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Sonnet LXXX. From Dawn to Noon.

Sonnet LXXX. From Dawn to Noon.

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208



The House of Life



Manuscripts:

(1) PML M.A. No.381 fols 10, 11 (2) Fitzwilliam HL fol. 109a (3) Poems, Proof

States 3 & 6 {Princeton} (4) Printed MS in WA/GBH pp. 38 & 45; DW 177 &

180; WEF 54.55 & 57

Revisions/Variants:

1. All MSS/B&S

title: no title on PML

2 each; and all in all, deceit;/ PML



each, through Love’s and

Death’s deceit;/ Fitz.

Each hating each, through

Love’s and Death’s deceit;

3 either,/either PML

straight/ PML strait

Fitz. strait/stark FR marriage

sheet/ marriage-sheet PML

4 wedding-bell:/wedding-bell;

Fitz.

5 But o’er her grave,/Yet o’er her

grave PML

6 heat,/heat; WEF

7 friends,/friends PML

8 which/that PML

tell:/tell: – WA/GBH, DW

9 that/which PML

10 long;/long, PML

11 faces, perish’d/faces perished

PML

12–14

[see Letter (2) above]

12 So from that soul, in mindful

brotherhood,



13 (When silence may not be)

sometimes they throng

14 Through high-streets and at

many dusty inns./ PML

12
brotherhood,>

So through that soul, in restless

brotherhood,

13
wind among>

They roam together now, and

wind among

14 Its bye-streets, knocking at the

dusty inns./ Fitz.

12 So through that soul, in restless

brotherhood,

13 They roam together now, and

wind among

14 Its bye-streets, knocking at the

dusty inns.

2. Revisions in proof:

3 stark Proof State 6, Prin.

13 When silence may not be, they

wind among [alternate reading

below text, Proof State 6, Prin.]

3. Instructions on proofs:

<‘Before this print MS Deadly

Sweetness’> Proof State 3, Prin.



Text and Notes



209



SONNETS XCII., XCIII.

THE SUN’S SHAME.

I.



Beholding youth and hope in mockery caught

From life; and mocking pulses that remain

When the soul’s death of bodily death is fain;

Honour unknown, and honour known unsought;

And penury’s sedulous self-torturing thought

On gold, whose master therewith buys his bane;

And longed-for woman longing all in vain

For lonely man with love’s desire distraught;

And wealth, and strength, and power, and pleasantness,

Given unto bodies of whose souls men say,

None poor and weak, slavish and foul, as they: –

Beholding these things, I behold no less

The blushing morn and blushing eve confess

The shame that loads the intolerable day.



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Date of Publication: 1870, Poems

Date of Composition: 1869, Poems (Proof State 2)

Manuscripts:

(1) (2) Fitzwilliam HL fols 88b, 110a (3) Beinecke Tauchnitz (4) DAM Proofs

Sig. R, p. 255, 5 May

Revisions/Variants:

1. All MSS/B&S

title

The Sun’s Shame/The Sun’s Shame.

I. all MSS, eds of Poems

4
found unsought;>

Honour unknown, and honour

known unsought;/

Honour unknown, and honour

known unsought; Fitz.(1)

5 penury’s

sedulous/ penury’s sedulous

Fitz.(1)



8 distraught;/

distraught; Fitz.(1)

9
power, and pleasantness,>

And wealth, and strength, and

power, and pleasantness,/ And

wealth, and strength, and

power, and pleasantness,

Fitz.(1)

12–14

12
confess



210



The House of Life

beholdst’ but he did not adopt this

change in 1881.



13 At blushing morn and blushing

eve the stress

14 Of shame that loads the

intolerable day.>/

12 Beholding these things, I

behold no less

13 The blushing morn and

blushing eve confess

14 The shame that loads the

intolerable day. Fitz.(1)



3. On the DAM Proofs of Sig. R,

p. 255, 5 May, DGR changed

‘Sonnet XCIII’ to ‘Sonnet XCII’

which it becomes in the proof of

9 May

4. There are echoes here of

Shakespeare’s Sonnet LXVI.



2. In Tauchnitz DGR revised line 12,

replacing ‘I behold’ with ‘thou



II.



As some true chief of men, bowed down with stress

Of life’s disastrous eld, on blossoming youth

May gaze, and murmur with self-pity and ruth, –

“Might I thy fruitless treasure but possess,

Such blessing of mine all coming years should bless;” –

Then sends one sigh forth to the unknown goal,

And bitterly feels breathe against his soul

The hour swift-winged of nearer nothingness: –

Even so the World’s grey Soul to the green World

Perchance one hour must cry: “Woe’s me, for whom

Inveteracy of ill portends the doom, –

Whose heart’s old fire in shadow of shame is furl’d:

While thou even as of yore art journeying,

All soulless now, yet merry with the Spring!”



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Date of Publication: 1881, B&S

Date of Composition: 1873, Works

MS Sources:

Ashley Notebooks 1410 (BL), Notebook No. 1, pp. 17, 29:

‘As a great man with whom years or health are failing looks on the careless

youth that pass him and thinks what he would do with their treasure – so etc.’

‘Even as some great-souled man deep-bowed with stress

Of dark disastrous eld, on passing youth

May gaze and murmur with self-pity and ruth



Text and Notes



211



“Ah me! If I thy treasure might possess

Such blessing of mine all coming years should bless

That in thy hand speeds to the common goal.”

Who, with the thought, feels breathe against his soul

The hour swift-paced of nearer nothingness.’ [drafts for the octave]

Manuscripts:

(1) Princeton HL fol. 2b (2) Bodleian Eng. Poet. d. 43 fol. 68b (3) Fitzwilliam

HL fol. 111a (4) Princeton HL fol. 40a (5) DAM Proofs Sig. R, p. 256, 5 May

Revisions/Variants:

1. All MSS/B&S

title

The World’s Woe/ Prin.(1), (2)

[The Sun’s Shame is pencilled in

parentheses on Prin.(2)] The

World’s Soul/ Bod.

The Sun’s

Shame II/The Sun’s Shame II. Fitz.

1 deep-bowed

with stress/

bowed down with stress Prin.(1)

2 blossoming

youth/

blossoming youth Prin.(1)

6 one sigh/one sigh

Prin.(1)

7 And

bitterly/

And bitterly Prin.(1)

8 swiftwinged/swift-winged Prin.(1)

9 to the green

world/to the green World

Prin.(1)

10–11

10 Sighs now and says: “Ah! woe is

me for whom

11 Dread change portends the

irrevocable doom, –

/ Prin.(1)



10 Perchance one hour must cry:

“Woe’s me, for whom

11 Dread change portends the

irrevocable doom, –/ Bod.

10 Perchance one hour must cry:

“Woe’s me, for whom

11
irrevocable doom, –>

Inveteracy of ill portends the

doom, –/Fitz.

10 Perchance one hour must cry:

“Woe’s me, for whom

11 Inveteracy of ill portends the

doom, –

12 vapour of shame/shadow of

shame Prin.(1)

13 as of yore/as of yore

Prin.(1)

14 Spring.”/Spring!” Prin.(1), Bod.,

Fitz.

2. On the DAM Proofs of Sig. R,

p. 256, 5 May DGR changed ‘Sonnet

XCIV’ to ‘Sonnet XCIII’ which it

becomes in the proof of 9 May. On

Fitz. after the title ‘The Sun’s Shame

II’ he wrote, and then cancelled, ‘To

follow the one in vol’.



212



The House of Life



SONNET XCIV.

MICHELANGELO’S KISS.



Great Michelangelo, with age grown bleak

And uttermost labours, having once o’ersaid

All grievous memories on his long life shed,

This worst regret to one true heart could speak: –

That when, with sorrowing love and reverence meek,

He stooped o’er sweet Colonna’s dying bed,

His Muse and dominant Lady, spirit-wed, –

Her hand he kissed, but not her brow or cheek.

O Buonarruoti, – good at Art’s fire-wheels

To urge her chariot! – even thus the Soul,

Touching at length some sorely-chastened goal,

Earns oftenest but a little: her appeals

Were deep and mute, – lowly her claim. Let be:

What holds for her Death’s garner? And for thee?



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Date of Publication: 1881, B&S

Date of Composition: December 1880, WEF 80.389

Letters:

(1) DGR to WMR, [16 Feb] 73 (WEF 73.52):

‘There is a fine subject for a picture in M. Angelo’s Life. Condivi tells us that

he heard M. A., when quite old, say that he regretted nothing more than

that, when he visited Vittoria Colonna on her deathbed, he did not kiss her

face but only her hand. This interview wd make a noble picture, and I think

I ought to paint it as a companion subject to my Dante’s Dream’ [S.81R1].

Condivi was Michelangelo’s first biographer, the ‘one true heart’ of line 4.

This proposed painting, like DGR’s plan (current at this date in his life) of

translating and editing Michelangelo’s sonnets, was never executed: this

poem and the sonnet For the Holy Family (B&S 311) were the only

Michelangelo-related projects completed by DGR.

(2) DGR to Frederic Shields, [18 Dec] 80 (WEF 80.389 [Texas]):

‘I have done a sonnet on Mike at Vittoria Colonna’s death-bed.’

This letter as dated by WEF shows that Sonnet 94 has been misdated by

all as ‘January 1881’ when in fact it belongs to the half-dozen or so sonnets

written toward the close of 1880 for inclusion in B&S.



Text and Notes



213



(3) DGR to CGR, 13 Jan 81 (WEF 81.15 [DW 2381]):

‘As dear Mamma loves sonnets, I put a new one opposite. I think the

beautiful anecdote will please her, as told by MA’s loving pupil Condivi.

You may observe in the sonnet a pun on Buonarruoti – of course it ought to

be ruote, but I suppose it might be perceptible.’ The sonnet MS is not extant.

WMR argues in a long note that this pun does not work because DGR’s

Italian etymology is mistaken: Buonarruoti does not derive from ‘Buon-aruote’ i.e. ‘good at wheels’ but from ‘Buon-arruto’, meaning ‘good adjutant’.

He speculates that the name devolved from an ancestor who belonged to the

eighty ‘arruoti’ designated to oversee elections in the Florentine Republic

(DGRDW 254n, repeated in Works 658).

(4) DGR to CGR, [19 Jan] 81 (WEF 81.28 [DW 2390]):

‘As you said our dearest Mother was no less than “delighted” with

my last Sonnet [included with Letter (3)], I send another just written

last night [Tiber, Nile and Thames, B&S 318]. With me, Sonnets mean

Insomnia.’

Manuscripts:

(1) Fitzwilliam HL fol. 112a (2) Beinecke, Tinker 1803 (3) DAM and Ros.

Proofs Sig. R, pp. 254 & 256, 5, 9 May; DAM Press-proofs n.d., post-pressproofs 27 May

Revisions/Variants:

1. All MSS/B&S

title

Michael Angelo’s

Kiss./Michelangelo’s Kiss. Fitz.,

Tink.

Sonnet XCII/Sonnet XCIV. Tink.

1 Michael Angelo/Michelangelo

Fitz., Tink.

2 once

o’ersaid/once o’ersaid Fitz.

8
not, but her cheek.>

Her hand he kissed, but not her

brow or cheek./

Her hand he kissed, but not her

brow or cheek. Fitz.

9 Art’s firewheels/Art’s fire-wheels Fitz.

10 To urge

her… Soul,/To urge her…Soul,

Fitz.



12 oftenest

but a little:/

oftenest but a little: Fitz.

12 her/her Tink.

2. Revisions in proof:

1 Michelangelo

DAM file 5.208 [see note 4.

below]

12 her Sig. R, p. 254, DAM,

Ros. 5 May

3. Instructions written on proofs:

‘to come after the two following

sonnets’ Sig. R, p. 254, Ros. 5 May

‘put this sonnet after the two

following’ Sig. R, p. 254 DAM 5

May

[This sonnet appeared as 92 on p. 254

in the 5 May proofs; in the 9 May

proofs it is 94 on p. 256]



214



The House of Life



4. DAM file 5.208, an undated

press-proof of Sig. R, p. 256, has

notes by both Rossetti brothers.

With his red pencil WMR wrote,

‘My own opinion is that the only

satisfactory way of spelling the



name is Michelangelo.’ DGR

cancelled this note but also changed

the title and name in line 1 in favour

of WMR’s spelling. These changes

appear in print in a post-press-proof

stamped 27 May (DAM file 5.218).



SONNET XCV.

THE VASE OF LIFE.



Around the vase of Life at your slow pace

He has not crept, but turned it with his hands,

And all its sides already understands.

There, girt, one breathes alert for some great race;

Whose road runs far by sands and fruitful space;

Who laughs, yet through the jolly throng has pass’d;

Who weeps, nor stays for weeping; who at last,

A youth, stands somewhere crowned, with silent face.

And he has filled this vase with wine for blood,

With blood for tears, with spice for burning vow,

With watered flowers for buried love most fit;

And would have cast it shattered to the flood,

Yet in Fate’s name has kept it whole; which now

Stands empty till his ashes fall in it.



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Date of Publication: 1869, March FR, (Sonnet VII)

1870, Poems

Date of Composition: 1869, Works

Letter:

DGR to ACS [8 Apr] 70 (WEF 70.86):

‘I forgot to mention, (in case desirable) that two titles of sonnets are changed

– “Flammifera” to “Love’s Redemption” and “Run and Won” to “The Vase

of Life”.’ ACS was preparing his review of Poems at this time while DGR

was at Scalands putting the final touches on his proofs. Sonnet 3 had its title

changed in Proof State 13: while there is no MS record of the title change for

this sonnet, it evidently occurred between Proof States 14 and 15.



Text and Notes



215



Manuscripts:

(1) Princeton HL fol. 41a (2) Fitzwilliam HL fol. 113a (3) Poems Proof State 13

{Princeton} (4) DAM Proofs Sig. S, p. 257, 6 May

Revisions/Variants:

1. All MSS/B&S

title

Run and Won./The Vase of Life.

Prin., Fitz., FR

4 one breathes/

one breathes Prin.

8 still,/ Prin., FR crowned,/

crowned, Fitz.

11 flowers, for/flowers for Prin.

13 Fate’s/Fate’s Prin.



2. Revisions in proof:

title: see Letter to ACS and note

above

4 [Below the text WMR wrote, referring to ‘girt’ and ‘alert’, ‘Is this

repetition of sound intentional?’

but DGR made no change.] DAM

3. Instructions written on proofs:

‘After this put A Superscription [97],

page 221, and MS. He and I [98]’ Prin.



SONNET XCVI.

LIFE THE BELOVED.



As thy friend’s face, with shadow of soul o’erspread,

Somewhile unto thy sight perchance hath been

Ghastly and strange, yet never so is seen

In thought, but to all fortunate favour wed;

As thy love’s death-bound features never dead

To memory’s glass return, but contravene

Frail fugitive days, and alway keep, I ween,

Than all new life a livelier lovelihead: –

So Life herself, thy spirit’s friend and love,

Even still as Spring’s authentic harbinger

Glows with fresh hours for hope to glorify;

Though pale she lay when in the winter grove

Her funeral flowers were snow-flakes shed on her

And the red wings of frost-fire rent the sky.

Date of Publication: 1881, B&S

Date of Composition: 1873, Works



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