The Monochord

The Monochord

The following poem by English poet, illustrator, painter and translator Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) accompanies this photograph in volume pagination:

The Monochord.

Is it this sky’s vast vault or ocean’s sound
That is Life’s self and draws my life from me,
And by instinct ineffable decree
Holds my breath quailing on the bitter bound?
Nay, is it Life or Death, thus thunder-crown’d,
That ‘mid the tide of all emergency
Now notes my separate wave, and to what sea
Its difficult eddies labour in the ground?


Oh! what is this that knows the road I came,
The flame turned cloud, the cloud returned to flame,
The lifted shifted steeps and all the way?-
That draws round me at last this wind-warm space,
And in regenerate raptures turns my face
Upon devious coverts of dismay?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

The Monochord

Image Dimensions20.0 x 14.0 cm | 16.2 x 11.5 cm (spot-glued on four corners to support, with entire tissue gravure shown)

Support Dimensions29.7 x 25.0 cm Bristol paper leaf