Christina Rossetti: Poems

A Peal Of Bells

Strike the bells wantonly,

Tinkle tinkle well;

Bring me wine, bring me flowers,

Ring the silver bell.

All my lamps burn scented oil,

Hung on laden orange-trees,

Whose shadowed foliage is the foil

To golden lamps and oranges.

Heap my golden plates with fruit,

Golden fruit, fresh-plucked and ripe; 10

Strike the bells and breathe the pipe;

Shut out showers from summer hours--

Silence that complaining lute--

Shut out thinking, shut out pain,

From hours that cannot come again.

Strike the bells solemnly,

Ding dong deep:

My friend is passing to his bed,

Fast asleep;

There's plaited linen round his head, 20

While foremost go his feet--

His feet that cannot carry him.

My feast's a show, my lights are dim;

Be still, your music is not sweet,--

There is no music more for him:

His lights are out, his feast is done;

His bowl that sparkled to the brim

Is drained, is broken, cannot hold;

My blood is chill, his blood is cold;

His death is full, and mine begun. 30