Classics  
English    1830 - 1894   
Christina Georgina Rossetti was an English poet who wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems. She is best known for her long poem Goblin Market, her love poem "Remember", and for the words of what became the popular Christmas carol "In the Bleak Midwinter".
Christina Georgina Rossetti was an English poet who wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems. She is best known for her long poem Goblin Market, her love poem "Remember", and for the words of what became the popular Christmas carol "In the Bleak Midwinter".

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk,
Or what not,
Which may be the chosen spot.
No toad spy you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

Is the moon tired? she looks so pale
Within her misty veil:
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.

Before the coming of the night
The moon shows papery white;
Before the dawning of the day
She fades away.

A Robin said: The Spring will never come,
  And I shall never care to build again.
A Rosebush said: These frosts are wearisome,
  My sap will never stir for sun or rain.
The half Moon said: These nights are fogged and slow,
I neither care to wax nor care to wane.
The Ocean said: I thirst from long ago,
  Because earth's rivers cannot fill the main.--
When Springtime came, red Robin built a nest,
  And trilled a lover's song in sheer delight.
  Grey hoarfrost vanished, and the Rose with might
  Clothed her in leaves and buds of crimson core.
The dim Moon brightened. Ocean sunned his crest,
  Dimpled his blue, yet thirsted evermore.

January cold desolate;
February all dripping wet;
March wind ranges;
April changes;
Birds sing in tune
To flowers of May,
And sunny June
Brings longest day;
In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly
Lightning torn;
August bears corn,
September fruit;
In rough October
Earth must disrobe her;
Stars fall and shoot
In keen November;
And night is long
And cold is strong
In bleak December.

What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow:
What are brief? today and tomorrow:
What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth:
What are deep ? the ocean and truth.

An emerald is as green as grass;
  A ruby red as blood;
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;
  A flint lies in the mud.

A diamond is a brilliant stone,
  To catch the world's desire;
An opal holds a fiery spark;
  But a flint holds fire.

It's a year almost that I have not seen her:
Oh, last summer green things were greener,
Brambles fewer, the blue sky bluer.

It's surely summer, for there's a swallow:
Come one swallow, his mate will follow,
The bird race quicken and wheel and thicken.

Oh happy swallow whose mate will follow
O'er height, o'er hollow! I'd be a swallow,
To build this weather one nest together.

Two doves upon the selfsame branch,
  Two lilies on a single stem,
Two butterflies upon one flower:--
  O happy they who look on them.

Who look upon them hand in hand
  Flushed in the rosy summer light;
Who look upon them hand in hand
  And never give a thought to night.

"Should one of us remember,
  And one of us forget,
I wish I knew what each will do--
  But who can tell as yet?"

"Should one of us remember,
  And one of us forget,
I promise you what I will do--
And I'm content to wait for you,
  And not be sure as yet."

What is pink? a rose is pink
By the fountain's brink.
What is red? a poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? the sky is blue
Where the clouds float thro'.
What is white? a swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? the grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? why, an orange,
Just an orange!

"And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest."


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 garden in a garden: a green spot
  Where all is green: most fitting slumber-place
  For the strong man grown weary of a race
Soon over. Unto him a goodly lot
Hath fallen in fertile ground; there thorns are not,
  But his own daisies: silence, full of grace,
  Surely hath shed a quiet on his face:
His earth is but sweet leaves that fall and rot.
What was his record of himself, ere he
  Went from us ? Here lies one whose name was writ
  In water: while the chilly shadows flit
    Of sweet Saint Agnes' Eve; while basil springs,
    His name, in every humble heart that sings,
Shall be a fountain of love, verily.

I sigh at day-dawn, and I sigh
When the dull day is passing by.
I sigh at evening, and again
I sigh when night brings sleep to men.
Oh!  it were far better to die
Than thus forever mourn and sigh,
And in death's dreamless sleep to be
Unconscious that none weep for me;
Eased from my weight of heaviness,
Forgetful of forgetfulness,
Resting from care and pain and sorrow
Thro' the long night that knows no morrow;
Living unloved, to die unknown,
Unwept, untended, and alone.

The lily has a smooth stalk,
  Will never hurt your hand;
But the rose upon her brier
  Is lady of the land.

There's sweetness in an apple tree,
  And profit in the corn;
But lady of all beauty
  Is a rose upon a thorn.

When with moss and honey
  She tips her bending brier,
And half unfolds her glowing heart,
  She sets the world on fire.

The half moon shows a face of plaintive sweetness
  Ready and poised to wax or wane;
A fire of pale desire in incompleteness,
  Tending to pleasure or to pain:--
Lo, while we gaze she rolleth on in fleetness
  To perfect loss or perfect gain.

Half bitterness we know, we know half sweetness;
  This world is all on wax, on wane:
When shall completeness round time's incompleteness,
  Fulfilling joy, fulfilling pain?--
Lo, while we ask, life rolleth on in fleetness
  To finished loss or finished gain.

"In the grave, whither thou goest."

O weary Champion of the Cross, lie still:
  Sleep thou at length the all-embracing sleep:
  Long was thy sowing day, rest now and reap:
Thy fast was long, feast now thy spirit's fill.
Yea, take thy fill of love, because thy will
  Chose love not in the shallows but the deep:
  Thy tides were springtides, set against the neap
Of calmer souls: thy flood rebuked their rill.
Now night has come to thee--please God, of rest:
  So some time must it come to every man;
  To first and last, where many last are first.
Now fixed and finished thine eternal plan,
  Thy best has done its best, thy worst its worst:
Thy best its best, please God, thy best its best.

Roses on a brier,
  Pearls from out the bitter sea,
Such is earth's desire
  However pure it be.

Neither bud nor brier,
  Neither pearl nor brine for me:
Be stilled, my long desire;
  There shall be no more sea.

Be stilled, my passionate heart;
  Old earth shall end, new earth shall be;
Be still, and earn thy part
  Where shall be no more sea.

The peacock has a score of eyes,
  With which he cannot see;
The cod-fish has a silent sound,
  However that may be;

No dandelions tell the time,
  Although they turn to clocks;
Cat's-cradle does not hold the cat,
  Nor foxglove fit the fox.

A diamond or a coal?
  A diamond, if you please:
Who cares about a clumsy coal
  Beneath the summer trees?

A diamond or a coal?
  A coal, sir, if you please:
One comes to care about the coal
  What time the waters freeze.

Winter is cold-hearted,
  Spring is yea and nay,
Autumn is a weathercock
  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.

 
To comment on this poem, please log in or create a free account
Log in or register to comment