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).
First printed in The
Germ 1, pages -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”.