WMR dates this poem 1875 but its appearance in DGR's 1874
gift book to Jane Morris
shows that it must have been written earlier—perhaps in the spring or early summer, 1874. The title
is sanctioned by the first printed text, authorised by WMR, as well as by two of the three known manuscripts. In one
manuscript (at the Boston Public Library) the title is changed from “Barcarola” to
“Serenata”; in another (at Texas) it is changed from “Serenata” to
“Barcarola” . “Barcarola” thus seems the title most likely to have been last
authorised by DGR.
Three integral manuscripts descend to us: the fair copy in the Jane Morris gift book, a
fair copy at Texas, and
another fair copy in the Boston Public Library.
First printed by WMR from an unknown manuscript in volume I (page 375) of his
1886 collected edition of
DGR's works, and included thereafter.
The song may be loosely rendered thus: Have mercy, show me your love:my heart is on fire but I don't
know where love is. What will this lovely time do to me if I don't know how she will love? Alas, lonely me. My heart
is wrenched, wander no longer, have mercy.
Have mercy, show me your heavens, everything is veiled from me so that I don't know where heaven lies. If
it all stays this way down here one doesn't know where one's going. Oh I'm lost, everything's in vain,
embrace me, have mercy.