Christina Rossetti: Poems


Young Love lies sleeping

In May-time of the year,

Among the lilies,

Lapped in the tender light:

White lambs come grazing,

White doves come building there:

And round about him

The May-bushes are white.

Soft moss the pillow

For oh, a softer cheek; 10

Broad leaves cast shadow

Upon the heavy eyes:

There winds and waters

Grow lulled and scarcely speak;

There twilight lingers

The longest in the skies.

Young Love lies dreaming;

But who shall tell the dream?

A perfect sunlight

On rustling forest tips; 20

Or perfect moonlight

Upon a rippling stream;

Or perfect silence,

Or song of cherished lips.

Burn odours round him

To fill the drowsy air;

Weave silent dances

Around him to and fro;

For oh, in waking

The sights are not so fair, 30

And song and silence

Are not like these below.

Young Love lies dreaming

Till summer days are gone,--

Dreaming and drowsing

Away to perfect sleep:

He sees the beauty

Sun hath not looked upon,

And tastes the fountain

Unutterably deep. 40

Him perfect music

Doth hush unto his rest,

And through the pauses

The perfect silence calms:

Oh, poor the voices

Of earth from east to west,

And poor earth's stillness

Between her stately palms.

Young Love lies drowsing

Away to poppied death; 50

Cool shadows deepen

Across the sleeping face:

So fails the summer

With warm, delicious breath;

And what hath autumn

To give us in its place?

Draw close the curtains

Of branched evergreen;

Change cannot touch them

With fading fingers sere: 60

Here the first violets

Perhaps will bud unseen,

And a dove, may be,

Return to nestle here.