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Christina rossetti 3

Christina Georgina Rossetti

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
5

The earth was green, the sky was blue:
I saw and heard one sunny morn,
A skylark hang between the two,
A singing speck above the corn;

A stage below, in gay accord,
White butterflies danced on the wing,
And still the singing skylark soared,
And silent sank and soared to sing.

The cornfield stretched a tender green
To right and left beside my walks;
I knew he had a nest unseen
Somewhere among the million stalks:

And as I paused to hear his song,
While swift the sunny moments slid,
Perhaps his mate sat listening long,
And listened longer than I did.

A baby’s cradle with no baby in it,
A baby’s grave where autumn leaves drop sere;
The sweet soul gathered home to Paradise,
The body waiting here.

Stroke a flint, and there is nothing to admire:
Strike a flint, and forthwith flash out sparks of fire.

Oh, fair to see
Blossom—laden cherry tree,
Arrayed in sunny white;
An April day’s delight,
Oh, fair to see!
Oh, fair to see
Fruit—laden cherry tree,
With balls of shining red
Decking a leafy head,
Oh, fair to see!

I loved you first: but afterwards your love
    Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
    Which owes the other most? my love was long,
    And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be—
    Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
    With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
         For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
         Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Why were you born when the snow was falling?
You should have come to the cuckoo’s calling,
Or when grapes are green in the cluster,
Or, at least, when lithe swallows muster
   For their far off flying
   From summer dying.

Why did you die when the lambs were cropping?
You should have died at the apples’ dropping,
When the grasshopper comes to trouble,
And the wheat—fields are sodden stubble,
   And all winds go sighing
   For sweet things dying.

While roses are so red,
While lilies are so white,
Shall a woman exalt her face
Because it gives delight?
She’s not so sweet as a rose,
A lily’s straighter than she,
And if she were as red or white
She’d be but one of three.

Whether she flush in love’s summer
Or in its winter grow pale,
Whether she flaunt her beauty
Or hide it away in a veil,
Be she red or white,
And stand she erect or bowed,
Time will win the race he runs with her
And hide her away in a shroud.

Herself a rose, who bore the Rose,
She bore the Rose and felt its thorn.
All loveliness new—born
Took on her bosom its repose,
And slept and woke there night and morn.
Lily herself, she bore the one
Fair Lily; sweeter, whiter, far
Than she or others are:
The Sun of Righteousness her Son,
She was His morning star.
She gracious, He essential Grace,
He was the Fountain, she the rill:
Her goodness to fulfil
And gladness, with proportioned pace
He led her steps through good and ill.
Christ’s mirror she of grace and love,
Of beauty and of life and death:
By hope and love and faith
Transfigured to His likeness, ‘Dove,
Spouse, Sister, Mother,’ Jesus saith.

It’s a weary life, it is, she said:
Doubly blank in a woman’s lot:
I wish and I wish I were a man:
Or, better then any being, were not:

Were nothing at all in all the world,
Not a body and not a soul:
Not so much as a grain of dust
Or a drop of water from pole to pole.

Still the world would wag on the same,
Still the seasons go and come:
Blossoms bloom as in days of old,
Cherries ripen and wild bees hum.

None would miss me in all the world,
How much less would care or weep:
I should be nothing, while all the rest
Would wake and weary and fall asleep.

1

A toadstool comes up in a night, —
Learn the lesson, little folk: —
An oak grows on a hundred years,
But then it is an oak.

The rose with such a bonny blush,
What has the rose to blush about?
If it’s the sun that makes her flush,
What’s in the sun to flush about?

I bore with thee long weary days and nights,
Through many pangs of heart, through many tears;
I bore with thee, thy hardness, coldness, slights,
For three and thirty years.

Who else had dared for thee what I have dared?
I plunged the depth most deep from bliss above;
I not My flesh, I not My spirit spared:
Give thou Me love for love.

For thee I thirsted in the daily drouth,
For thee I trembled in the nightly frost:
Much sweeter thou than honey to My mouth:
Why wilt thou still be lost?

I bore thee on My shoulders and rejoiced:
Men only marked upon My shoulders borne
The branding cross; and shouted hungry—voiced,
Or wagged their heads in scorn.

Thee did nails grave upon My hands, thy name
Did thorns for frontlets stamp between Mine eyes:
I, Holy One, put on thy guilt and shame;
I, God, Priest, Sacrifice.

A thief upon My right hand and My left;
Six hours alone, athirst, in misery:
At length in death one smote My heart and cleft
A hiding—place for thee.

Nailed to the racking cross, than bed of down
More dear, whereon to stretch Myself and sleep:
So did I win a kingdom,—share my crown;
A harvest,—come and reap.