Poems by an Artist's Model

Friday, 5 December 2014

Christina Rossetti

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–1894). Selected Poems.
Vol. 42, pp. 1181-1183 of The Harvard Classics

So beautiful that many painters sought her for a model - Christina Rossetti, sister of the famous poet, Dante Rossetti, combined with her unusual beauty a rare poetic sense.
(Christina Georgina Rossetti born Dec. 5, 1830.)


Song

WHEN I am dead, my dearest,
  Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
  Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
  With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
  And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
  I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
  Sing on, as if in pain;
And dreaming through the twilight
  That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
  And haply may forget.


Remember

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
  You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
  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.


Up-Hill

DOES the road wind up-hill all the way?
  Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
  From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
  A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
  You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
  Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
  They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
  Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
  Yea, beds for all who come.


In the Round Tower at Jhansi
June 8, 1857 (Indian Mutiny)

HUNDRED, a thousand to one: even so;
  Not a hope in the world remained:
The swarming howling wretches below
  Gained and gained and gained.

Skene looked at his pale young wife.
  ‘Is the time come?’—‘The time is come.’
Young, strong, and so full of life,
  The agony struck them dumb.

Close his arm about her now,
  Close her cheek to his,
Close the pistol to her brow—
  God forgive them this!

‘Will it hurt much?’ ‘No, mine own:
  I wish I could bear the pang for both.’—
‘I wish I could bear the pang alone:
  Courage, dear, I am not loth.’

Kiss and kiss: ‘It is not pain
  Thus to kiss and die.
One kiss more.’—‘And yet one again.’—
  ‘Good-bye.’—‘Good-bye.’


 

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