Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the Poems 1881 First Edition text.
As with all the pieces in the Songs section
of The House of Life, this one echoes recurrent themes. It should be compared,
particularly in reference to its second stanza, with poems like
Autumn Idleness and
The Hill Summit.
According to WMR the poem was composed in
). There is no hard evidence that confirms or disconfirms that dating.
WMR used this poem to make some general suggestions to DGR
about the printing of the poems in the proofs to the 1870
WMR. Selected Letters,
First printed as part of the pre-publication process
for the 1870 Poems, in the Penkill
Proofs, August 1869.
Those proofs have no special organization of the
poetic units. At the next proof stage, the so-called
A Proofs (Sept. 1869),
this poem is placed in a loosely organized section under the heading
Sonnets and Songs,
Towards a Work to be Called The House of Life. DGR experimented with
the order of this section until, in the final proof stage (realized at the
beginning of March, 1870) this poem and ten others were grouped as
The House of
Life's integral section
of Songs. In the 1881 Poems. A New Edition, this section is detached from
The House of Life
and placed under the heading Lyrics, and two other poems are added to the group.
In 1870 the poem was printed with a musical score by Florence
The clear Shakespeare allusion (to Sonnet 73) in
lines 9-16 is especially apt for DGR's theme of the transience of love.