Christina Rossetti: Poems

Devotional Pieces: After This The Judgement

As eager homebound traveller to the goal,

Or steadfast seeker on an unsearched main,

Or martyr panting for an aureole,

My fellow-pilgrims pass me, and attain

That hidden mansion of perpetual peace

Where keen desire and hope dwell free from pain:

That gate stands open of perennial ease;

I view the glory till I partly long,

Yet lack the fire of love which quickens these.

O passing Angel, speed me with a song, 10

A melody of heaven to reach my heart

And rouse me to the race and make me strong;

Till in such music I take up my part

Swelling those Hallelujahs full of rest,

One, tenfold, hundredfold, with heavenly art,

Fulfilling north and south and east and west,

Thousand, ten thousandfold, innumerable,

All blent in one yet each one manifest;

Each one distinguished and beloved as well

As if no second voice in earth or heaven 20

Were lifted up the Love of God to tell.

Ah, Love of God, which Thine own Self hast given

To me most poor, and made me rich in love,

Love that dost pass the tenfold seven times seven,

Draw Thou mine eyes, draw Thou my heart above,

My treasure ad my heart store Thou in Thee,

Brood over me with yearnings of a dove;

Be Husband, Brother, closest Friend to me;

Love me as very mother loves her son,

Her sucking firstborn fondled on her knee: 30

Yea, more than mother loves her little one;

For, earthly, even a mother may forget

And feel no pity for its piteous moan;

But thou, O Love of God, remember yet,

Through the dry desert, through the waterflood

(Life, death) until the Great White Throne is set.

If now I am sick in chewing the bitter cud

Of sweet past sin, though solaced by Thy grace

And ofttimes strengthened by Thy Flesh and Blood,

How shall I then stand up before Thy face 40

When from Thine eyes repentance shall be hid

And utmost Justice stand in Mercy's place:

When every sin I thought or spoke or did

Shall meet me at the inexorable bar,

And there be no man standing in the mid

To plead for me; while star fallen after star

With heaven and earth are like a ripened shock,

And all time's mighty works and wonders are

Consumed as in a moment; when no rock

Remains to fall on me, no tree to hide, 50

But I stand all creation's gazing-stock

Exposed and comfortless on every side,

Placed trembling in the final balances

Whose poise this hour, this moment, must be tried?--

Ah Love of God, if greater love than this

Hath no man, that a man die for his friend,

And if such love of love Thine Own Love is,

Plead with Thyself, with me, before the end;

Redeem me from the irrevocable past;

Pitch Thou Thy Presence round me to defend; 60

Yea seek with pierced feet, yea hold me fast

With pierced hands whose wounds were made by love;

Not what I am, remember what Thou wast

When darkness hid from Thee Thy heavens above,

And sin Thy Father's Face, while thou didst drink

The bitter cup of death, didst taste thereof

For every man; while Thou wast nigh to sink

Beneath the intense intolerable rod,

Grown sick of love; not what I am, but think

Thy Life then ransomed mine, my God, my God. 70