An Altar-Flame

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848
Rhyme: abbaabbacdecde
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ Paull F. Baum, Dante Gabriel Rossetti: An Analytical List of Manuscripts in the Duke University Library, 14-16, 56-65

◦ Frances Winwar, “Dante Gabriel's or William Michael's?” (March 1933), 312-315

Scholarly Commentary


This is one of the group of sonnets that DGR and WMR wrote to rhymes set by each other. The brothers played this verse game between 1847-1849, and principally in 1848. The rule was that the sonnet should be written quickly, in five to ten minutes (see 1911, pages 673-674 ). Eighteen survive, fourteen of which were published by WMR in his edition of 1911, pages 263-267 , including this sonnet. Baum published the rest in his Manuscripts in the Duke University Library pages 56-65 .

Textual History: Composition

The only surviving manuscript is the fair copy in the Tinker Collection, Yale University's Beineke library.

Printing History

First published by WMR in his 1911 edition.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 20-1848.raw.xml