Letter to William Bell Scott, July 1853, manuscript

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Production Description

Document Title: Letter to William Bell Scott, July 1853
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of composition: 1853 July
Type of Manuscript: fair copy of sonnet in letter
Person to Whom the Manuscript was Assigned: William Bell Scott
Note: the letter is seven pages long
Scribe: DGR


Current Location: Princeton University Library
Catalog Number: 23351
Note: The letter is in Box 9 folder 6 of the Troxell Collection

Physical Description

Other Physical Features: 7 leaves, 22 x 18.3cm


Scholarly Commentary


Included in DGR's letter is a fair copy of a sonnet he wrote at the time, “On the Site of a Mulberry-Tree, planted by William Shakespeare, felled by Rev. F. Gastrell” .

Printing History

The poem was first printed in The Academy , 15 February 1871. WMR has a note to the poem: “In the last line [DGR] substituted (in MS.) the word ‘Starveling's’ for ‘tailor's’; and I remember he once told me that his real reason for not publishing the sonnet in either of his volumes [i.e., 1870 or 1881] was to avoid hurting the feelings of some sensitive member or members of the tailoring craft” (1911, p. 667); see also Caine.


DGR's mention of “shotten herring” derives from Henry IV, Part 1, 2.4.143, where Falstaff tells Prince Hal that “if manhood, good manhood, be not forgot upon the face of the earth, then am I a shotten herring. There live not three good men unhanged in England; and one of them is fat and grows old.” DGR likely had the passage in mind when writing line 6.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: dgr.ltr.0538.rad.xml