Even So

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1859; 1854 (perhaps)
Rhyme: a3b4a3a 3
Meter: trochaic
Genre: lyric
There is an extra b rhyme in the third stanza, following line 2.


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1881 Poems First Edition Text.

Scholarly Commentary


As with poems like A New-Year's Burden, “Even So” is as much an experiment in verse technique as anything else. Consequently, the poem arrests one with its abstract qualities—an arrest all the more effective because of the apparent subject (failed love), which come in at such an oblique angle. The poem's self-display of technical precision and deliberateness becomes an objective correlative for an immobilized emotional condition.

Textual History: Composition

The poem is dated by WMR 1859 (in the table of contents to 1911 ); no evidence for this date is offered. The close correspondence of the central stanza to a passage in a letter of 26 June 1854 (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 54. 51 ) suggests that the poem may have been begun, if not written, at that time. The only extant manuscript, a fair copy, dates from 1869.

Printing History

The poem was first printed as part of the prepublication texts that DGR put together in 1869, as a prelude to the publication of the 1870 Poems. It was printed in August in the Penkill Proofs, where it formed part of the section of The House of Life poems. DGR moved the poem to the opening Poems section as the prepublication text of the 1870 volume moved into the proofs for the first edition in early March (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 70. 45 , letter to Swinburne of 7 March 1870). The poem was first published in the first edition of the 1870 Poems.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 2-1859.raw.xml