Category Archives: Poetry

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare


Christina Rossetti: Love from the North

I had a love in soft south land,
Beloved through April far in May;
He waited on my lightest breath,
And never dared to say me nay.

He saddened if my cheer was sad,
But gay he grew if I was gay;
We never differed on a hair,
My yes his yes, my nay his nay.

The wedding hour was come, the aisles
Were flushed with sun and flowers that day;
I pacing balanced in my thoughts:
‘It’s quite too late to think of nay.’—

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Christina Rossetti: Maude Clare

Out of the church she followed them
With a lofty step and mien:
His bride was like a village maid,
Maude Clare was like a queen.

“Son Thomas,” his lady mother said,
With smiles, almost with tears:
“May Nell and you but live as true
As we have done for years;

“Your father thirty years ago
Had just your tale to tell;
But he was not so pale as you,
Nor I so pale as Nell.”

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I Am Thine

I am thine, thou art mine,
And this shall be a sure sign:
Locked fast thou art
Within my heart,
And lost forever is the key;
So thou inside must ever be.

This anonymous love song from the 12th century is the oldest extant German poem. It is found at the end of a Latin love letter, probably by a nun from the monastery Tegernsee. Translation by Margarete Münsterberg.


Christina Rossetti: If

If he would come to-day, to-day, to-day,
O, what a day to-day would be!
But now he’s away, miles and miles away
From me across the sea.

O little bird, flying, flying, flying
To your nest in the warm west,
Tell him as you pass that I am dying,
As you pass home to your nest.

I have a sister, I have a brother,
A faithful hound, a tame white dove;
But I had another, once I had another,
And I miss him, my love, my love!

In this weary world it is so cold, so cold,
While I sit here all alone;
I would not like to wait and to grow old,
But just to be dead and gone.

Make me fair when I lie dead on my bed,
Fair where I am lying:
Perhaps he may come and look upon me dead—
He for whom I am dying.

Dig my grave for two, with a stone to show it,
And on the stone write my name;
If he never comes, I shall never know it,
But sleep on all the same.

Written March 1866.


Christina Rossetti: A Daughter of Eve

A fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.

My garden-plot I have not kept;
Faded and all-forsaken,
I weep as I have never wept:
Oh it was summer when I slept,
It’s winter now I waken.

Talk what you please of future spring
And sun-warm’d sweet to-morrow:—
Stripp’d bare of hope and everything,
No more to laugh, no more to sing,
I sit alone with sorrow.

— From The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems, 1866.


Barbara Allen’s Cruelty

IN Scarlet towne, where I was borne,
There was a faire maid dwellin,
Made every youth crye, Wel-awaye!
Her name was Barbara Allen.

All in the merrye month of May,
When greene buds they were swellin,
Yong Jemmye Grove on his death-bed lay,
For love of Barbara Allen.

He sent his man unto her then,
To the town where shee was dwellin;
“You must come to my master deare,
Giff your name be Barbara Allen.

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