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ROSSETTI, Christina


When I am dead, my dearest

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.


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 planned:

  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.


A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird

Whose nest is in a watered shoot;

My heart is like an apple-tree

Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;

My heart is like a rainbow shell

That paddles in a halcyon sea;

My heart is gladder than all these

Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;

Carve it in doves and pomegranates,

And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in gold and silver grapes,

In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.


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.


In an Artist's studio

One face looks out from all his canvases,

One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:

We found her hidden just behind those screens,

That mirror gave back all her loveliness.

A queen in opal or in ruby dress,

A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,

A saint, an angel — every canvas means

The same one meaning, neither more or less.

He feeds upon her face by day and night,

And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,

Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:

Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;

Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;

Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.


Cobwebs

It is a land with neither night nor day,

Nor heat nor cold, nor any wind, nor rain,

Nor hills nor valleys; but one even plain

Stretches thro' long unbroken miles away:

While thro' the sluggish air a twilight grey

Broodeth; no moons or seasons wax and wane,

No ebb and flow are there among the main,

No bud-time no leaf-falling there for aye,

No ripple on the sea, no shifting sand,

No beat of wings to stir the stagnant space,

And loveless sea: no trace of days before,

No guarded home, no time-worn restingplace

No future hope no fear forevermore.


In the bleak midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;

Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,

Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;

Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,

The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,

Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;

But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,

Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.