Christina Rossetti: Poems

Paradise: In A Dream

(Lyra Messianica, second edition, 1865.)

Once in a dream I saw the flowers

That bud and bloom in Paradise;

More fair they are than waking eyes

Have seen in all this world of ours.

And faint the perfume-bearing rose,

And faint the lily on its stem,

And faint the perfect violet

Compared with them.

I heard the songs of Paradise:

Each bird sat singing in his place; 10

A tender song so full of grace

It soared like incense to the skies.

Each bird sat singing to his mate

Soft cooing notes among the trees:

The nightingale herself were cold

To such as these.

I saw the fourfold River flow,

And deep it was, with golden sand;

It flowed between a mossy land

With murmured music grave and low. 20

It hath refreshment for all thirst,

For fainting spirits strength and rest:

Earth holds not such a draught as this

From east to west.

The Tree of Life stood budding there,

Abundant with its twelvefold fruits;

Eternal sap sustains its roots,

Its shadowing branches fill the air.

Its leaves are healing for the world,

Its fruit the hungry world can feed, 30

Sweeter than honey to the taste

And balm indeed.

I saw the gate called Beautiful;

And looked, but scarce could look, within;

I saw the golden streets begin,

And outskirts of the glassy pool.

Oh harps, oh crowns of plenteous stars,

Oh green palm-branches many-leaved--

Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard,

Nor heart conceived. 40

I hope to see these things again,

But not as once in dreams by night;

To see them with my very sight,

And touch, and handle, and attain:

To have all Heaven beneath my feet

For narrow way that once they trod;

To have my part with all the saints,

And with my God.