106 Chapters
Medium 9781847779731

MAY

Rossetti, Christina Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

I cannot tell you how it was;

But this I know: it came to pass–

Upon a bright and breezy day

When May was young, ah pleasant May!

As yet the poppies were not born

Between the blades of tender corn;

The last eggs had not hatched as yet,

Nor any bird forgone its mate.

I cannot tell you what it was;

But this I know: it did but pass.

It passed away with sunny May,

With all sweet things it passed away,

And left me old, and cold, and grey.

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THE QUEEN OF HEARTS

Rossetti, Christina Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

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 father 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;

       That 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;

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MIRAGE

Rossetti, Christina Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

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.

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THE KEY-NOTE

Rossetti, Christina Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

Where are the songs I used to know,

    Where are the notes I used to sing?

    I have forgotten everything

I used to know so long ago;

Summer has followed after Spring;

    Now Autumn is so shrunk and sere

I scarcely think a sadder thing

    Can be the Winter of my year.

Yet Robin sings through Winter’s rest,

    When bushes put their berries on;

    While they their ruddy jewels don,

He sings out of a ruddy breast;

The hips and haws and ruddy breast

    Make one spot warm where snowflakes lie;

They break and cheer the unlovely rest

    Of Winter’s pause–and why not I?

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WINTER: MY SECRET

Rossetti, Christina Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

I tell my secret? No indeed, not I:

Perhaps some day, who knows?

But not to-day; it froze, and blows, and snows

And you’re too curious: fie!

You want to hear it? well:

Only, my secret’s mine, and I won’t tell.

Or, after all, perhaps there’s none:

Suppose there is no secret after all,

But only just my fun.

To-day’s a nipping day, a biting day;

In which one wants a shawl,

A veil, a cloak, and other wraps:

I cannot ope to every one who taps,

And let the draughts come whistling through my hall;

Come bounding and surrounding me,

Come buffeting, astounding me,

Nipping and clipping through my wraps and all.

I wear my mask for warmth: who ever shows

His nose to Russian snows

To be pecked at by every wind that blows?

You would not peck? I thank you for good will,

Believe, but leave that truth untested still.

Spring’s an expansive time: yet I don’t trust

March with its peck of dust,

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