The Soul's Sphere

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1873
Rhyme: abbaaccadeedde
Meter: iambic pentameter
Genre: sonnet


◦ WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 226-227

◦ Baum, ed., House of Life, 160-161


Editorial glosses and textual notes are available in a pop-up window. Line numbering reflects the structure of the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets first edition text.

Scholarly Commentary


The images of moon and sun that open the sonnet resonate with key figurations in all of DGR's work. The lines distinctly echo the situation dramatized early in “The Blessed Damozel” and recovered throughout the “House of Life” sequence in sonnets that depict both Beloved and Innominata as a love-moon and the lover (or the poet) as the sun/son.

Textual History: Composition

DGR worked at the poem in his notebooks. Ashley Library Note Book I has a draft of lines 13-14 and Note Book II has a draft of lines 1-3. The texts drafted in the Duke Library notebooks are: in Note Book II, lines 1-3, 12-14; in Note Book III, lines 12-14; and Note Book IV lines 6-7. The earliest complete text seems to be the Bancroft corrected copy. Two fair copies survive, one in the Fitzwilliam composite “House of Life” sequence, the other in the Library of Congress.

Printing History

First published in the 1881 Ballads and Sonnets and collected thereafter.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 3-1873.raw.xml