Poetry - Christina Rossetti - Flowers
Christina Rossetti


The Rose
O Rose, thou flower of flowers, thou fragrant wonder, Who shall describe thee in thy ruddy prime; Thy perfect fulness in the summer time; When the pale leaves blushingly part asunder And show the warm red heart lies glowing under? Thou shouldst bloom surely in some sunny clime, Untouched by blights and chilly Winter's rime, Where lightninggs never flash, nor peals the thunder. And yet in happier spheres they cannot need thee So much as we do with our weight of woe; Perhaps they would not tend, perhaps not need thee, And thou wouldst lonely and neglected grow; And He Who is All-Wise, He hath decreed thee To gladden earth and cheer all hearts below.

Oh roses for the flush of youth, And laurel for the perfect prime; But pluck an ivy branch for me Grown old before my time. Oh violets for the grave of youth, And bay for those dead in their prime; Give me the withered leaves I chose Before in the old time.

An October Garden
In my Autumn garden I was fain To mourn among my scattered roses; Alas for that last rosebud which uncloses To Autumn's languid sun and rain When all the world is on the wane! Which has not felt the sweet constraint of June, Nor heard the nightingale in tune. Broad-faced asters by my garden walk, You are but coarse compared with roses: More choice, more dear that rosebud which uncloses Faint-scented, pinched, upon its stalk, That least and last which cold winds balk; A rose it is though least and last of all, A rose to me though at the fall.

Bitter For Sweet
Summer is gone with all its roses, Its sun and perfumes and sweet flowers, Its warm air and refreshing showers: And even Autumn closes. Yea, Autumn's chilly self is going, And winter comes which is yet colder; Each day the hoar-frost waxes bolder, And the last buds cease blowing.

Endure Hardness
A cold wind stirs the blackthorn To burgeon and to blow, Besprinkling half-green hedges With flakes and sprays of snow. Through coldness and through keenness, Dear hearts, take comfort so: Somewhere or other doubtless These make the blackthorn blow.

Hope Is Like A Harebell Trembling From Its Birth
Hope is like a harebell trembling from its birth, Love is like a rose the joy of all the earth; Faith is like a lily lifted high and white, Love is like a lovely rose the world's delight; Harebells and sweet lilies show a thornless growth, But the rose with all its thorns excels them both.

Growing In The Vale
Growing in the vale By the uplands hilly, Growing straight and frail, Lady Daffadowndilly. In a golden crown, And a scant green gown While the spring blows chilly, Lady Daffadown, Sweet Daffadowndilly.

O Wind, Where Have You Been
O wind, where have you been, That you blow so sweet? Among the violets Which blossom at your feet. The honeysuckle waits For Summer and for heat. But violets in the chilly Spring Make the turf so sweet.

Minnie And Mattie
Minnie and Mattie And fat little May, Out in the country, Spending a day. Such a bright day, With the sun glowing, And the trees half in leaf, And the grass growing. Pinky white pigling Squeals through his snout, Woolly white lambkin Frisks all about. Cluck! cluck! the nursing hen Summons her folk, - Ducklings all downy soft Yellow as yolk. Cluck! cluck! the mother hen Summons her chickens To peck the dainty bits Found in her pickings. Minnie and Mattie And May carry posies, Half of sweet violets, Half of primroses. Give the sun time enough, Glowing and glowing, He'll rouse the roses And bring them blowing. Don't wait for roses Losing to-day, O Minnie, Mattie, And wise little May. Violets and primroses Blossom to-day For Minnie and Mattie And fat little May.

Heartsease In My Garden Bed
Heartsease in my garden bed, With sweetwilliam white and red, Honeysuckle on my wall: - Heartsease blossoms in my heart When sweet William comes to call, But it withers when we part, And the honey-trumpets fall.

There Is But One May In The Year
There is but one May in the year, And sometimes May is wet and cold; There is but one May in the year Before the year grows old. Yet though it be the chilliest May, With least of sun and most of showers, Its wind and dew, its night and day, Bring up the flowers.

Brown And Furry
Brown and furry Caterpillar in a hurry, Take your walk To the shady leaf, or stalk, Or what not, Which may be the chosen spot. No toad spy you, Hovering bird of prey pass by you; Spin and die, To live again a butterfly.

What Is Pink? A Rose Is Pink
What is pink? a rose is pink By the fountain's brink. What is red? a poppy's red In its barley bed. What is blue? the sky is blue Where the clouds float through. What is white? a swan is white Sailing in the light. What is yellow? pears are yellow, Rich and ripe and mellow. What is green? the grass is green, With small flowers between. What is violet? clouds are violet In the summer twilight. What is orange? why, an orange, Just an orange!

Where Innocent Bright-Eyed Daisies Are
Where innocent bright-eyed daisies are, With blades of grass between, Each daisy stands up like a star Out of a sky of green.

The Peacock Has A Score Of Eyes
The peacock has a score of eyes, With which he cannot see; The cod-fish has a silent sound, However that may be; No dandelions tell the time, Although they turn to clocks; Cat's-cradle does not hold the cat, Nor foxglove fit the fox.

If Hope Grew On A Bush
If hope grew on a bush, And joy grew on a tree, What a nosegay for the plucking There would be! But oh! in windy autumn, When frail flowers wither, What should we do for hope and joy, Fading together?

Under The Ivy Bush
Under the ivy bush One sits sighing, And under the willow tree One sits crying: - Under the ivy bush Cease from your sighing, But under the willow-tree Lie down a-dying.

The Lily Has An Air
The lily has an air, And the snowdrop a grace, And the sweetpea a way, And the heartsease a face, - Yet there's nothing like the rose When she blows.
In The Meadow - What In The Meadow
In the meadow - what in the meadow ? Bluebells, buttercups, meadowsweet, And fairy rings for the children's feet In the meadow. In the garden - what in the garden ? Jacob's-ladder and Solomon's-seal, And Love-lies-bleeding beside All-heal In the garden.

I Have But One Rose In The World
I have but one rose in the world, And my one rose stands a-drooping: Oh, when my single rose is dead There'll be but thorns for stooping.

Rosy Maiden Winifred
Rosy maiden Winifred, With a milkpail on her head, Tripping through the corn, While the dew lies on the wheat In the sunny morn. Scarlet shepherd's-weatherglass Spreads wide open at her feet As they pass; Cornflowers give their almond smell While she brushes by, And a lark sings from the sky All is well.

Blind From My Birth
Blind from my birth, Where flowers are springing I sit on earth All dark. Hark! hark! A lark is singing. His notes are all for me, For me his mirth: - Till some day I shall see Beautiful flowers And birds in bowers Where all Joy Bells are ringing.

Roses Blushing Red And White
Roses blushing red and white, For delight; Honeysuckle wreaths above, For love; Dim sweet-scented heliotrope, For hope; Shining lilies tall and straight, For royal state; Dusky pansies, let them be For memory; With violets of fragrant breath, For death.

A Ring Upon Her Finger
A ring upon her finger, Walks the bride, With the bridegroom tall and handsome At her side. A veil upon her forehead Walks the bride, With the bridegroom proud and merry At her side. Fling flowers beneath the footsteps Of the bride; Fling flowers before the bridegroom At her side.

The Lily Has A Smooth Stalk
The lily has a smooth stalk, Will never hurt your hand; But the rose upon her briar Is lady of the land. There's sweetness in an apple tree, And profit in the corn; But lady of all beauty Is a rose upon a thorn. When with moss and honey She tips her bending briar, And half unfolds her glowing heart, She sets the world on fire.

The Rose With Such A Bonny Blush
The rose with such a bonny blush, What has the rose to blush about? If it's the sun that makes her flush, What's in the sun to flush about?

The Rose That Blushes Rosy Red
The rose that blushes rosy red, She must hang her head; The lily that blows spotless white, She may stand upright.

Oh, Fair To See
Oh, fair to see Blossom-laden cherry tree, Arrayed in sunny white; An April day's delight, Oh, fair to see! Oh, fair to see Fruit-laden cherry tree, With balls of shining red Decking a leafy head, Oh, fair to see!

A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
A rose has thorns as well as honey, I'll not have her for love or money; An iris grows so straight and fine, That she shall be no friend of mine; Snowdrops like the snow would chill me; Nightshade would caress and kill me; Crocus like a spear would fright me; Dragon's-mouth might bark or bite me; Convolvulus but blooms to die; A wind-flower suggests a sigh; Love-lies-bleeding makes me sad; And poppy-juice would drive me mad: - But give me holly, bold and jolly, Honest, prickly, shining holly; Pluck me holly leaf and berry For the day when I make merry.

If Stars Dropped Out Of Heaven
If stars dropped out of heaven, And if flowers took their place, The sky would still look very fair, And fair earth's face. Winged angels might fly down to us To pluck the stars, Be we could only long for flowers Beyond the cloudy bars.

A Green Cornfield
“And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.”
The earth was green, the sky was blue: I saw and heard one sunny morn A skylark hang between the two, A singing speck above the corn; A stage below, in gay accord, White butterflies danced on the wing, And still the singing skylark soared And silent sank, and soared to sing. The cornfield stretched a tender green To right and left beside my walks; I knew he had a nest unseen Somewhere among the million stalks: And as I paused to hear his song While swift the sunny moments slid, Perhaps his mate sat listening long, And listened longer than I did.

Gone for ever
O happy rosebud blooming Upon thy parent tree, Nay, thou art too presuming For soon the earth entombing Thy faded charms shall be, And the chill damp consuming. O happy skylark springing Up to the broad blue sky, Too fearless in thy winging, Too gladsome in thy singing, Thou also soon shalt lie Where no sweet notes are ringing. And through life's shine and shower We shall have joy and pain; But in the summer bower, And at the morning hour, We still shall look in vain For the same bird and flower.

Christina Georgina Rossetti

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Update: 29-04-2016.