Christina Rossetti: Poems


I took my heart in my hand

(O my love, O my love),

I said: Let me fall or stand,

Let me live or die,

But this once hear me speak--

(O my love, O my love)--

Yet a woman's words are weak;

You should speak, not I.

You took my heart in your hand

With a friendly smile, 10

With a critical eye you scanned,

Then set it down,

And said: It is still unripe,

Better wait awhile;

Wait while the skylarks pipe,

Till the corn grows brown.

As you set it down it broke--

Broke, but I did not wince;

I smiled at the speech you spoke,

At your judgement that I heard: 20

But I have not often smiled

Since then, nor questioned since,

Nor cared for corn-flowers wild,

Nor sung with the singing bird.

I take my heart in my hand,

O my God, O my God,

My broken heart in my hand:

Thou hast seen, judge Thou.

My hope was written on sand,

O my God, O my God: 30

Now let thy judgement stand--

Yea, judge me now.

This contemned of a man,

This marred one heedless day,

This heart take Thou to scan

Both within and without:

Refine with fire its gold,

Purge thou its dross away--

Yea, hold it in Thy hold,

Whence none can pluck it out. 40

I take my heart in my hand--

I shall not die, but live--

Before Thy face I stand;

I, for Thou callest such:

All that I have I bring,

All that I am I give,

Smile Thou and I shall sing,

But shall not question much.