Love's Baubles

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1869 September
Rhyme: abbaabbacddcee
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ Baum, ed., The House of Life, 98-99

◦ WMR, DGR as Designer and Writer, 199


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1870 Poems First Edition text.

Scholarly Commentary


Many of DGR's most conventional sonnets in “The House of Life” sequence are strong precisely through the intricacy of their management of the tradition of Italian love poetry. This piece is not one of those. Nonetheless, it possesses a real interest for students of DGR's work as a possible gloss on the voluptuous flower-filled portraits he created in the 60s and 70s.

Textual History: Composition

“Before April 1870” (WMR, Classified Lists, 6 ) ; but its printing in the First Trial Book shows that DGR wrote it before October 1869, and almost certainly in September of that year, specifically for insertion in The House of Life sequence. The only surviving autograph manuscript is the corrected copy in the Fitzwilliam composite “House of Life” manuscript.

Textual History: Revision

The text as printed in the First Trial Book remains the same in all later printings.


The sonnet's vegetative profusion as related to the figure of the beloved woman connects directly to the portrait style DGR began to cultivate in 1859 with the painting of Bocca Baciata. More relevant in this case, however, would be paintings like Veronica Veronese, The Blue Bower, The Beloved, Monna Vanna, Fiammetta, Lady Lilith, and of course The Blessed Damozel.

Printing History

First printed in the First Trial Book at the beginning of October 1869 and kept through the rest of the proofs; it is published first in the 1870 Poems. The sonnet is number XIV in The House of Life as published in the 1870 volume, and number XXIII in the sequence as published in 1881.


Another sonnet constructed out of the stil novisti and Petrarchan tradition, it should be compared with the argument in “Love's Lovers”.

The sonnet also recalls DGR's sister's most famous poem, “Goblin Market”, to which this piece might well be taken as a response.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 8-1870.raw.xml