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Sonnet XVI. A Day of Love.

Sonnet XVI. A Day of Love.

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Text and Notes



71



Manuscript:

Fitzwilliam HL fol. 20a

Revisions/Variants:

1. Fitz./B&S

3 /Even now

for once

4 /while

8 /sweet

favorable/favourable



[DGR’s note below text: ‘Print this

after The Birth Bond page 132.’ After

revisions, Fitz. agrees with Poems.]

2. The spelling change in line 8 to

‘favourable’ was made between the

seventh ed. of Poems and the DAM

proofs of Sig. N, dated 25 Apr for

B&S.



SONNET XVII.

BEAUTY’S PAGEANT.



What dawn-pulse at the heart of heaven, or last

Incarnate flower of culminating day, –

What marshalled marvels on the skirts of May,

Or song full-quired, sweet June’s encomiast;

What glory of change by nature’s hand amass’d

Can vie with all those moods of varying grace

Which o’er one loveliest woman’s form and face

Within this hour, within this room, have pass’d?

Love’s very vesture and elect disguise

Was each fine movement, – wonder new-begot

Of lily or swan or swan-stemmed galiot;

Joy to his sight who now the sadlier sighs,

Parted again; and sorrow yet for eyes

Unborn, that read these words and saw her not.



4



8



12



Date of Publication: 1881, B&S

Date of Composition: 1871, Works

Manuscripts:

(1) Bodleian Eng. poet. d. 43 fol. 10 (2) Fitzwilliam HL fol. 21a (3) Princeton HL

fol. 16a (4) Ros. Proofs Sig. N, 3 May, p. 179, DAM proofs Sig. N, 28 Apr, p. 179



72



The House of Life



Revisions/Variants:

2. WMR’s eds

5 nature WMR in CW and Works

prints ‘Nature’: no authority

supports this capitalization.



1. MSS/B&S

title

/

Beauty’s Pageant Ros.

5 amassed/amass’d Bod.

8 passed/pass’d Bod.



SONNET XVIII.

GENIUS IN BEAUTY.



Beauty like hers is genius. Not the call

Of Homer’s or of Dante’s heart sublime, –

Not Michael’s hand furrowing the zones of time, –

Is more with compassed mysteries musical;

Nay, not in Spring’s or Summer’s sweet footfall

More gathered gifts exuberant Life bequeathes

Than doth this sovereign face, whose love-spell breathes

Even from its shadowed contour on the wall.

As many men are poets in their youth,

But for one sweet-strung soul the wires prolong

Even through all change the indomitable song;

So in likewise the envenomed years, whose tooth

Rends shallower grace with ruin void of ruth,

Upon this beauty’s power shall wreak no wrong.



4



8



12



Date of Publication: 1881, B&S

Date of Composition: 1871, Works

Manuscripts:

(1) Fitzwilliam HL fol. 22a (2) Bodleian Eng. poet. d. 43 fol. 9 (3) Princeton

HL fol. 17a (4) DAM proofs Sig. N {n.d.}, set 5a, p. 180

Revisions/Variants:

1. All MSS/B&S

2 /heart Prin.

6 /Life Fitz.

13 /ruin

void of ruth Fitz.



ruin’s worst unruth/ruin void

of ruth Bod.

14
<>highest>/

Upon this beauty’s Fitz.



Text and Notes

2. Bancroft press-proof 5a has the

following notes, evidently in the

hand of WMR:

6 [The final e of ‘bequeathes’ is

underlined, with the comment]

‘This e is I think unusual.’

12 ‘“likewise” like wise (two

words) wd. I think be decidedly

preferable.’

The changes suggested in 2. were

ignored by DGR, but WMR adopted

‘bequeaths’ in CW and Works and



73



‘like wise’ in Works; Baum, who

used Works as copy-text for PFB 2),

follows WMR’s emendation in line

6 but not in line 12. These readings

have no authority, having been

implicitly rejected by the poet when

he considered the results of WMR’s

copy-editing.

3. In the first ed. of B&S the final

period at the end of line 14 dropped

out; it was restored in the fourth ed.

of 1882.



SONNET XIX.

SILENT NOON.



Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, –

The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:

Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms

‘Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.

All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,

Are golden kingcup fields with silver edge

Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.

‘Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly

Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky: –

So this wing’d hour is dropt to us from above.

Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,

This close-companioned inarticulate hour

When twofold silence was the song of love.



4



8



12



Date of Publication: 1881, B&S

Date of Composition: 1871, Works

MS Sources:

(1) Ashley Notebooks 1410 {BL} (2) Duke Note Book II

This sonnet was manufactured from the following entries made during

1870–1 in two Ashley Notebooks and on the Duke MS (see PFB 1): 36–37):



74



The House of Life



Notebook No. 1, p. 17:

‘In the air the dragonfly

Hangs like a blue thread

Loosened from the sky’ [lines 9–10]

Notebook No. 1, p. 22:

‘Think through the silence how

when we are old;

We two shall think upon this place

and day:

[lines 12–14]

Notebook No. 2, p. 4:

‘Her hands lay open in the long

deep grass

And the sweet points looked

through like rosy flowers’

[lines 1–2]

‘Some close-companioned

inarticulate hour



When twofold silence was the song

of love’

[lines 13–14]

‘The golden kingcup fields with

silver edge

Where the cow-parsley skirts the

hawthorn hedge’

[lines 6–7]

Notebook No. 2, p. 15:

‘Deep in the sun-searched grass the

dragon-fly

Hangs like a blue flake loosened

from the sky’

[lines 9–10]

Duke Note Book II (‘Fragments’ leaf)

‘Some close companioned

inarticulate hours

When two-fold silence was the song

of love’

[lines 13–14]



Letter:

DGR to WBS 25 Aug [71] (WEF 71.129):

‘I hardly ever do produce a sonnet except on some basis of special

momentary emotion; but I think there is another class admissible also –

and that is the only other I practice, viz. the class depending on a line or

two clearly given you, you know not whence, & calling up a sequence

of ideas. This also is a just raison d’etre for a sonnet, & such are all mine

when they do not in some sense belong to the “occasional” class.’

Manuscripts:

(1) (2) Rosenbach (3) (4) Fitzwilliam HL fols 23a and 24a (5) Princeton HL fol.

18a (6) DAM proofs, Sig. N, p. 181, 28 Apr, 6 May

Revisions/Variants:

1. Ros.(1), the earliest draft, reads:

Silence

Your hands lie open in the long

deep grass

And the sweet points look through

like rosy blooms:

The waving meadow

pasture gleams and glooms

Neath billowing skies that scatter

and amass.

Around us

twain, far as the eye can pass,



Are golden kingcup fields with

silver edge

Where the cow-parsley skirts the

hawthorn hedge.

‘Tis visible silence, as of the

hourglass.

Think through this silence how

when we are old

We two shall think upon this place

and day,

The beauty around us, and the

beauty above,



Text and Notes





And clasp unto our hearts, when

tempests lour,

This close-companioned inarticulate

hour

When twofold silence was the song

of love.

2. Ros.(1)/Ros.(2)

[at the top of Ros.(2) DGR has

written ‘XIX’]

1 /low

3 meadow pasture/meadowpasture

4 /Neath

amass./amass:

5 Around/All round

6 kingcup fields/kingcup-fields

7 hawthorn hedge/hawthornhedge

[9–11, revised but not replaced, are

cancelled by a diagonal line:]

9 /when old

and grey

11 /The

above,/above;

12 And clasp unto our hearts, when/

Still clasping to our hearts,

though

3. Ros.(2)/Fitz.(1)

title

Silence/The Silent Hour

1 low/lush

3 >waving

meadow-pasture >/

Your eyes smile peace. The

pasture

5 /Around

our nest

8 /like the

still hour-glass

9–12

Think through this silence how,

when old and grey,



75



We two shall think upon this

place and day,

The beauty around us and the

beauty above;

Still clasping to our hearts,

though tempests lour,/

9–12

Deep in the sun-searched

growths the dragon-fly

Hangs like a blue thread

loosened from the sky: –


us from above;>/So this winged

hour is dropt to us from above,

Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for

deathless dower,

4. Fitz.(1)/Fitz.(2)

title

/Silent Noon

1 lush grass/fresh grass,–

2 /The

finger-points

4 /’Neath

5 Around our nest/All round our

nest

8 /still

as the hour-glass

11 winged/wing’d

5. Prin. is a fair copy of Fitz.(2).

DGR tidied up the punctuation on

the DAM proofs as follows:

4 amass. Sig. N, p. 181,

copy 1a, 28 Apr

11 above. Sig. N, p. 181,

copy 4a, 6 May

The DAM press-proof revisions in

5. were suggested by WMR (Box 46

files 5.23, 5.63).

6. Musical settings: (1) Love-Lily and

Other Songs by D. G. Rossetti set to

music by Mr. Edward Dannreuther

{London: Novello, Ewer & Co.,

1884}. (2) Sir Ralph Vaughan



76



The House of Life



Williams, Sonnets from The House of

Life by D. G. Rossetti {1904: recorded

London: Polydor, 1974}. (3) George



F. Boyle, Silent Noon {New York:

Galaxy Music Corp., 1939}.



7. Silent Noon is one of the ‘Kelmscott love sonnets,’ written while DGR was

living with JM in the idyllic setting of the upper Thames Valley near

Lechlade; it has also been frequently cited as an example of DGR’s ability,

when he was willing, to ‘follow Nature’ according to the PR injunction. But

the above detailing of its composition shows that while it may have begun as

an ‘occasional’ poem describing an outing by the river, it is more accurately

described as belonging to the other class of sonnet DGR identified in the

above letter to WBS. The first draft, Silence, is a sorry effort, but its

transformation through many MS and proof stages into one of DGR’s most

notable sonnets was a product of what he called ‘fundamental brainwork’

(WEF 81.104). In the Fitzwilliam MSS the banal lines 9–12 of Silence are

cancelled in favour of the dragon-fly simile extracted from his notebooks.

Hackneyed diction and fleshly words such as ‘panting’ get dropped for

microcosm-macrocosm imagery in which the body of the beloved is

metaphorically identified with Nature, imagery continued in the similes of

the next sonnet.



SONNET XX.

GRACIOUS MOONLIGHT.



Even as the moon grows queenlier in mid-space

When the sky darkens, and her cloud-rapt car

Thrills with intenser radiance from afar, –

So lambent, lady, beams thy sovereign grace

When the drear soul desires thee. Of that face

What shall be said, – which, like a governing star,

Gathers and garners from all things that are

Their silent penetrative loveliness?

O’er the water-daisies and wild waifs of Spring,

There where the iris rears its gold-crowned sheaf

With flowering rush and sceptred arrow-leaf,

So have I marked Queen Dian, in bright ring

Of cloud above and wave below, take wing

And chase night’s gloom, as thou the spirit’s grief.

Date of Publication: 1881, B&S

Date of Composition: 1871, Works



4



8



12



Text and Notes



77



MS Sources:

(1) Ashley Notebooks 1410 {BL} (2) Duke Note Book III {see PFB 1): 72, 76}

Notebook No. 2, p. 38:

Notebook No. 1, p. 17:

‘With water daisies & wild waifs of

‘O thou of Love’s all-penetrative

Spring

spell

There, where the iris rears

Amulet, talisman and oracle’

its gold-crowned sheaf

[also suggests Sonnet 27, Heart’s

With flowering rush & sceptred

Compass]

p. 37:

arrow-leaf’

[lines 9–11]

‘A face that like a governing star

gathers & garners from all things

2. Duke Note Book III:

that are

‘Mid water-daisies and

Their silent penetrative loveliness.’

wild waif of spring’

[line 9]

[lines 5–8]

‘Their silent penetrative loveliness’

[line 8]

Manuscripts:

(1) Bodleian Eng. poet. d. 44 fol. 6 (2) Fitzwilliam HL fol. 25a (3) Princeton

HL fol. 19a (4) DAM Proofs, Sig. N, p. 182, 28 Apr, press-proofs {n.d.}

(5) Ros. Proofs, Sig. N, p. 182, 3 May

Revisions/Variants

1. All MSS/B&S

1 /moon DAM Box 46 file

5.23, Ros. Proofs

2 cloud-rapt [WMR says ‘I suppose

rapt (not wrapt) is really meant



here.’ DGR made no change.]

DAM Box 46 file 5.63

6 said, which/said, – which Bod.

star/star, Bod.

8 /loveliness?

DAM Box 46 file 5.23



78



The House of Life



SONNET XXI.

LOVE-SWEETNESS.



Sweet dimness of her loosened hair’s downfall

About thy face; her sweet hands round thy head

In gracious fostering union garlanded;

Her tremulous smiles; her glances’ sweet recall

Of love; her murmuring sighs memorial;

Her mouth’s culled sweetness by thy kisses shed

On cheeks and neck and eyelids, and so led

Back to her mouth which answers there for all: –

What sweeter than these things, except the thing

In lacking which all these would lose their sweet: –

The confident heart’s still fervour: the swift beat

And soft subsidence of the spirit’s wing,

Then when it feels, in cloud-girt wayfaring,

The breath of kindred plumes against its feet?



4



8



12



Date of Publication: 1870, Poems

Date of Composition: 1870, Poems, Proof State 16

Letters:

(1) DGR to F.S. Ellis 26 Mar 70 (WEF 70.72):

‘You will be glad to hear that I have just wound up my book with 2 more

sonnets to the House of Life (making 50 now) and shall add no more. I am

sending all to the printers but must have one revise of the last sheets before

they work them off.’ DGR here refers to Proof State 16 of Poems, two page

proofs containing this sonnet as XIII and He and I (98) as XLVII. As they did

with Proof State 15, the pamphlet forgers Wise and Forman passed off sewn

and bound versions of this Proof State as a rare ‘Trial Book’ called Two

Sonnets, privately printed for circulation to a small number of friends (see

notes to Sonnet 11, The Love-Letter). Consequently, these page proofs have

been catalogued as a printed brochure, both in Huntington (where they are

called a ‘bifolium’) and in the BL (Ashley). DGR sent out multiple copies

corrected in his hand to reviewers so that they would have the complete

book in its latest form, but some of these proofs were acquired by Wise and

Forman (Lewis 129–31; 188).



Text and Notes



79



Manuscripts:

There are none as such, the MS version on fol. 26a of the Fitzwilliam HL

being a fair copy by C. F. Murray, but there are notes and revisions on

proofsheets and in eds:

(1) Huntington HM 93736 (2) BL, Ashley 1402 (3) Proof State 16 {Princeton:

2 copies} (4) B&S Proofs Sig. N, 3, 6 May and press-proofs.

Revisions/Variants:

1. Revised proofsheets/Poems

MS headnotes:

‘House of Life’ Hun.

‘Comes in H of L after “A Day of

Love”‘ Ash.

10 /sweet:– Hun., Ash.

11
confluent>/confident heart’s

still Hun., Ash.

14 /feet? Hun., Ash.

2. Prin.{a} is an unnumbered page

proof containing DGR’s MS revisions

to lines 10 and 14; Prin.{b} is a revise

of {a} with the pagination (201) and

layout of the first ed., containing

DGR’s MS revision to line 11. This

revision eliminates repetition:

‘confluence’ appears in line 13 of the

1870 Sonnet X, just added in Proof

State 15, The Love Letter.

3. In the seventh (Tauchnitz) ed.,

DGR made a punctuation change

in line 11: fervour;/fervour:

4. In the B&S proofs of 3 May, LoveSweetness was Sonnet 22 on p. 184,

between The Dark Glass on p. 183

and Love’s Baubles on p. 185; in the

proof of 6 May, Heart’s Haven, which

had been Sonnet 34, was interchanged with The Dark Glass; then

in the press-proof (n.d.), the order

was finally changed to that of the

first ed., in which Love-Sweetness



appears on p. 183 following

Gracious Moonlight and preceding

Heart’s Haven. On the DAM proof

of Sig. N, 28 Apr, p. 184, copy 1{a},

the tentative title ‘Heart & Spirit’ is

written in pencil beside the title.

This rearrangement and alternative

title suggest many possibilities –

that DGR was trying to avoid

repeating ‘heart’ or ‘love’ in adjacent

titles, that he wanted two moonlight

sonnets closer together, or that the

relative thematic darkness of The

Dark Glass required it to be placed

later in the sequence.

5. A facsimile of Ash. 1402

appears facing p. 126 in ALC.

6. DGR quoted this sonnet in full

in The Stealthy School of Criticism,

contrasting it with Nuptial Sleep:

‘Any reader may bring any artistic

charge he pleases against the above

sonnet; but one charge it would be

impossible to maintain against the

writer of the series in which it

occurs, and that is, the wish on his

part to assert that the body is

greater than the soul. For here all

the passionate and just delights of

the body are declared – somewhat

figuratively, it is true, but

unmistakably – to be as naught if

not ennobled by the concurrence of

the soul at all times’ (Works 618).



80



The House of Life



SONNET XXII.

HEART’S HAVEN.



Sometimes she is a child within mine arms,

Cowering beneath dark wings that love must chase, –

With still tears showering and averted face,

Inexplicably filled with faint alarms:

And oft from mine own spirit’s hurtling harms

I crave the refuge of her deep embrace, –

Against all ills the fortified strong place

And sweet reserve of sovereign counter-charms.



4



8



And Love, our light at night and shade at noon,

Lulls us to rest with songs, and turns away

All shafts of shelterless tumultuous day.

Like the moon’s growth, his face gleams through his tune; 12

And as soft waters warble to the moon,

Our answering spirits chime one roundelay.



Date of Publication: 1881, B&S

Date of Composition: 1871, WEF 71.123

Letters:

(1) DGR to WBS 13 Aug 71 (WEF 71.123; AN 2: 142–45, quoted above p. 63):

with this letter DGR included MSS of four HL sonnets including this one.

(2) DGR to WBS 25 Aug 71 (WEF 71.129): responding to Scott’s objection to

line 11, DGR wrote:

‘What particular fault can be found in the line “All shafts of shelterless,

tumultuous day” I endeavour to trace but fail entirely’.

Manuscripts:

(1) DAM Box 22 {see PFB 3): 52–53} (2) Bodleian Eng. poet. d. 43 fol. 17

(3) Fitzwilliam HL fol. 27a (4) Princeton HL fol. 20a (5) Printed MS in AN 2:

146, repr. DW 1150 (6) DAM Proofs Sigs. N & O, 3, 6 May (7) Ros. Proofs

Sigs. N & O, 3, 6 May



Text and Notes



81



Revisions/Variants:

1. DAM seems to be the earliest

draft, showing revisions as follows:

2
wing>

Cowering beneath dark wings

9–11


shade at noon,

<
us deep away>>

<
screens our root away>>

From pitiless tumultuous lights

of day:>

9–12

And Love, our light at night and

shade at noon,

Lulls us to rest with songs, and

screens away

All shafts of shelterless

tumultuous day:


grows his gradual tune;>

Like the moon’s growth, his face

gleams through his tune;

13 soft



8 countercharms/counter-charms

[B&S version appears in AN and

all proof states]

10 me/us Bod.

/turns Fitz.

11 shelterless, tumultuous/

shelterless tumultuous AN

14 /spirits Fitz.



2. All MSS/B&S

2 /chase, – DAM and

Ros. proofs Sig. O, p. 196, 6 May

7 ill/ills changed in Prin.



4. Musical setting: Sir Ralph

Vaughan Williams, Sonnets From

The House of Life by D. G. Rossetti,

1904; recorded Polydor, 1974.



3. MS Headnotes and repositioning:

on Prin. and DAM and Ros. proofs

Sig. O, p. 196, 3 May this was

Sonnet 34, between Venus Victrix

and The Love-Lamp (later Soul-Light).

DGR’s note on Ros. reads,

‘Interchange this sonnet with sonnet

XXI sheet N page 183’ [The Dark

Glass]. It appears as Sonnet 21 in

Sig. N, p. 183, 6 May between

Gracious Moonlight and LoveSweetness; DGR’s note on DAM

reads, ‘Interchange this with the

following sonnet.’ In Sig. N pressproofs (n.d.) it appeared where it

stands in B&S. See note 3. on LoveSweetness.



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