Christina Rossetti: Poems

Easter Even

(Lyra Messianica, 1864.)

There is nothing more that they can do

For all their rage and boast;

Caiaphas with his blaspheming crew,

Herod with his host,

Pontius Pilate in his Judgement-hall

Judging their Judge and his,

Or he who led them all and passed them all,

Arch-Judas with his kiss.

The sepulchre made sure with ponderous Stone,

Seal that same stone, O Priest; 10

It may be thou shalt block the holy One

From rising in the east:

Set a watch about the sepulchre

To watch on pain of death;

They must hold fast the stone if One should stir

And shake it from beneath.

God Almighty, He can break a seal

And roll away a Stone,

Can grind the proud in dust who would not kneel,

And crush the mighty one. 20

* * * * * * *

There is nothing more that they can do

For all their passionate care,

Those who sit in dust, the blessed few,

And weep and rend their hair:

Peter, Thomas, Mary Magdalene,

The Virgin unreproved,

Joseph, with Nicodemus, foremost men,

And John the Well-beloved,

Bring your finest linen and your spice,

Swathe the sacred Dead, 30

Bind with careful hands and piteous eyes

The napkin round His head;

Lay Him in the garden-rock to rest;

Rest you the Sabbath length:

The Sun that went down crimson in the west

Shall rise renewed in strength.

God Almighty shall give joy for pain,

Shall comfort him who grieves:

Lo! He with joy shall doubtless come again,

And with Him bring His sheaves. 40