by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 - 1882)

I have been here before
Language: English 
         I have been here before,
              But when or how I cannot tell:
          I know the grass beyond the door,
              The sweet keen smell,
    The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

          You have been mine before, --
              How long ago I may not know:
          But just when at that swallow's soar
              Your neck turned so,
    Some veil did fall, -- I knew it all of yore.

          Has this been thus before?
              And shall not thus time's eddying flight
          Still with our lives our love restore
              In death's despite,
    And day and night yield one delight once more? 

About the headline (FAQ)

Note: first published in 1863, revised in 1870 and 1881. In the 1870 version of the poem (from Poems: an Offering to Lancashire), the final stanza was as follows:
         Then, now, -- perchance again! . . . .
              O round mine eyes your tresses shake!
          Shall we not lie as we have lain
              Thus for Love's sake,
    And sleep, and wake, yet never break the chain?


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by George John Bennett.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2007-09-27
Line count: 15
Word count: 96