Hoarded Joy

Alternately titled: Joy Delayed

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1870
Rhyme: abbaaccadedeff
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ WMR, DGR as Designer and Writer, 244.

◦ Baum, House of Life, 193.


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the Poems (1870) First Edition Text.

Scholarly Commentary


The sonnet is unimpressive. Nonetheless, its temporal structure underscores the double-focus that organizes so much of the material in The House of Life. The sense of the poem would be markedly affected if we knew it had been written at any early date. In that case the opening words of the octave and the sestet would function as part of a rhetoric of repetition, doubling the melancholic reflection.

Textual History: Composition

The terminus ad quem for the poem's composition is September 1870, when it was added to the A2 Proofs for the coming 1870 volume. Whether the sonnet was written at that time, or whether it was an earlier, recovered work is uncertain, nor does the printer's copy manuscript in the Troxell Collection clarify the matter.

Two other manuscript copies survive: an early draft in the Library of Congress and the corrected copy in the Fitzwilliam composite “House of Life” sequence. The poem is titled “Tree and Stream” in the Library of Congress manuscript.

Textual History: Revision

The poem was first printed in the A Proofs, where it is titled “Joy Delayed”. That was corrected to the received title in the proof process of 1869-1870, when two other small substantive changes were also made. The sonnet's text does not change after 1870.

Printing History

First printed in September 1869 as part of the A2 Proofs, the sonnet remained in all proof stages and was published in the 1870 Poems and thereafter. It is The House of Life Sonnet XXXVIII in the 1870 volume, and Sonnet LXXII in 1881.


The sestet distinctly recalls Keats's “To Autumn”.


The poem stands open to an autobiographical reading, particularly if at the fictive level it is read as addressed by the poet to the Innominata. In that event it would intimate a regret for the “lost hours” of their lives unspent together.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 12-1870.raw.xml