Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Sonnet (1870)

 

A sonnet is a moment’s monument,—

 

Memorial from the Soul’s eternity

 

To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be,

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Whether for lustral rite or dire portent,

 

Of its own arduous fulness reverent:

 

Carve it in ivory or in ebony,

 

As Day or Night may rule; and let Time see

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Its flowering crest impearled and orient.

   
 

A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals

 

The soul,—its converse, to what Power ‘tis due:—

 

Whether for tribute to the august appeals

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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 of Death.