Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: The Stream's Secret and Four Sonnets (Princeton/Troxell Proofs, Copy 1)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1870 March
Printer: Strangeways and Walden

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

Image of page [1] page: [1]
Printer's Direction: Print this before The Card Dealer page 154
Editorial Description: DGR's notation on the poem's placement
  • What thing unto mine ear
  • Wouldst thou convey,—what secret thing,
  • O wandering water ever whispering?
  • Surely thy speech shall be of her.
  • Thou water, O thou whispering wanderer,
  • What message dost thou bring?
  • Say, hath not Love leaned low
  • This hour beside thy far well-head,
  • And there through jealous hollowed fingers said
  • 10 The thing that most I long to know,—
  • Murmuring with curls all dabbled in thy flow
  • And washed lips rosy red?
  • He told it to thee there
  • Where thy voice hath a louder tone;
  • But where it welters to this little moan
  • Image of page 2 page: 2
  • His will decrees that I should hear.
  • Now speak: for with the silence is no fear,
  • And I am all alone.
  • Shall Time not still endow
  • 20 One hour with life, and I and she
  • Slake on love's lips the thirst of memory?
  • Say, stream; lest l Love should disavow
  • Thy service, and the bird upon the bough
  • Sing first to tell it me.
  • What whisperest thou? Nay, why
  • Name the dead hours? I mind them well:
  • Their ghosts in many darkened doorways dwell
  • With desolate eyes to know them by.
  • That hour must still be born ere it can die:
  • 30 Of that I'd have thee tell.
  • But hear, before thou speak!
  • Withhold, I pray, the vain behest
  • That while the maze hath still its bower for quest
  • My burning heart should cease to seek.
  • Be sure that Love ordained for souls more meek
  • His roadside dells of rest.
Image of page 3 page: 3
  • Stream, when this silver thread
  • In flood-time is a torrent brown,
  • May any bulwark bind thy foaming crown?
  • 40 Shall not the waters surge and spread
  • And to the crannied boulders of their bed
  • Still shoot the dead leaves down?
  • Let no rebuke find place
  • In speech of thine: or it shall prove
  • That thou dost ill expound the words of Love,
  • Even as thine eddy's rippling race
  • Would blur the perfect image of his face.
  • I will have none thereof.
  • O learn and understand
  • 50 That 'gainst the wrongs himself did wreak
  • Love sought her aid; until her shadowy cheek
  • And eyes beseeching gave command;
  • And compassed in her close compassionate hand
  • My heart must burn and speak.
  • Yea, For then at last we spoke
  • What eyes so long oft had told to eyes
  • While lingering glances only and half-sighs
    Added TextThrough that long-lingering silence whose half-sighs
  • Image of page 4 page: 4
  • As yet Alone the buried secret broke,
  • Which with snatched hands and lips' reverberate stroke
  • 60 Then from the heart did rise.
  • But she is far away
  • Now; nor the hours of night grown hoar
  • Bring yet to me, long gazing from the door,
  • The wind-stirred robe of roseate grey
  • And rose-crown of the hour that leads the day
  • When we shall meet once more.
  • Dark as thy blinded wave
  • When brimming midnight floods the glen,—
  • Bright as the laughter of thy runnels when
  • 70 The dawn brings all the light they crave;
  • Even so these hours to wound and that to save
  • Are sisters in Love's ken.
  • Oh sweet her bending grace
  • Then when I kneel beside her feet;
  • And sweet her eyes' o'erhanging heaven; and sweet
  • The gathering folds of her embrace;
  • And her fall'n hair at last shed round my face
  • When breaths and tears shall meet.
Transcription Gap: pages 5-8 (not in the proof)
Image of page 9 page: 9
  • Stands it not by the door—
  • 80 Love's Hour—till she and I shall meet;
  • With bodiless form and unapparent feet
  • That cast no shadow yet before,
  • Though round its head the dawn begins to pour
  • The breath that makes day sweet?
  • Its eyes invisible
  • Watch till the dial's thin-thrown shade
  • Be born,—yea, till the journeying line be laid
  • Upon the point that wakes the spell,
  • And there in lovelier light than tongue can tell
  • 90 Its presence stand array'd.
  • Its soul remembers yet
  • Those sunlit hours that passed it by;
  • And still it hears the night's disconsolate cry,
  • And feels the branches wringing wet
  • Cast on its brow, that may not once forget,
  • Dumb tears from the blind sky.
  • But oh! when now her foot
  • Draws near, for whose sake night and day
  • Were but one long in weary longing sighed away,—
  • Image of page 10 page: 10
  • 100 The Hour of Love, no longer mute,
  • Shall sing beside the door, and Love's own lute
  • Thrill to the rapturous passionate lay.
  • Thou know'st, for Love has told
  • Within thine ear, O stream, how soon
  • That song shall lift its sweet appointed tune.
  • O tell me, for my lips are cold,
  • And in my veins the blood is waxing old
  • Even while I beg the boon.
  • So, in that hour of sighs
  • 110 Assuaged, shall we beside this stone
  • Yield thanks for grace; while in thy mirror shown
  • The twofold image softly lies,
  • Until we kiss, and each in other's eyes
  • Is imaged all alone.
  • Still silent? Can no art
  • Of Love's then move thy pity? Nay,
  • To thee let nothing come that owns his sway:
  • Let happy lovers have no part
  • With thee; nor even so sad and poor a heart
  • 120 As thou hast spurned to-day.
Image of page 11 page: 11
  • To-day? Lo! night is here.
  • The glen grows heavy with some veil
  • Risen from the earth or fallen to make earth pale : ;
  • All things stand And all stands hushed to eye and ear,
  • Until the night-wind shake the shade like fear
  • And every covert quail.
  • Ah! by another wave
  • On other airs the hour must come
  • Which to thy heart, my love, shall call me home.
  • 130 Between the lips of the low cave
  • Against that night the lapping waters lave,
  • And the dark lips are dumb.
  • But there Love's self doth stand,
  • And with Life's weary wings far-flown,
  • And with Death's eyes that make the water moan,
  • Gathers the water in his hand:
  • And they that drink know nought of sky or land
  • But only love alone.
  • O soul-sequestered face
  • 140 Far off,—O were that night but now!
  • So even beside that stream even I and thou
  • Image of page 12 page: 12
  • Through thirsting lips should draw Love's grace,
  • And in the zone of that supreme embrace
  • Bind aching breast and brow.
  • O water whispering
  • Still through the dark into mine ears,—
  • As with mine eyes, is it not now with hers?—
  • Mine eyes that add to thy cold spring,
  • Wan water, wandering water weltering,
  • 150 This hidden tide of tears.
Image of page 13 page: 13
Printer's Direction: To come before the Birth-Bond page 186
Editorial Description: DGR's notation on the poem's placement
  • Warmed by her hand and shadowed by her hair
  • As close she leaned and poured her heart through thee,
  • Whereof the articulate throbs accompany
  • The smooth black stream that makes thy whiteness fair,—
  • Sweet fluttering sheet, even of her breath aware,—
  • Oh let thy silent song disclose to me
  • That soul wherewith her lips and eyes agree
  • Like married music in Love's answering air.
  • Fain had I watched her when, at some fond thought,
  • 10 Her bosom to the writing closelier press'd,
  • And her breast's secrets peered into her breast;
  • When, through eyes raised an instant, her soul sought
  • My soul, and from the sudden confluence caught
  • The words that made her love the loveliest.
Image of page [14] page: [14]
Printer's Direction: To come before The Choice page 208
Editorial Description: DGR's notation on the poem's placement
  • So now the changed year's turning wheel returns:
  • And as a girl sails balanced in the wind,
  • And now before and now again behind
  • Stoops as it swoops, with cheek that laughs and burns,—
  • So Spring comes merry towards me now, but earns
  • No answering smile from me, whose life is twin'd
  • With the dead boughs that winter still must bind,
  • And whom to-day the Spring no more concerns.
  • Behold, this crocus is a withering flame;
  • 10 This snowdrop, snow; this apple-blossom's part
  • To breed the fruit that breeds the serpent's art.
  • Nay, for these Spring-flowers, turn thy face from them,
  • Nor gaze till on the year's last lily-stem
  • The white cup shrivels round the golden heart.
Image of page 15 page: 15
Printer's Direction: To come before Mary's Girlhood page 244
Editorial Description: DGR's notation on the poem's placement


  • Dusk-haired and gold-robed o'er the golden wine
  • She stoops, wherein, distilled of death and shame,
  • Sink the black drops; while, lit with fragrant flame,
  • Round her spread board the golden sunflowers shine.
  • Doth Helios here with Hecatè combine
  • (O Circe, thou their votaress!) to proclaim
  • For these thy guests all rapture in Love's name,
  • Till pitiless Night give Day the countersign?
  • Lords of their hour, they come. And by her knee
  • 10 Those cowering beasts, their equals heretofore,
  • Wait; who with them in new equality
  • To-night shall echo back the unchanging roar
  • Which sounds for ever from the tide-strown shore
  • Where the dishevelled seaweed hates the sea.
Image of page 16 page: 16
Printer's Direction: To come last in the book
Editorial Description: DGR's notation on the poem's placement

( Written during Music.)
  • Is it the moved air or the moving sound
  • That is Life's self and draws my life from me,
  • And by instinct ineffable decree
  • Holds my breath quailing on the bitter bound?
  • Nay, is it Life or Death, thus thunder-crown'd,
  • That 'mid the tide of all emergency
  • Now notes my separate wave, and to what sea
  • Its difficult eddies labour in the ground?
  • Oh! what is this that knows the road I came,
  • 10The flame turned cloud, the cloud returned to flame,
  • The lifted shifted steeps and all the way?—
  • That draws round me at last this wind-warm space,
  • And in regenerate rapture turns my face
  • Upon the devious coverts of dismay?
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: prin23308a.rad.xml
Copyright: Used with permission of Princeton University. From the Princeton University Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. All rights reserved. Redistribution or republication in any medium requires express written consent from Princeton University Library. Permissions inquiries should be addressed to Associate University Librarian, Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.