when to know a thing true

& to believe it are found two separate


He who knows how much too late it

is forebears to look at his watch

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Manuscript Addition: [11]
Editorial Description: pagination added by someone, probably WMR, in upper right corner
  • Was it thy friend or foe that spread these lies?—
  • Nay, who but infants question in such wise?
  • Twas one of my most intimate enemies.

  • For the garlands of heaven were all laid by
  • And the daylight sucked at the breasts of a lie.

Sonnets—True Woman
To be a body desirable like any wine &c

—how strange! To be a soul purer than

man can reach &c—how strange!

(end of octave & opening of sestette—

“How strange a thing!”)

Woman's desire only awakened by

desire in the object of her soul's affection

—cold to all others.—Her mental

side also influenced by her affections

Note: DGR marks lines 4 and its variant 4v as “Alternate ends”.
  • The wounded hart & the dying swan
  • Were side by side
  • Where the rushes coil with the turn of the tide
  • The hart & the swan
  • The swan & the hart.

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Note: “For ‘True Woman’” [DGR's headnote]
  • the mystic seal fringe of green
  • Flecking the snow [?] deep underneath the snow
  • (“All things most unseen”—to lead upto this)

  • Within those eyes the sedulous yearning throe
  • And all the evil of my heart
  • A thousand times forgotten

  • Ah! if you had been lost for many years
  • And from the dead today were risen again

  • The clouds stooped low & the surf rode high,
  • And where there was a line on the sky
  • The gulls loomed dark between
  • (Cath: Douglas)

  • The sunrise blooms & withers on the hills
  • Like any hillflower

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Manuscript Addition: Died 9/5/80
Editorial Description: WMR's note in the upper left hand corner, giving the date of the death of Flaubert.
Note: WMR dates the epigram 1880 but it is virtually certain DGR wrote it—at least in its first version—in 1873, just after he read Salammbò.
  • Gustave Flaubert, who held/played filled the imperial rôle
  • Of Secretary hired elect to Nero's soul,—
  • And make French flesh to creep, French cock to crow
  • O'er bloodred sadique Carthaginian Salammbò,—
  • Lies here, in bloated body, as in the brain,
  • Like to a Morgue-corpse tumid from the Seine.*
  • What shall be writ above his honoured grave?
  • Vitellius' or loved Nero's dying stave?
  • “Fui Imperator vester!; (shall it flow?)
  • 10 Or “Qualis artifex pereo!”

  • “Ah! lads, I knew your father.” What wide world
  • Of meaning in those words! They mean that he,
  • Is Being gone before, & has known that mystery
  • From living Plato & Socrates fast-furl'd.

Note: CR had earlier written a narrative poem on this subject (from the Indian Mutiny of 1857). The death of the garrison was regarded as a martyrdom by most English people.
Subject for Picture—Round Tower at Jhansi

Note: This is written in pencil. “Murray” is Fairfax Murray. The notation is a late one, probably 1880.
24 Sept. Lent Murray

Lined grey dress with long sleeves lined

with blue

Man's shoulder cloak

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  • I Catherine was a Douglas born,
  • A name through Scotland to all Scots dear;
  • And Kate Barlass they've called me now
  • Through many an aging year.
  • This old arm's feeble now. 'Twas once
  • Most deft 'mong maidens all
  • To rein the steed, to wing the shaft,
  • To smite the palm-play ball.
  • In hall adown the close-linked galliard winding dance
  • 10It has shone most white and fair;
  • It has been the rest for a true lord's head,
  • And many a sweet babe's cradle-bed,
  • And the bar to a King's chambère.
  • Aye, lasses, draw round Kate Barlass,
  • And hark with bated breath
  • How good King James, King Robert's son,
  • Was foully done to death.

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Jaconet—a kind of coarse muslin


(see amaranth)

viavai—a going to-&-fro


Almanda (almond tree)—Chaucer

Larve Ignobility

Bill & Coo (Lovers' names)

The Press-Gang: A Satire

The Verminiad

A Foul Fool— mum as a Muffin

Waterhay—meadow by a river

Inscribed on an urn—Ave Domina Vale Domina

Ship of Prey

Title—Aura & Aurora

Boar Hunt—see Dumas' Pauline

page 53

Tabret & timbrel


One of my most intimate enemies

Whether they be scavengers literary

or literally

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Villemareuil. Monthéry. Éroalde.

Isaure. Aure. Bébelle.

Pippo Pipistrello. Farfalla la Fanciulla

Gregor. Methuen. Gervaise. Maquelaure

Attreling. Hélie de Saint Saen.

Hampreston. Woodhay Elmwoodhay/ Birkwoodhay —real places.

Strath-dearn. Montcheusy.

Monthault. Ninian (man's name)

Glenstral: Ardnagorvan.

Teo Tolzi. Corida. Ronallane.

Pharailde (woman's name)

Straith (a quay or landing place)

Withewind (bindweed) Dropwort (hemlock)

Congener (as a rhyme)

Sairovir (German revolted leader

Merivale V 307)

The Temple of Foro Fortuna

Carapresa—Gigliuzzo Liello (Bocc.)

Alagna —(near Rome) Jean Datout

Malombra (real surname)

Caracosa. Fina Buzzacarina (a real name)

Note: DGR's second query refers to Shakespeare, Sonnet 75. The first is strange, but recalls most closely Peacock's “The Alarmists”, 28-29.
Some tailor's ninth &c Query

query miser's starved in Shakspere sonnet

Note: The title presumably refers to Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom (imaged with the head of an ibis).
The New Ibis— a Satire by Anon & or Ibid.

(Motto) Anon, anon, Sir

  • Oltretomba qualchecosa
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Note: The first two lines are actually truncated stanzas. DGR is indicating that the song should be repeated with two alternate first words, “Oltremonti” and “Oltremare”.
  • Oltremonti. . . . . . . . . . . .
  • Oltremare. . . . . . . . . . . .
  • Oltre mondo tomba qualche cosa?
  • E che ne dici?
  • Saremo felici?
  • Terra mai posa, e mar rimbomba.
Bambino Montagno bandito
  • A Pippo Pipistrello
  • Farfalla la fanciulla:—
  • “O vedi quanto è bello
  • Ridendo in questa culla!
  • E noi l'abbiamo fatto,
  • Noi due insiem d' un tratto,
  • E senza noi fia nulla!”
Image of page [18] page: [18]
Note: The two paragraphs are scripted in parallel columns in the manuscript.

a twelvefold Portrait

autotyped from the

studies of D. G. R.
One portrait in 12

studies autotyped from

the drawings of

D. G. R.

Note: DGR quotes lines 47-50 of Dante's great canzone “Donne ch'avete intelletto d'amore” from the Vita Nuova as a motto for his Perlascura project.
  • Color di perla quai informa, quale
  • Conviene a donna aver non fuor misura:
  • Ella è quanto di ben può far natura:
  • Per esempio di lei beltà si prova.
N.B. A collection in autotype sh d at some

time be made from my studies of

M rs. M. under above title.

The Art of Fellowship
PFA Painter Fellow of Art

SFA Sculptor D o D o

AFA Architect D o D o

M rs Eddy North (a real name in St. John's W d Churchy d.

Image of page [19] page: [19]
Note: DGR's note on his planned 1881 publications is written in pencil diagonally across the page from lower left to upper right. The leaf is one of the stiff end pages from DGR's typical notebooks.
It seems the Xtra Sonnets will (incl House of Life)

will in all amount to 38 40 in new ed.
page: [20]
Note: blank page
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Manuscript Addition: [ Bride's Prelude, ll. cancelled stanza, following l. 710. See your own MS.]
Editorial Description: WMR's note.
  • No ship came near; though far away aloof with held
  • They loomed/passed/veered tackedas still as death,
  • For round our walls the waves sea was dense
  • With reefs, whose rocks sharp circumference
  • Was the grat stronghold's sure defense.
Image of page [22] page: [22]
Manuscript Addition: [ Bride's Prelude, ll 731-735]
Editorial Description: WMR's note.
  • 'Twas then my sire struck down the sword
  • And said with quivering lips With quivering lips & cheeks
  • She that to me this child did give leave
  • Smiled thus, he said, and I forgive:
  • So, for my mother's sake, I live.
  • She from
Image of page [23] page: [23]
Note: blank page
page: [24]
Note: blank page. It is the marbled side of one of DGR's typical notebooks' last stiff pages.
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Lent Solomon bit

of Blue & Silver brocade

(Wareham ) & Purple


N.B. £5 to Ellis
Miss L. Wilson

Stage Door


for favour of Mr. Howell

introduced by A. Glover Esq

Lent Brown Velvet cote hardie

kirtle with ?

and angel's dress. Also green kirtle.

Image of page [26] page: [26]
Note: Picture dimensions
Sight of Tibullus

22 3/4 x 18 3/4

Lent Ned Jones David's

wooden harp

Cox 45 Glasshouse St, Regent

St, Ventilating hat

Lulworth Cover— go

to Wool — S.W. Station


Bell (Oxford St) Opiate Confection

—for diarrhea

Chlorodyne for ditto
Image of page [27] page: [27]
Note: The page is entirely comprised of memoranda for bills and a few appointments.
Image of page [28] page: [28]
Note: The page is entirely comprised of memos for late 1868 and early 1869.
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Note: The memoranda that comprise the top 2/3 of the page is scored through by DGR. The poem DGR's translates at the bottom of the page is intact, the last stanza which is noted with the word "Stet" in the left margin. In addition, a rough sketch of one or more female figures appears in palimpsest.
  • With golden mantle, rings, & necklace fair,
  • It likes her best to wear
  • Only a rose within her golden hair
  • Con Ha manto d'oro, collana ed anelli,
  • Le piace Ma vuole aver con quelli
  • Non altro che una rosa ai suoi capelli.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: nb0003.duke.rad.xml
Copyright: Digital images used with permission of the Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.