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CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Albeit a theme of flame to bring them straight The snorting white-winged brother of the wave,i

They hear him as a thing by fate Cursed in unholy babble to his grave.

As men that spied the wings, that heard the
snort,

Their sires have told; and of a martial prince
Bestriding him; and old report
Speaks of a monster slain by one long since.

31

There is that story of the golden bit
By Goddess given to tame the lightning steed:
A mortal who could mount, and sit
Flying, and up Olympus midway speed.

He rose like the loosed fountain's utmost leap;
He played the star at span of heaven right o'er
Men's heads; they saw the snowy steep,
Saw the winged shoulders: him they saw not

more.

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ASK, IS LOVE DIVINE

Ask, is Love divine, Voices all are, Ay. Question for the sign, There's a common sigh.

Would we through our years
Love forego,

Quit of scars and tears?
Ah, but no, no, no!

SONG OF THE SONGLESS

They have no song, the sedges dry,
And still they sing.

It is within my breast they sing,
As I pass by.

Within my breast they touch a spring,
They wake a sigh.

There is but sound of sedges dry;
In me they sing.

DIRGE IN WOODS

A wind sways the pines,
And below

Not a breath of wild air;
Still as the mosses that glow
On the flooring and over the lines
Of the roots here and there.
The pine-tree drops its dead;
They are quiet as under the sea.
Overhead, overhead
Rushes life in a race,

As the clouds the clouds chase:
And we go,

And we drop like the fruits of the tree,
Even we,
Even so.

CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

(1830-1894)

THE BRIDE-SONG

FROM THE PRINCE'S PROGRESS

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;

IO

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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,

9

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.

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Give me the lowest place: not that I dare Ask for that lowest place, but Thou hast died

That I might live and share

Thy glory by Thy side.

Give me the lowest place: or if for me That lowest place too high, make one more low

Where I may sit and see

My God and love Thee so.

JAMES THOMSON (1834-1882)

FROM THE CITY OF DREADFUL NIGHT

As I came through the desert thus it was,
As I came through the desert: All was black,
In heaven no single star, on earth no track;
A brooding hush without a stir or note,
The air so thick it clotted in my throat;
And thus for hours; then some enormous things
Swooped past with savage cries and clanking
wings:

But I strode on austere;

No hope could have no fear. 176

As I came through the desert thus it was,
As I came through the desert: Eyes of fire
Glared at me throbbing with a starved desire;
The hoarse and heavy and carnivorous breath
Was hot upon me from deep jaws of death;
Sharp claws, swift talons, fleshless fingers cold
Plucked at me from the bushes, tried to hold:
But I strode on austere;

No hope could have no fear. 185

As I came through the desert thus it was,
As I came through the desert: Lo you, there,
That hillock burning with a brazen glare;
Those myriad dusky flames with points a-glow
Which writhed and hissed and darted to and

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