‘Under the Rose herewith … I meekly return to you, pruned and rewritten
to order’, Christina Rossetti wrote to her brother on 13 March,
1865, responding to Gabriel’s editorial interventions as she prepared
her second major volume, The Prince’s Progress, for publication. The
poem had been hastily written to fill the gap left in the collection by
Gabriel’s rejection of the powerful and ambivalent study of female
aspiration and self-abnegation, ‘The Lowest Room’; and while
Christina ‘meekly’ agreed to revise the piece with a certain understated
irony, she still insisted on her right to write about what was, for both of
them, an awkward subject for a woman: illegitimacy. ‘As regards the
unpleasant-sided subject, I freely admit it: and if you think the performance
coarse or what-not, pray eject it …’.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.