Thursday, July 25, 2013

CHRISTINA GEORGINA ROSSETTI - POEMS






File:Christina Rossetti 2.jpg

Christina Georgina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894) -
picture by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (her brother)




Christina Georgina Rossetti, one of the most important women poets writing in nineteenth-century England, was born in London December 5, 1830, to Gabriele and Frances (Polidori) Rossetti. Although her fundamentally religious temperament was closer to her mother’s, this youngest member of a remarkable family of poets, artists, and critics inherited many of her artistic tendencies from her father.


Judging from somewhat idealized sketches made by her brother Dante, Christina as a teenager seems to have been quite attractive if not beautiful. In 1848 she became engaged to James Collinson, one of the minor Pre-Raphaelite brethren, but the engagement ended after he reverted to Roman Catholicism.


When Professor Rossetti’s failing health and eyesight forced him into retirement in 1853, Christina and her mother attempted to support the family by starting a day school, but had to give it up after a year or so. Thereafter she led a very retiring life, interrupted by a recurring illness which was sometimes diagnosed as angina and sometimes tuberculosis. From the early ’60s on she was in love with Charles Cayley, but according to her brother William, refused to marry him because “she enquired into his creed and found he was not a Christian.” Milk-and-water Anglicanism was not to her taste. Lona Mosk Packer argues that her poems conceal a love for the painter William Bell Scott, but there is no other evidence for this theory, and the most respected scholar of the Pre-Raphaelite movement disputes the dates on which Packer thinks some of the more revealing poems were written.


All three Rossetti women, at first devout members of the evangelical branch of the Church of England, were drawn toward the Tractarians in the 1840s. They nevertheless retained their evangelical seriousness: Maria eventually became an Anglican nun, and Christina’s religious scruples remind one of Dorothea Brooke in George Eliot’s Middlemarch : as Eliot’s heroine looked forward to giving up riding because she enjoyed it so much, so Christina gave up chess because she found she enjoyed winning; pasted paper strips over the antireligious parts of Swinburne’s Atalanta in Calydon (which allowed her to enjoy the poem very much); objected to nudity in painting, especially if the artist was a woman; and refused even to go see Wagner’s Parsifal, because it celebrated a pagan mythology.


After rejecting Cayley in 1866, according one biographer, Christina (like many Victorian spinsters) lived vicariously in the lives of other people. Although pretty much a stay-at-home, her circle included her brothers’ friends, like Whistler, Swinburne, F.M. Brown, and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). She continued to write and in the 1870s to work for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. She was troubled physically by neuralgia and emotionally by Dante’s breakdown in 1872. The last 12 years of her life, after his death in 1882, were quiet ones. She died of cancer December 29, 1894.


Author: Glen Everett , University of Tennessee at Martin









REQUIEM



When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.



I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.








A BETTER RESURRECTION



I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numb’d too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimm’d with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.
My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall–the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.
My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish’d thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me


From Goblin Market, The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems.









A  DREAM



Hear now a curious dream I dreamed last night
Each word whereof is weighed and sifted truth.
I stood beside Euphrates while it swelled
Like overflowing Jordan in its youth:
It waxed and coloured sensibly to sight;
Till out of myriad pregnant waves there welled
Young crocodiles, a gaunt blunt-featured crew,
Fresh-hatched perhaps and daubed with birthday dew.
The rest if I should tell, I fear my friend
My closest friend would deem the facts untrue;
And therefore it were wisely left untold;
Yet if you will, why, hear it to the end.
Each crocodile was girt with massive gold
And polished stones that with their wearers grew:
But one there was who waxed beyond the rest,
Wore kinglier girdle and a kingly crown,
Whilst crowns and orbs and sceptres starred his breast.
All gleamed compact and green with scale on scale,
But special burnishment adorned his mail
And special terror weighed upon his frown;
His punier brethren quaked before his tail,
Broad as a rafter, potent as a flail.
So he grew lord and master of his kin:
But who shall tell the tale of all their woes ?
An execrable appetite arose,
He battened on them, crunched, and sucked them in.
He knew no law, he feared no binding law,
But ground them with inexorable jaw:
The luscious fat distilled upon his chin,
Exuded from his nostrils and his eyes,
While still like hungry death he fed his maw;
Till every minor crocodile being dead
And buried too, himself gorged to the full,
He slept with breath oppressed and unstrung claw.
Oh marvel passing strange which next I saw:
In sleep he dwindled to the common size,
And all the empire faded from his coat.
Then from far off a wingèd vessel came,
Swift as a swallow, subtle as a flame:
I know not what it bore of freight or host,
But white it was as an avenging ghost.
It levelled strong Euphrates in its course;
Supreme yet weightless as an idle mote
It seemed to tame the waters without force
Till not a murmur swelled or billow beat:
Lo, as the purple shadow swept the sands,
The prudent crocodile rose on his feet
And shed appropriate tears and wrung his hands.
What can it mean ? you ask. I answer not
For meaning, but myself must echo, What ?
And tell it as I saw it on the spot









REMEMBER



Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.









THE LAMBS OF GRASMERE




THE upland flocks grew starved and thinned;
Their shepherds scarce could feed the lambs
Whose milkless mothers butted them,
Or who were orphaned of their dams.
The lambs athirst for mother’s milk
Filled all the place with piteous sounds:
Their mothers’ bones made white for miles
The pastureless wet pasture grounds.
Day after day, night after night,
From lamb to lamb the shepherds went,
With teapots for the bleating mouths
Instead of nature’s nourishment.
The little shivering gaping things
Soon knew the step that brought them aid,
And fondled the protecting hand,
And rubbed it with a woolly head.
Then, as the days waxed on to weeks,
It was a pretty sight to see
These lambs with frisky heads and tails
Skipping and leaping on the lea,
Bleating in tender, trustful tones,
Resting on rocky crag or mound.
And following the beloved feet
That once had sought for them and found.
These very shepherds of their flocks,
These loving lambs so meek to please,
Are worthy of recording words
And honour in their due degrees:
So I might live a hundred years,
And roam from strand to foreign strand,
Yet not forget this flooded spring
And scarce-saved lambs of Westmoreland








DREAM LAND



Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star,
She came from very far
To seek where shadows are
Her pleasant lot.
She left the rosy morn,
She left the fields of corn,
For twilight cold and lorn
And water springs.
Through sleep, as through a veil,
She sees the sky look pale,
And hears the nightingale
That sadly sings.
Rest, rest, a perfect rest
Shed over brow and breast;
Her face is toward the west,
The purple land.
She cannot see the grain
Ripening on hill and plain;
She cannot feel the rain
Upon her hand.
Rest, rest, for evermore
Upon a mossy shore;
Rest, rest at the heart’s core
Till time shall cease:
Sleep that no pain shall wake;
Night that no morn shall break
Till joy shall overtake
Her perfect peace







ECHO


Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope and love of finished years.

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter-sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brim-full of love abide and meet;
Where thirsting longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again though cold in death;
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago.









I WATCHED A ROSEBUD



I watched a rosebud very long
Brought on by dew and sun and shower,
Waiting to see the perfect flower:
Then, when I thought it should be strong,
It opened at the matin hour
And fell at evensong.
I watched a nest from day to day,
A green nest full of pleasant shade,
Wherein three speckled eggs were laid:
But when they should have hatched in May,
The two old birds had grown afraid
Or tired, and flew away.
Then in my wrath I broke the bough
That I had tended so with care,
Hoping its scent should fill the air;
I crushed the eggs, not heeding how
Their ancient promise had been fair:
I would have vengeance now.
But the dead branch spoke from the sod,
And the eggs answered me again:
Because we failed dost thou complain?
Is thy wrath just? And what if God,
Who waiteth for thy fruits in vain,
Should also take the rod ?







MIRAGE



The hope I dreamed of was a dream, 
Was but a dream; and now I wake
Exceeding comfortless, and worn, and old,
For a dream’s sake.
I hang my harp upon a tree,
A weeping willow in a lake;
I hang my silenced harp there, wrung and snapt
For a dream’s sake.
Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;
My silent heart, lie still and break:
Life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed
For a dream’s sake.








SONG



When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain;
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget








A FARM WALK


The year stood at its equinox
And bluff the North was blowing,
A bleat of lambs came from the flocks,
Green hardy things were growing;
I met a maid with shining locks
Where milky kine were lowing.

She wore a kerchief on her neck,
Her bare arm showed its dimple,
Her apron spread without a speck,
Her air was frank and simple.

She milked into a wooden pail
And sang a country ditty,
An innocent fond lovers' tale,
That was not wise nor witty,
Pathetically rustical,
Too pointless for the city.

She kept in time without a beat
As true as church-bell ringers,
Unless she tapped time with her feet,
Or squeezed it with her fingers;
Her clear unstudied notes were sweet
As many a practised singer's.

I stood a minute out of sight,
Stood silent for a minute
To eye the pail, and creamy white
The frothing milk within it;

To eye the comely milking maid
Herself so fresh and creamy:
'Good day to you,' at last I said;
She turned her head to see me:
'Good day,' she said with lifted head;
Her eyes looked soft and dreamy,

And all the while she milked and milked
The grave cow heavy-laden:
I've seen grand ladies plumed and silked,
But not a sweeter maiden;

But not a sweeter fresher maid
Than this in homely cotton,
Whose pleasant face and silky braid
I have not yet forgotten.

Seven springs have passed since then, as I
Count with a sober sorrow;
Seven springs have come and passed me by,
And spring sets in to-morrow.

I've half a mind to shake myself
Free just for once from London,
To set my work upon the shelf
And leave it done or undone;

To run down by the early train,
Whirl down with shriek and whistle,
And feel the bluff North blow again,
And mark the sprouting thistle
Set up on waste patch of the lane
Its green and tender bristle.

And spy the scarce-blown violet banks,
Crisp primrose leaves and others,
And watch the lambs leap at their pranks
And butt their patient mothers.

Alas, one point in all my plan
My serious thoughts demur to:
Seven years have passed for maid and man,
Seven years have passed for her too;

Perhaps my rose is overblown,
Not rosy or too rosy;
Perhaps in farmhouse of her own
Some husband keeps her cosy,
Where I should show a face unknown.
Good-bye, my wayside posy








A DAUGHTER OF EVE


A fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.

My garden-plot I have not kept;
Faded and all-forsaken,
I weep as I have never wept:
Oh it was summer when I slept,
It's winter now I waken.

Talk what you please of future spring
And sun-warm'd sweet to-morrow:
Stripp'd bare of hope and everything,
No more to laugh, no more to sing,
I sit alone with sorrow.







WIFE TO HUSBAND


Pardon the faults in me,
For the love of years ago:
Good-bye.
I must drift across the sea,
I must sink into the snow,
I must die.

You can bask in this sun,
You can drink wine, and eat:
Good-bye.
I must gird myself and run,
Though with unready feet:
I must die.

Blank sea to sail upon,
Cold bed to sleep in:
Good-bye.
While you clasp, I must be gone
For all your weeping:
I must die.

A kiss for one friend,
And a word for two,—
Good-bye:—
A lock that you must send,
A kindness you must do:
I must die.

Not a word for you,
Not a lock or kiss,
Good-bye.
We, one, must part in two;
Verily death is this:
I must die.








WHAT DO THE STARS DO


What do the stars do
Up in the sky,
Higher than the wind can blow,
Or the clouds can fly ?
Each star in its own glory
Circles, circles still;
As it was lit to shine and set,
And do its Maker's will







THE QUEEN OF HEARTS


How comes it, Flora, that, whenever we
Play cards together, you invariably,
However the pack parts,
Still hold the Queen of Hearts?

I've scanned you with a scrutinizing gaze,
Resolved to fathom these your secret ways:
But, sift them as I will,
Your ways are secret still.

I cut and shuffle; shuffle, cut, again;
But all my cutting, shuffling, proves in vain:
Vain hope, vain forethought too;
The Queen still falls to you.

I dropped her once, prepense; but, ere the deal
Was dealt, your instinct seemed her loss to feel:
'There should be one card more,'
You said, and searched the floor.

I cheated once; I made a private notch
In Heart-Queen's back, and kept a lynx-eyed watch;
Yet such another back
Deceived me in the pack:

The Queen of Clubs assumed by arts unknown
An imitative dint that seemed my own;
This notch, not of my doing,
Misled me to my ruin.

It baffles me to puzzle out the clue,
Which must be skill, or craft, or luck in you:
Unless, indeed, it be
Natural affinity



THE LOVE OF CHRIST

WHICH PASSETH KOWLEDGE


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



THE PRINCE'S PROGRESS

(excerpt)


"Too late for love, too late for joy,
Too late, too late!
You loitered on the road too long,
You trifled at the gate:
The enchanted dove upon her branch
Died without a mate.
The enchanted princess in her tower
Slept, died, behind the grate;
Her heart was starving all this while
You made it wait.

"Ten years ago, five years ago,
One year ago,
Even then you had arrived in time,
Though somewhat slow;
Then you had known her living face
Which now you cannot know:
The frozen fountain would have leaped,
The buds gone on to blow,
The warm south wind would have awaked
To melt the snow.

"Is she fair now as she lies?
Once she was fair;
Meet queen for any kingly king,
With gold-dust on her hair.
Now these are poppies in her locks,
White poppies she must wear;
Must wear a veil to shroud her face
And the want graven there:
Or is the hunger fed at length,
Cast off the care ?

"We never saw her with a smile
Or with a frown;
Her bed seemed never soft to her,
Though tossed of down;
She little heeded what she wore,
Kirtle, or wreath, or gown;
We think her white brows often ached
Beneath her crown,
Till silvery hairs showed in her locks
That used to be so brown.

"We never heard her speak in haste;
Her tones were sweet,
And modulated just so much
As it was meet:
Her heart sat silent through the noise
And concourse of the street.
There was no hurry in her hands,
No hurry in her feet;
There was no bliss drew nigh to her,
That she might run to greet.

"You should have wept her yesterday,
Wasting upon her bed:
But wherefore should you weep to-day
That she is dead?
Lo we who love weep not to-day,
But crown her royal head.
Let be these poppies that we strew,
Your roses are too red:
Let be these poppies, not for you
Cut down and spread.


SING ME A SONG


Sing me a song -
What shall I sing ? -
Three merry sisters
Dancing in a ring,
Light and fleet upon their feet
As birds upon the wing.
Tell me a tale -
What shall I tell ?
Two mournful sisters,
And a tolling knell,
Tolling ding and tolling dong,
Ding dong bell



SILENT NOON


Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, -
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.


Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky: -
So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love



SONNETS ARE FULL OF LOVE



Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
Has many sonnets: so here now shall be
One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart's quiet home,
To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstare while I go and come
And so because you love me, and because
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honoured name:
In you not fourscore years can dim the flame
Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws
Of time and change and mortal life and death




MY BABY HAS A FATHER

AND A MOTHER


My baby has a father and a mother,
Rich little baby !
Fatherless, motherless, I know another
Forlorn as may be:
Poor little baby !


MOTHER COUNTRY


Oh what is that country
And where can it be,
Not mine own country,
But dearer far to me?
Yet mine own country,
If I one day may see
Its spices and cedars,
Its gold and ivory.


As I lie dreaming
It rises, that land:
There rises before me
Its green golden strand,
With its bowing cedars
And its shining sand;
It sparkles and flashes
Like a shaken brand.


Do angels lean nearer
While I lie and long?
I see their soft plumage
And catch their windy song,
Like the rise of a high tide
Sweeping full and strong;
I mark the outskirts
Of their reverend throng.


Oh what is a king here,
Or what is a boor?
Here all starve together,
All dwarfed and poor;
Here Death's hand knocketh
At door after door,
He thins the dancers
From the festal floor.


Oh what is a handmaid,
Or what is a queen ?
All must lie down together
Where the turf is green,
The foulest face hidden,
The fairest not seen;
Gone as if never,
They had breathed or been. 


Gone from sweet sunshine
Underneath the sod,
Turned from warm flesh and blood
To senseless clod,
Gone as if never
They had toiled or trod,
Gone out of sight of all
Except our God.


Shut into silence
From the accustomed song,
Shut into solitude
From all earth's throng,
Run down tho' swift of foot,
Thrust down tho' strong;
Life made an end of
Seemed it short or long.


Life made an end of,
Life but just begun,
Life finished yesterday,
Its last sand run;
Life new-born with the morrow,
Fresh as the sun:
While done is done for ever;
Undone, undone.


And if that life is life,
This is but a breath,
The passage of a dream
And the shadow of death;
But a vain shadow
If one considereth;
Vanity of vanities,
As the Preacher saith



ALL THE BELLS WERE RINGING


All the bells were ringing
And all the birds were singing,
When Molly sat down crying
For her broken doll:
O you silly Moll !
Sobbing and sighing
For a broken doll,
When all the bells are ringing
And all the birds are singing


AUTUMN


I dwell alone - I dwell alone, alone,
Whilst full my river flows down to the sea,
Gilded with flashing boats
That bring no friend to me:
O love-songs, gurgling from a hundred throats,
O love-pangs, let me be.
Fair fall the freighted boats which gold and stone
And spices bear to sea:
Slim, gleaming maidens swell their mellow notes,
Love-promising, entreating -
Ah! sweet, but fleeting -
Beneath the shivering, snow-white sails.
Hush! the wind flags and fails -
Hush! they will lie becalmed in sight of strand -
Sight of my strand, where I do dwell alone;
Their songs wake singing echoes in my land -
They cannot hear me moan.


One latest, solitary swallow flies
Across the sea, rough autumn-tempest tossed,
Poor bird, shall it be lost?
Dropped down into this uncongenial sea,
With no kind eyes
To watch it while it dies,
Unguessed, uncared for, free:
Set free at last,
The short pang past,
In sleep, in death, in dreamless sleep locked fast.


Mine avenue is all a growth of oaks,
Some rent by thunder strokes,
Some rustling leaves and acorns in the breeze;
Fair fall my fertile trees,
That rear their goodly heads, and live at ease.


A spider's web blocks all mine avenue;
He catches down and foolish painted flies,
That spider wary and wise.
Each morn it hangs a rainbow strung with dew
Betwixt boughs green with sap,
So fair, few creatures guess it is a trap:
I will not mar the web,
Though sad I am to see the small lives ebb.


It shakes - my trees shake - for a wind is roused
In cavern where it housed:
Each white and quivering sail,
Of boats among the water leaves
Hollows and strains in the full-throated gale:
Each maiden sings again -
Each languid maiden, whom the calm
Had lulled to sleep with rest and spice and balm
Miles down my river to the sea
They float and wane,
Long miles away from me.


Perhaps they say: ‘She grieves,
Uplifted, like a beacon, on her tower.’
Perhaps they say: ‘One hour
More, and we dance among the golden sheaves.’
Perhaps they say: ‘One hour
More, and we stand,
Face to face, hand in hand;
Make haste, O slack gale, to the looked-for land!’


My trees are not in flower,
I have no bower,
And gusty creaks my tower,
And lonesome, very lonesome, is my strand


BEFORE THE PALING OF THE STARS


Before the winter morn,
Before the earliest cock crow,
Jesus Christ was born:
Born in a stable,
Cradled in a manger,
In the world his hands had made
Born a stranger.

Priest and king lay fast asleep
In Jerusalem;
Young and old lay fast asleep
In crowded Bethlehem;
Saint and angel, ox and ass,
Kept a watch together
Before the Christmas daybreak
In the winter weather.

Jesus on his mother's breast
In the stable cold,
Spotless lamb of God was he,
Shepherd of the fold:
Let us kneel with Mary maid,
With Joseph bent and hoary,
With saint and angel, ox and ass,
To hail the King of Glory


BENEATH THY CROSS


Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep ?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon
I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock


DE PROFUNDIS


Oh why is heaven built so far,
Oh why is earth set so remote ?
I cannot reach the nearest star
That hangs afloat.

I would not care to reach the moon,
One round monotonous of change;
Yet even she repeats her tune
Beyond my range.

I never watch the scatter'd fire
Of stars, or sun's far-trailing train,
But all my heart is one desire,
And all in vain:

For I am bound with fleshly bands,
Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;
I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
And catch at hope


FATA  MORGANA


A blue-eyed phantom far before
Is laughing, leaping toward the sun:
Like lead I chase it evermore,
I pant and run.


It breaks the sunlight bound on bound:
Goes singing as it leaps along
To sheep-bells with a dreamy sound
A dreamy song.


I laugh, it is so brisk and gay;
It is so far before, I weep:
I hope I shall lie down some day,
Lie down and sleep



HOW MANY SECONDS IN A MINUTE ?


How many seconds in a minute ?
Sixty, and no more in it.
How many minutes in an hour ?
Sixty for sun and shower.
How many hours in a day ?
Twenty-four for work and play.
How many days in a week ?
Seven both to hear and speak.
How many weeks in a month ?
Four, as the swift moon runneth.
How many months in a year ?
Twelve the almanack makes clear.
How many years in an age ?
One hundred says the sage.
How many ages in time ?
No one knows the rhyme



I KNOW YOU NOT


O Christ, the Vine with living Fruit,
The twelvefold-fruited Tree of Life,
The Balm in Gilead after strife,
The valley Lily and the Rose;
Stronger than Lebanon, Thou Root;
Sweeter than clustered grapes, Thou Vine;
O Best, Thou Vineyard of red wine,
Keeping thy best wine till the close.

Pearl of great price Thyself alone,
And ruddier than the ruby Thou;
Most precious lightning Jasper stone,
Head of the corner spurned before:
Fair Gate of pearl, Thyself the Door;
Clear golden Street, Thyself the Way;
By Thee we journey toward Thee now,
Through Thee shall enter Heaven one day.

I thirst for Thee, full fount and flood;
My heart calls Thine, as deep to deep:
Dost Thou forget Thy sweat and pain,
They provocation on the Cross?
Heart-pierced for me, vouchsafe to keep
The purchase of Thy lavished Blood:
The gain is Thine, Lord, if I gain;
Or if I lose, Thine own the loss.

At midnight (saith the Parable)
A cry was made, the Bridegroom came;
Those who were ready entered in:
The rest, shut out in death and shame,
Strove all too late that Feast to win,
Their die was cast, and fixed their lot;
A gulf divided Heaven from Hell;
The Bridegroom said—I know you not.

But Who is this that shuts the door,
And saith—I know you not—to them ?
I see the wounded hands and side,
The brow thorn-tortured long ago:
Yea; This Who grieved and bled and died,
This same is He Who must condemn;
He called, but they refused to know;
So now He hears their cry no more



IF

If he would come to-day, to-day, to-day,
O, what a day to-day would be!
But now he's away, miles and miles away
From me across the sea.

O little bird, flying, flying, flying
To your nest in the warm west,
Tell him as you pass that I am dying,
As you pass home to your nest.

I have a sister, I have a brother,
A faithful hound, a tame white dove;
But I had another, once I had another,
And I miss him, my love, my love!

In this weary world it is so cold, so cold,
While I sit here all alone;
I would not like to wait and to grow old,
But just to be dead and gone.

Make me fair when I lie dead on my bed,
Fair where I am lying:
Perhaps he may come and look upon me dead—
He for whom I am dying.

Dig my grave for two, with a stone to show it,
And on the stone write my name;
If he never comes, I shall never know it,
But sleep on all the same








IF I WERE A QUEEN


If I were a Queen,
What would I do ?
I’d make you King,
And I’d wait on you.
If I were a King,
What would I do ?
I’d make you Queen,
For I’d marry you






LAST NIGHT


Where were you last night? I watched at the gate;
I went down early, I stayed down late.
Were you snug at home, I should like to know,
Or were you in the coppice wheedling Kate?

She's a fine girl, with a fine clear skin;
Easy to woo, perhaps not hard to win.
Speak up like a man and tell me the truth:
I'm not one to grow downhearted and thin.

If you love her best speak up like a man;
It's not I will stand in the light of your plan:
Some girls might cry and scold you a bit,
And say they couldn't bear it; but I can.

Love was pleasant enough, and the days went fast;
Pleasant while it lasted, but it needn't last;
Awhile on the wax and awhile on the wane,
Now dropped away into the past.

Was it pleasant to you? To me it was;
Now clean gone as an image from glass,
As a goodly rainbow that fades away,
As dew that steams upward from the grass,

As the first spring day, or the last summer day,
As the sunset flush that leaves heaven grey,
As a flame burnt out for lack of oil,
Which no pains relight or ever may.

Good luck to Kate and good luck to you:
I guess she'll be kind when you come to woo.
I wish her a pretty face that will last,
I wish her a husband steady and true.

Hate you? not I, my very good friend;
All things begin and all have an end.
But let broken be broken; I put no faith
In quacks who set up to patch and mend.

Just my love and one word to Kate:
Not to let time slip if she means to mate;
For even such a thing has been known
As to miss the chance while we weigh and wait





LATER LIFE 


Something this foggy day, a something which
Is neither of this fog nor of today,
Has set me dreaming of the winds that play
Past certain cliffs, along one certain beach,
And turn the topmost edge of waves to spray:
Ah pleasant pebbly strand so far away,
So out of reach while quite within my reach,
As out of reach as India or Cathay !
I am sick of where I am and where I am not,
I am sick of foresight and of memory,
I am sick of all I have and all I see,
I am sick of self, and there is nothing new;
Oh weary impatient patience of my lot !
Thus with myself: how fares it, Friends, with you ?












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