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Christina rossetti 3

Christina Georgina Rossetti

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
5

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!

Winter is cold—hearted
Spring is yea and nay,
Autumn is a weather—cock
Blown every way:
Summer days for me
When every leaf is on its tree;

When Robin’s not a beggar,
And Jenny Wren’s a bride,
And larks hang singing, singing, singing,
Over the wheat—fields wide,
And anchored lilies ride,
And the pendulum spider
Swings from side to side,

And blue—black beetles transact business,
And gnats fly in a host,
And furry caterpillars hasten
That no time be lost,
And moths grow fat and thrive,
And ladybirds arrive.

Before green apples blush,
Before green nuts embrown,
Why, one day in the country
Is worth a month in town;
Is worth a day and a year
Of the dusty, musty, lag—last fashion
That days drone elsewhere.

Some are laughing, some are weeping;
She is sleeping, only sleeping.
Round her rest wild flowers are creeping;
There the wind is heaping, heaping
Sweetest sweets of Summer’s keeping.
By the corn—fields ripe for reaping.

There are lilies, and there blushes
The deep rose, and there the thrushes
Sing till latest sunlight flushes
In the west; a fresh wind brushes
Through the leaves while evening hushes.

There by day the lark is singing
And the grass and weeds are springing;
There by night the bat is winging;
There for ever winds are bringing
Far—off chimes of church—bells ringing.

Night and morning, noon and even,
Their sound fills her dreams with Heaven:
The long strife at lent is striven:
Till her grave—bands shall be riven
Such is the good portion given
To her soul at rest and shriven.

Oh happy happy land!
Angels like rushes stand
About the wells of light.'—
‘Alas, I have not eyes for this fair sight:
Hold fast my hand.’—

‘As in a soft wind, they
Bend all one blessed way,
Each bowed in his own glory, star with star.’—
‘I cannot see so far,
Here shadows are.’—

‘White—winged the cherubim,
Yet whiter seraphim,
Glow white with intense fire of love.’—
‘Mine eyes are dim:
I look in vain above,
And miss their hymn.’—

'Angels, Archangels cry
One to other ceaselessly
(I hear them sing)
One 'Holy, Holy, Holy’ to their King.'—
‘I do not hear them, I.’—

'At one side Paradise
Is curtained from the rest,
Made green for wearied eyes;
Much softer than the breast
Of mother—dove clad in a rainbow’s dyes.

‘All precious souls are there
Most safe, elect by grace,
All tears are wiped for ever from their face:
Untired in prayer
They wait and praise
Hidden for a little space.

’Boughs of the Living Vine
They spread in summer shine
Green leaf with leaf:
Sap of the Royal Vine it stirs like wine
In all both less and chief.

'Sing to the Lord,
All spirits of all flesh, sing;
For He hath not abhorred
Our low estate nor scorn’d our offering:
Shout to our King.'—

‘But Zion said:
My Lord forgetteth me.
Lo, she hath made her bed
In dust; forsaken weepeth she
Where alien rivers swell the sea.

’She laid her body as the ground,
Her tender body as the ground to those
Who passed; her harpstrings cannot sound
In a strange land; discrowned
She sits, and drunk with woes.'—

‘O drunken not with wine,
Whose sins and sorrows have fulfilled the sum,—
Be not afraid, arise, be no more dumb;
Arise, shine,
For thy light is come.’—

‘Can these bones live?’—
‘God knows:
The prophet saw such clothed with flesh and skin;
A wind blew on them and life entered in;
They shook and rose.
Hasten the time, O Lord, blot out their sin,
Let life begin.’

Jesus, do I love Thee?
Thou art far above me,
Seated out of sight
Hid in Heavenly Light
Of most highest height.
Martyred hosts implore Thee,
Seraphs fall before Thee,
Angels and Archangels,
Cherub throngs adore Thee;
Blessed She that bore Thee!
All the Saints approve Thee,
All the Virgins love Thee.
I show as a blot
Blood hath cleansed not,
As a barren spot
In Thy fruitful lot.
I, fig—tree fruit—unbearing;
Thou, righteous Judge unsparing:
What canst Thou do more to me
That shall not more undo me?
Thy Justice hath a sound—
Why cumbereth it the ground?
Thy Love with stirrings stronger
Pleads—Give it one year longer.
Thou giv’st me time: but who
Save Thou shall give me dew;
Shall feed my root with Blood,
And stir my sap for good?
Oh, by Thy Gifts that shame me,
Give more lest they condemn me:
Good Lord, I ask much of Thee,
But most I ask to love Thee;
Kind Lord, be mindful of me,
Love me, and make me love Thee.

Oh the cheerful Budding—time!
When thorn—hedges turn to green,
When new leaves of elm and lime
Cleave and shed their winter screen;
Tender lambs are born and ‘baa,’
North wind finds no snow to bring,
Vigorous Nature laughs ‘Ha, ha,’
In the miracle of spring.

Oh the gorgeous Blossom—days!
When broad flag—flowers drink and blow,
In and out in summer—blaze
Dragon—flies flash to and fro;
Ashen branches hang out keys,
Oaks put forth the rosy shoot,
Wandering herds wax sleek at ease,
Lovely blossoms end in fruit.

Oh the shouting Harvest—weeks!
Mother earth grown fat with sheaves
Thrifty gleaner finds who seeks;
Russet—golden pomp of leaves
Crowns the woods, to fall at length;
Bracing winds are felt to stir,
Ocean gathers up her strength,
Beasts renew their dwindled fur.

Oh the starving Winter—lapse!
Ice—bound, hunger—pinched and dim;
Dormant roots recall their saps,
Empty nests show black and grim,
Short—lived sunshine gives no heat,
Undue buds are nipped by frost,
Snow sets forth a winding—sheet,
And all hope of life seems lost.

Contemptuous of his home beyond
The village and the village—pond,
A large—souled Frog who spurned each byway
Hopped along the imperial highway.

Nor grunting pig nor barking dog
Could disconcert so great a Frog.
The morning dew was lingering yet,
His sides to cool, his tongue to wet:
The night—dew, when the night should come,
A travelled Frog would send him home.

Not so, alas! The wayside grass
Sees him no more: not so, alas!
A broad—wheeled waggon unawares
Ran him down, his joys, his cares.
From dying choke one feeble croak
The Frog’s perpetual silence broke: —
‘Ye buoyant Frogs, ye great and small,
Even I am mortal after all!
My road to fame turns out a wry way;
I perish on the hideous highway;
Oh for my old familiar byway!’

The choking Frog sobbed and was gone;
The Waggoner strode whistling on.
Unconscious of the carnage done,
Whistling that Waggoner strode on —
Whistling (it may have happened so)
‘A froggy would a—wooing go.’
A hypothetic frog trolled he,
Obtuse to a reality.

O rich and poor, O great and small,
Such oversights beset us all.
The mangled Frog abides incog,
The uninteresting actual frog:
The hypothetic frog alone
Is the one frog we dwell upon.

‘Oh, sad thy lot before I came,
But sadder when I go;
My presence but a flash of flame,
A transitory glow
Between two barren wastes like snow.
What wilt thou do when I am gone,
Where wilt thou rest, my dear?
For cold thy bed to rest upon,
And cold the falling year
Whose withered leaves are lost and sere.’

She hushed the baby at her breast,
She rocked it on her knee:
‘And I will rest my lonely rest,
Warmed with the thought of thee,
Rest lulled to rest by memory.’
She hushed the baby with her kiss,
She hushed it with her breast:
‘Is death so sadder much than this—
Sure death that builds a nest
For those who elsewhere cannot rest?’

'Oh, sad thy note, my mateless dove,
With tender nestling cold;
But hast thou ne’er another love
Left from the days of old,
To build thy nest of silk and gold,
To warm thy paleness to a blush
When I am far away—
To warm thy coldness to a flush,
And turn thee back to May,
And turn thy twilight back to day?'

She did not answer him again,
But leaned her face aside,
Weary with the pang of shame and pain,
And sore with wounded pride:
He knew his very soul had lied.
She strained his baby in her arms,
His baby to her heart:
‘Even let it go, the love that harms:
We twain will never part;
Mine own, his own, how dear thou art.’

‘Now never teaze me, tender—eyed,
Sigh—voiced,’ he said in scorn:
‘For nigh at hand there blooms a bride,
My bride before the morn;
Ripe—blooming she, as thou forlorn.
Ripe—blooming she, my rose, my peach;
She woos me day and night:
I watch her tremble in my reach;
She reddens, my delight,
She ripens, reddens in my sight.’

‘And is she like a sunlit rose?
Am I like withered leaves?
Haste where thy spiced garden blows:
But in bare Autumn eves
Wilt thou have store of harvest sheaves?
Thou leavest love, true love behind,
To seek a love as true;
Go, seek in haste: but wilt thou find?
Change new again for new;
Pluck up, enjoy—yea, trample too.

’Alas for her, poor faded rose,
Alas for her her, like me,
Cast down and trampled in the snows.'
‘Like thee? nay, not like thee:
She leans, but from a guarded tree.
Farewell, and dream as long ago,
Before we ever met:
Farewell; my swift—paced horse seems slow.’
She raised her eyes, not wet
But hard, to Heaven: ‘Does God forget?’

Hope is like a harebell trembling from its birth,
Love is like a rose the joy of all the earth;
Faith is like a lily lifted high and white,
Love is like a lovely rose the world’s delight;
Harebells and sweet lilies show a thornless growth,
But the rose with all its thorns excels them both.

She holds a lily in her hand,
Where long ranks of Angels stand,
A silver lily for her wand.

All her hair falls sweeping down;
Her hair that is a golden brown,
A crown beneath her golden crown.

Blooms a rose—bush at her knee,
Good to smell and good to see:
It bears a rose for her, for me;

Her rose a blossom richly grown,
My rose a bud not fully blown,
But sure one day to be mine own.

Gone were but the Winter,
Come were but the Spring,
I would go to a covert
Where the birds sing;

Where in the whitethorn
Singeth a thrush,
And a robin sings
In the holly—bush.

Full of fresh scents
Are the budding boughs
Arching high over
A cool green house:

Full of sweet scents,
And whispering air
Which sayeth softly:
“We spread no snare;

”Here dwell in safety,
Here dwell alone,
With a clear stream
And a mossy stone.

“Here the sun shineth
Most shadily;
Here is heard an echo
Of the far sea,
Though far off it be.”

A motherless soft lambkin
Along upon a hill;
No mother’s fleece to shelter him
And wrap him from the cold: —
I’ll run to him and comfort him,
I’ll fetch him, that I will;
I’ll care for him and feed him
Until he’s strong and bold.