Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
From “The House of Life: a Sonnet-Sequence.” I. Introductory
 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–82)
 
 
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 arduous fulness reverent:        5
Carve it in ivory or in ebony,
As Day or Night may rule; and let Time see
Its flowering crest impearl’d and orient.
A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals
The soul,—its converse, to what power ’t is 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.
 

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