Goblin Market, and other poems, by Christina Rossetti

Christian and Jew

A Dialogue

‘Oh happy happy land!

Angels like rushes stand

    About the wells of light.’ —

    ‘Alas, I have not eyes for this fair sight:

Hold fast my hand.’ —

‘As in a soft wind, they

Bend all one blessed way,

    Each bowed in his own glory, star with star.’ —

    ‘I cannot see so far,

    Here shadows are.’ —

‘White-winged the cherubim,

Yet whiter seraphim,

    Glow white with intense fire of love.’ —

‘Mine eyes are dim:

    I look in vain above,

And miss their hymn.’ —

‘Angels, Archangels cry

One to other ceaselessly

    (I hear them sing)

    One “Holy, Holy, Holy” to their King.’ —

‘I do not hear them, I.’ —

‘At one side Paradise

    Is curtained from the rest,

Made green for wearied eyes;

    Much softer than the breast

Of mother-dove clad in a rainbow’s dyes.

‘All precious souls are there

    Most safe, elect by grace,

    All tears are wiped for ever from their face:

Untired in prayer

    They wait and praise

    Hidden for a little space.

‘Boughs of the Living Vine

They spread in summer shine

    Green leaf with leaf:

Sap of the Royal Vine it stirs like wine

    In all both less and chief.

‘Sing to the Lord,

    All spirits of all flesh, sing;

For He hath not abhorred

    Our low estate nor scorn’d our offering:

    Shout to our King.’ —

‘But Zion said:

    My Lord forgetteth me.

Lo, she hath made her bed

    In dust; forsaken weepeth she

    Where alien rivers swell the sea.

‘She laid her body as the ground,

    Her tender body as the ground to those

Who passed; her harpstrings cannot sound

In a strange land; discrowned

    She sits, and drunk with woes.’ —

‘O drunken not with wine,

    Whose sins and sorrows have fulfilled the sum, —

    Be not afraid, arise, be no more dumb;

Arise, shine,

    For thy light is come.’ —

‘Can these bones live?’ —

                                                      ‘God knows:

    The prophet saw such clothed with flesh and skin;

    A wind blew on them and life entered in;

They shook and rose.

    Hasten the time, O Lord, blot out their sin,

    Let life begin.’


Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 15:33