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Three by Rossetti II

Poems by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

A Triad

Three sang of love together: one with lips
   Crimson, with cheeks and bosom in a glow,
Flushed to the yellow hair and finger-tips;
   And one there sang who soft and smooth as snow
   Bloomed like a tinted hyacinth at a show;
And one was blue with famine after love,
   Who like a harpstring snapped rang harsh and low
The burden of what those were singing of.
One shamed herself in love; one temperately
   Grew gross in soulless love, a sluggish wife;
One famished died for love. Thus two of three
   Took death for love and won him after strife;
One droned in sweetness like a fattened bee:
   All on the threshold, yet all short of life.

(1856/1862)

Promises Like Pie-Crust

Promise me no promises,
   So will I not promise you:
Keep we both our liberties,
   Never false and never true:
Let us hold the die uncast,
   Free to come as free to go:
For I cannot know your past,
   And of mine what can you know?

You, so warm, may once have been
   Warmer towards another one:
I, so cold, may once have seen
   Sunlight, once have felt the sun:
Who shall show us if it was
   Thus indeed in time of old?
Fades the image from the glass,
   And the fortune is not told.

If you promised, you might grieve
   For lost liberty again:
If I promised, I believe
   I should fret to break the chain.
Let us be the friends we were,
   Nothing more but nothing less:
Many thrive on frugal fare
   Who would perish of excess.

(1861/1896)

Sleeping at Last

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

(1896)

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors (sixth edition), ed. M.H. Abrams, et al., pp. 2106f, 2122f, 2124f.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 12/14/03 12:18:21 PM
Categorized as Sunday Poetry Series.

   
         
         

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Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”