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Christina rossetti 3

Christina Georgina Rossetti

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
5

A night was near, a day was near,
Between a day and night
I heard sweet voices calling clear,
Calling me:
I heard a whirr of wing on wing,
But could not see the sight;
I long to see my birds that sing,
I long to see.
Below the stars, beyond the moon,
Between the night and day
I heard a rising falling tune
Calling me:
I long to see the pipes and strings
Whereon such minstrels play;
I long to see each face that sings,
I long to see.
Today or may be not today,
Tonight or not tonight,
All voices that command or pray
Calling me,
Shall kindle in my soul such fire
And in my eyes such light
That I shall see that heart’s desire
I long to see.

Sleeping at last, the trouble and tumult over,
Sleeping at last, the struggle and horror past,
Cold and white, out of sight of friend and of lover,
Sleeping at last.

No more a tired heart downcast or overcast,
No more pangs that wring or shifting fears that hover,
Sleeping at last in a dreamless sleep locked fast.

Fast asleep. Singing birds in their leafy cover
Cannot wake her, nor shake her the gusty blast.
Under the purple thyme and the purple clover
Sleeping at last.

As violets so be I recluse and sweet,
Cheerful as daisies unaccounted rare,
Still sunward—gazing from a lowly seat,
Still sweetening wintry air.

While half—awakened Spring lags incomplete,
While lofty forest trees tower bleak and bare,
Daisies and violets own remotest heat
And bloom and make them fair.

‘Ding a ding,’
The sweet bells sing,
And say:
‘Come, all be gay’
For a wedding day.
‘Dong a dong,’
The bells sigh long,
And call:
‘Weep one, weep all’
For a funeral.

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 had a love in soft south land,
Beloved through April far in May;
He waited on my lightest breath,
And never dared to say me nay.

He saddened if my cheer was sad,
But gay he grew if I was gay;
We never differed on a hair,
My yes his yes, my nay his nay.

The wedding hour was come, the aisles
Were flushed with sun and flowers that day;
I pacing balanced in my thoughts:
'It’s quite too late to think of nay.'—

My bridegroom answered in his turn,
Myself had almost answered ‘yea:’
When through the flashing nave I heard
A struggle and resounding ‘nay.’

Bridemaids and bridegroom shrank in fear,
But I stood high who stood at bay:
‘And if I answer yea, fair Sir,
What man art thou to bar with nay?’

He was a strong man from the north,
Light—locked, with eyes of dangerous grey:
‘Put yea by for another time
In which I will not say thee nay.’

He took me in his strong white arms,
He bore me on his horse away
O’er crag, morass, and hairbreadth pass,
But never asked me yea or nay.

He made me fast with book and bell,
With links of love he makes me stay;
Till now I’ve neither heart nor power
Nor will nor wish to say him nay.

Hopping frog, hop here and be seen,
I’ll not pelt you with stick or stone:
Your cap is laced and your coat is green;
Good bye, we’ll let each other alone.
Plodding toad, plod here and be looked at,
You the finger of scorn is crooked at:
But though you’re lumpish, you’re harmless too;
You won’t hurt me, and I won’t hurt you.

I cannot tell you how it was,
But this I know: it came to pass
Upon a bright and sunny day
When May was young; ah, pleasant May!
As yet the poppies were not born
Between the blades of tender corn;
The last egg had not hatched as yet,
Nor any bird foregone its mate.

I cannot tell you what it was,
But this I know: it did but pass.
It passed away with sunny May,
Like all sweet things it passed away,
And left me old, and cold, and gray.

Under the ivy bush
One sits sighing,
And under the willow tree
One sits crying: —
Under the ivy bush
Cease from your sighing,
But under the willow—tree
Lie down a—dying.

I never said I loved you, John:
Why will you tease me day by day,
And wax a weariness to think upon
With always “do” and “pray”?

You Know I never loved you, John;
No fault of mine made me your toast:
Why will you haunt me with a face as wan
As shows an hour—old ghost?

I dare say Meg or Moll would take
Pity upon you, if you’d ask:
And pray don’t remain single for my sake
Who can’t perform the task.

I have no heart?—Perhaps I have not;
But then you’re mad to take offence
That don’t give you what I have not got:
Use your common sense.

Let bygones be bygones:
Don’t call me false, who owed not to be true:
I’d rather answer “No” to fifty Johns
Than answer “Yes” to you.

Let’s mar our pleasant days no more,
Song—birds of passage, days of youth:
Catch at today, forget the days before:
I’ll wink at your untruth.

Let us strike hands as hearty friends;
No more, no less; and friendship’s good:
Only don’t keep in view ulterior ends,
And points not understood

In open treaty. Rise above
Quibbles and shuffling off and on:
Here’s friendship for you if you like; but love,—
No, thank you, John.

Crimson curtains round my mother’s bed,
Silken soft as may be;
Cool white curtains round about my bed,
For I am but a baby.

Three little children
On the wide wide earth,
Motherless children—
Cared for from their birth
By tender angels.
Three little children
On the wide wide sea,
Motherless children—
Safe as safe can be
With guardian angels.