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An Island
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The Departed
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To Build a Fire
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The Last Lesson
A Vine on a House
The Hunters of Men
Mr. What's-His-Name
The Song of the Sower
Earth and Her Praisers
An Old-World Thicket
How John Quit the Farm
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Short poems and sonnets by Christina Rossetti

Below you'll find a variety of shorter poems and sonnets by Christina Rossetti.

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.



Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, poem or story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a classic poem or short story for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic poetic works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"Autumn" by Christina Rossetti

AUTUMN

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Fade tender lily,
Fade O crimson rose,
Fade every flower
Sweetest flower that blows.

Go chilly Autumn,
Come O Winter cold;
Let the green things die away
Into common mould.

Birth follows hard on death,
Life on withering:
Hasten, we shall come the sooner
Back to pleasant Spring.


"A Bird Song" by Christina Rossetti

A BIRD SONG

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

It's a year almost that I have not seen her:
Oh, last summer green things were greener,
Brambles fewer, the blue sky bluer.

It's surely summer, for there's a swallow:
Come one swallow, his mate will follow,
The bird-race quicken and wheel and thicken.

Oh happy swallow whose mate will follow
O'er height, o'er hollow! I'd be a swallow,
To build this weather one nest together.


"Bitter for Sweet" by Christina Rossetti

BITTER FOR SWEET

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Summer is gone with all its roses,
Its sun and perfumes and sweet flowers,
Its warm air and refreshing showers:
And even Autumn closes.

Yea, Autumn's chilly self is going,
And Winter comes which is yet colder;
Each day the hoar-frost waxes bolder,
And the last buds cease blowing.


"The Bourne" by Christina Rossetti

THE BOURNE

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Underneath the growing grass,
Underneath the living flowers,
Deeper than the sound of showers:
There we shall not count the hours
By the shadows as they pass.

Youth and health will be but vain,
Beauty reckoned of no worth:
There a very little girth
Can hold round what once the earth
Seemed too narrow to contain.


"Buds and Babies" by Christina Rossetti

BUDS AND BABIES

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

A million buds are born that never blow,
That sweet with promise lift a pretty head
To blush and wither on a barren bed
And leave no fruit to show.

Sweet, unfulfilled. Yet have I understood
One joy, by their fragility made plain:
Nothing was ever beautiful in vain,
Or all in vain was good.


"Charades" by Christina Rossetti

CHARADES

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

My first is no proof of my second,
Though my second's a proof of my first:
If I were my whole I should tell you
Quite freely my best and my worst.

One clue more: if you fail to discover
My meaning, you're blind as a mole;
But if you will frankly confess it,
You show yourself clearly my whole.


"Corydon's Lament and Resolution"

CORYDON'S LAMENT AND RESOLUTION

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

1.

I have wept and I have sighed;
Chloe will not be my bride.
I have sighed and I have wept,
She hath not her promise kept.

2.

I have grieved and I have mourned;
She hath not my love returned.
I have mourned and I have grieved;
She hath not my pains relieved.

3.

But her pride I'll mortify,
For her love I will not die.
Amaryllis fair I'll wed,
Nor one tear for Chloe shed.


"Dead Before Death" by Christina Rossetti

DEAD BEFORE DEATH

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Ah! changed and cold, how changed and very cold!
With stiffened smiling lips and cold calm eyes:
Changed, yet the same; much knowing, little wise;
This was the promise of the days of old!
Grown hard and stubborn in the ancient mould,
Grown rigid in the sham of lifelong lies:
We hoped for better things as years would rise,
But it is over as a tale once told.
All fallen the blossom that no fruitage bore,
All lost the present and the future time,
All lost, all lost, the lapse that went before:
So lost till death shut-to the opened door,
So lost from chime to everlasting chime,
So cold and lost forever evermore.


"February 14, 1883" by Christina Rossetti
0
FEBRUARY 14, 1883

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

A world of change and loss, a world of death,
Of heart and eyes that fail, of labouring breath,
Of pains to bear and painful deeds to do:--
Nevertheless a world of life to come
And love; where you're at home, while in our home
Your Valentine rejoices having you.


"For H. P." by Christina Rossetti
1
FOR H. P.

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

On the land and on the sea,
Jesus keep both you and me:

Going out and coming in,
Christ keep us both from shame and sin:

In this world, in the world to come,
Keep us safe and lead us home:

Today in toil, tonight in rest,
Be Best Beloved and love us best.


"Forget Me Not" by Christina Rossetti
2
FORGET ME NOT

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

1.

"Forget me not! Forget me not!"
The maiden once did say,
When to some far-off battle-field
Her lover sped away.

2.

"Forget me not! Forget me not!"
Says now the chamber-maid
When the traveller on his journey
No more will be delayed.


"Golden Glories" by Christina Rossetti
3
GOLDEN GLORIES

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

The buttercup is like a golden cup,
The marigold is like a golden frill,
The daisy with a golden eye looks up,
And golden spreads the flag beside the rill,
And gay and golden nods the daffodil,
The gorsey common swells a golden sea,
The cowslip hangs a head of golden tips,
And golden drips the honey which the bee
Sucks from sweet hearts of flowers and stores and sips.


"Heaven" by Christina Rossetti
4
HEAVEN

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

1.

What is heaven? 'tis a country
Far away from mortal ken;
'Tis a land, where, by God's bounty,
After death live righteous men.

2.

That that blest land I may enter,
Is my humble, earnest cry;
Lord! admit me to Thy presence,
Lord! admit me, or I die.


"Hymn" by Christina Rossetti
5
HYMN

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

To the God Who reigns on high,
To th'Eternal Majesty,
To the Blessed Trinity
Glory on earth be giv'n;
In the sea, and in the sky,
And in the highest heav'n.


"The Lowest Place" by Christina Rossetti
6
THE LOWEST PLACE

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

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.


"Mary Magdalene and the other Mary"
7
MARY MAGDALENE AND THE OTHER MARY

A SONG FOR ALL MARIES

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Our Master lies asleep and is at rest:
His Heart has ceased to bleed, His Eye to weep:
The sun ashamed has dropt down in the west:
Our Master lies asleep.

Now we are they who weep, and trembling keep
Vigil, with wrung heart in a sighing breast,
While slow time creeps, and slow the shadows creep.

Renew Thy youth, as eagle from the nest;
O Master, who hast sown, arise to reap:--
No cock-crow yet, no flush on eastern crest;
Our Master lies asleep.


"May" by Christina Rossetti
8
MAY

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

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 foregone 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 gray.


"Mirage" by Christina Rossetti
9
MIRAGE

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

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.


"New Enigmas" by Christina Rossetti
0
NEW ENIGMAS

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Name any gentleman you spy,
And there's a chance that he is I;
Go out to angle, and you may
Catch me on a propitious day:
Booted and spurred, their journey ended,
The weary are by me befriended:
If roasted meat should be your wish,
I am more needful than a dish:
I am acknowledgedly poor:
Yet my resources are no fewer
Than all the trades; there is not one
But I profess, beneath the sun:
I bear a part in many a game;
My worth may change, I am the same.
Sometimes, by you expelled, I roam
Forth from the sanctuary of home.


"On Albina" by Christina Rossetti
1
ON ALBINA

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

The roses lingered in her cheeks,
When fair Albina fainted;
Oh! gentle Reader, could it be
That fair Albina painted?


"On Keats" by Christina Rossetti
2
ON KEATS

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

A garden in a garden: a green spot
Where all is green: most fitting slumber-place
For the strong man grown weary of a race
Soon over. Unto him a goodly lot
Hath fallen in fertile ground; there thorns are not,
But his own daisies: silence, full of grace,
Surely hath shed a quiet on his face:
His earth is but sweet leaves that fall and rot.
What was his record of himself, ere he
Went from us? Here lies one whose name was writ
In water: while the chilly shadows flit
Of sweet Saint Agnes' Eve; while basil springs,
His name, in every humble heart that sings,
Shall be a fountain of love, verily.


"Rest" by Christina Rossetti
3
REST

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

O Earth, lie heavily upon her eyes;
Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth;
Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth
With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.
She hath no questions, she hath no replies,
Hushed in and curtained with a blessed dearth
Of all that irked her from the hour of birth;
With stillness that is almost Paradise.
Darkness more clear than noon-day holdeth her,
Silence more musical than any song;
Even her very heart has ceased to stir:
Until the morning of Eternity
Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;
And when she wakes she will not think it long.


"The Rose" by Christina Rossetti
4
THE ROSE

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

O Rose, thou flower of flowers, thou fragrant wonder,
Who shall describe thee in thy ruddy prime;
Thy perfect fulness in the summer time;
When the pale leaves blushingly part asunder
And show the warm red heart lies glowing under?
Thou shouldst bloom surely in some sunny clime,
Untouched by blights and chilly Winter's rime,
Where lightnings never flash, nor peals the thunder.
And yet in happier spheres they cannot need thee
So much as we do with our weight of woe;
Perhaps they would not tend, perhaps not heed thee,
And thou wouldst lonely and neglected grow;
And He Who is All-Wise, He hath decreed thee
To gladden earth and cheer all hearts below.


"Shall I Forget?" by Christina Rossetti
5
SHALL I FORGET?

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Shall I forget on this side of the grave?
I promise nothing: you must wait and see
Patient and brave.
(O my soul, watch with him and he with me.)

Shall I forget in peace of Paradise?
I promise nothing: follow, friend, and see,
Faithful and wise.
(O my soul, lead the way he walks with me.)


"A Smile and a Sigh" by Christina Rossetti
6
A SMILE AND A SIGH

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

A smile because the nights are short!
And every morning brings such pleasure
Of sweet love-making, harmless sport:
Love that makes and finds its treasure;
Love, treasure without measure.

A sigh because the days are long!
Long, long these days that pass in sighing,
A burden saddens every song:
While time lags which should be flying,
We live who would be dying.


"Song: She sat and sang alway"
7
SONG: 'SHE SAT AND SANG ALWAY'

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

She sat and sang alway
By the green margin of a stream,
Watching the fishes leap and play
Beneath the glad sunbeam.

I sat and wept alway
Beneath the moon's most shadowy beam,
Watching the blossoms of the May
Weep leaves into the stream.

I wept for memory;
She sang for hope that is so fair:
My tears were swallowed by the sea;
Her songs died on the air.


"Song: When I am dead, my dearest"
8
SONG: 'WHEN I AM DEAD, MY DEAREST'

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

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.


"Sunshine" by Christina Rossetti
9
SUNSHINE

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

"There's little sunshine in my heart
Slack to spring, lead to sink;
There's little sunshine in the world
I think."--

"There's glow of sunshine in my heart
(Cool wind, cool the glow);
There's flood of sunshine in the world
I know."--

Now if of these one spoke the truth,
One spoke more or less:
But which was which I will not tell;--
You, guess.


"Vanity of Vanities" by Christina Rossetti
0
VANITY OF VANITIES

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Ah, woe is me for pleasure that is vain,
Ah, woe is me for glory that is past:
Pleasure that bringeth sorrow at the last,
Glory that at the last bringeth no gain!
So saith the sinking heart; and so again
It shall say till the mighty angel-blast
Is blown, making the sun and moon aghast,
And showering down the stars like sudden rain.
And evermore men shall go fearfully,
Bending beneath their weight of heaviness;
And ancient men shall lie down wearily,
And strong men shall rise up in weariness;
Yea, even the young shall answer sighingly,
Saying one to another: How vain it is!


"The Way of the World" by Christina Rossetti
1
THE WAY OF THE WORLD

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

A boat that sails upon the sea;
Sails far and far and far away:
Who sail in her sing songs of glee,
Or watch and pray.

A boat that drifts upon the sea
Silent and void to sun and air:
Who sailed in her have ended glee
And watch and prayer.


"Within the Veil" by Christina Rossetti
2
WITHIN THE VEIL

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

She holds a lily in her hand,
Where long ranks of Angels stand;
A silver lily for her wand.

All her hair falls sweeping down,
Her hair that is a golden brown;
A crown beneath her golden crown.

Blooms a rose-bush at her knee,
Good to smell and good to see;
It bears a rose for her, for me:

Her rose a blossom richly grown,
My rose a bud not fully blown,
But sure one day to be mine own.


"A Word for the Dumb" by Christina Rossetti
3
A WORD FOR THE DUMB

BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Pity the sorrows of a poor old Dog
Who wags his tail a-begging in his need:
Despise not even the sorrows of a Frog,
God's creature too, and that's enough to plead:
Spare Puss who trusts us purring on our hearth:
Spare Bunny once so frisky and so free:
Spare all the harmless tenants of the earth:
Spare, and be spared:--or who shall plead for thee?


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