Christina Rossetti: Poems

Beauty Is Vain

While roses are so red,

While lilies are so white,

Shall a woman exalt her face

Because it gives delight?

She's not so sweet as a rose,

A lily's straighter than she,

And if she were as red or white

She'd be but one of three.

Whether she flush in love's summer

Or in its winter grow pale, 10

Whether she flaunt her beauty

Or hide it away in a veil,

Be she red or white,

And stand she erect or bowed,

Time will win the race he runs with her

And hide her away in a shroud.