Most of the sonnets that DGR wrote on his trip to Paris and Belgium with Hunt in 1849 were concerned with explicitly aesthetic issues, but
some—like this one—dealt with the social and political situation in the aftermath of 1848. Though
guarded enough, the social and political hope expressed in these lines is stronger than in any of DGR's other poems
on such topics.
The poem is loosely connected with a group of works, many with an anti-Gallic inflection, that DGR
wrote in 1849 (see “On a Handful of
French Money”, “The Can-Can at
Valentino's”, “Vox Ecclesiae,
“The Staircase of Notre Dame, Paris”,
and “Place de la Bastille, Paris”).
The poem was one of sonnets DGR sent to his brother in his
letter of 8 October 1849,
which is the only manuscript that we know.
DGR had the poem set in type for printing in the
1881 Ballads and Sonnets volume
(see the first author's proof for
Signature Y). He removed the poem during the proofing process so that it was only first published by WMR in
his collected edition of 1886 (I.261).