My Beautiful Lady

Thomas Woolner

General Description

Date: 1849
Rhyme: a5a5b4b4b3
Meter: iambic
Genre: ballad


◦ Fredeman 149-150

Scholarly Commentary


The first number of The Germ opened with two poems by Thomas Woolner (1825-1892), the sculptor-poet and minor PRB member. This is the first of the two. Both show the clear influence of DGR's translations from Dante and the other early Italian poets. The style of Woolner's ballad is striking, at once studied and fresh. The effect is of a contemporary poem that has been thoroughly (and deliberately) infused with a set of cultural and aesthetic attitudes associated with a much earlier historical frame of reference.

Woolner eventually published the poem in his volume titled My Beautiful Lady (1863; 2nd ed. 1864; 3rd ed. 1866).

Printing History

First printed in The Germ 1, pages [1]-4


The poem is illustrated with an etching after Holman Hunt's illustration, which was published at the front of the first number of The Germ, just before the poem. The picture is in two panels. The top panel shows a lady picking flowers near a river as her lover pulls her back, the second shows the lover prostrate with grief on his lady's grave as a procession of nuns passes behind him. It is signed “W. Holman Hunt”.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: woolner001.raw.xml