The Sonnet (Yale proof copy)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Physical Description

Paper: India paper
Dimensions of Document: 7 5/16 x 4 9/16 in.

Production Description


Current Location: Yale University, Center for British Art
Note: The note on the proof is in Christina Rossetti's hand

Scholarly Commentary


This interesting document is one of two known presentation proof copies. Another copy, given to Constantine Ionides, is held in the Harry Ransom Research Center at Texas. This copy was used by Sharp for the first publication of the work, in facsimile, as the frontispiece in Sharp's Dante Gabriel Rossetti. A Record and a Study.

The Sonnet (Yale proof copy)
Copyright: ©Yale University, Center for British Art

Included Text

  • A Sonnet is a moment's monument,—
  • Memorial from the soul's eternity
  • To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be,
  • Whether for lustral rite or dire portent,
  • Of its own intricate fulness reverent:
  • Carve it in ivory or in ebony,
  • As Day or Night prevail; and let Time see
  • It's flowering crest impearled and orient.
  • A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals
  • The soul,—its converse, to what Power 'tis due:— 10
  • Whether for tribute to the august appeals
  • Of Life, or dower in Love's high retinue,
  • It serve; or, 'mid the dark wharf's cavernous breath,
  • In Charon's palm it pay the toll to Death.
Manuscript Addition: Proof on India paper / for William Sharp
Editorial Description: CR's ink notation in lower right corner.
For the right to engrave the design that forms the Frontispiece,

the author is indebted to the kindness of

Mrs. Gabriele Rossetti and Christina Rossetti.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1