Echo

- 1830-1894
Come to me in the silence of the night;
    Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
    As sunlight on a stream;
       Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
    Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimful of love abide and meet;
    Where thirsting longing eyes
       Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
    My very life again though cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
    Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
       Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago!

More by Christina Rossetti

An Apple Gathering

I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple-tree
    And wore them all that evening in my hair:
Then in due season when I went to see
        I found no apples there.

With dangling basket all along the grass
    As I had come I went the selfsame track:
My neighbours mocked me while they saw me pass
        So empty-handed back.

Lilian and Lilias smiled in trudging by,
    Their heaped-up basket teased me like a jeer;
Sweet-voiced they sang beneath the sunset sky,
        Their mother's home was near.

Plump Gertrude passed me with her basket full,
    A stronger hand than hers helped it along;
A voice talked with her through the shadows cool
        More sweet to me than song.

Ah Willie, Willie, was my love less worth
    Than apples with their green leaves piled above?
I counted rosiest apples on the earth
        Of far less worth than love.

So once it was with me you stooped to talk
    Laughing and listening in this very lane:
To think that by this way we used to walk
        We shall not walk again!

I let me neighbours pass me, ones and twos
    And groups; the latest said the night grew chill,
And hastened: but I loitered, while the dews
        Fell fast I loitered still.

Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,
   Gone far away into the silent land;
   When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
   You tell me of our future that you planned:
   Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
   And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
   For if the darkness and corruption leave
   A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
   Than that you should remember and be sad.

A Christmas Carol

In the bleak mid-winter
   Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
   Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
   Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter 
   Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
   Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
   When He comes to reign:
In the bleak midwinter
   A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
   Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
   Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
   And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
   Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
   Which adore.

Angels and archangels
   May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
   Thronged the air;
But only His mother
   In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
   With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
   Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
   I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
   I would do my part,—
Yet what I can I give Him,
   Give my heart.

Related Poems

The Sleep

Of all the thoughts of God that are  
Borne inward unto souls afar,  
Along the Psalmist's music deep,  
Now tell me if that any is,  
For gift or grace, surpassing this— 
'He giveth His belovèd sleep'?  
  
What would we give to our beloved?  
The hero's heart to be unmoved,  
The poet's star-tuned harp, to sweep,  
The patriot's voice, to teach and rouse,
The monarch's crown, to light the brows?  
He giveth His belovèd, sleep.  
  
What do we give to our beloved?  
A little faith all undisproved,  
A little dust to overweep,  
And bitter memories to make  
The whole earth blasted for our sake.  
He giveth His belovèd, sleep.  
  
'Sleep soft, beloved!' we sometimes say,  
But have no tune to charm away
Sad dreams that through the eye-lids creep.  
But never doleful dream again  
Shall break the happy slumber when  
He giveth His belovèd, sleep.  
  
O earth, so full of dreary noises!
O men, with wailing in your voices!  
O delvèd gold, the wailers heap!  
O strife, O curse, that o'er it fall!  
God strikes a silence through you all,  
He giveth His belovèd, sleep.
  
His dews drop mutely on the hill;  
His cloud above it saileth still,  
Though on its slope men sow and reap.  
More softly than the dew is shed,  
Or cloud is floated overhead,
He giveth His belovèd, sleep.  
  
Aye, men may wonder while they scan  
A living, thinking, feeling man  
Confirmed in such a rest to keep;  
But angels say, and through the word 
I think their happy smile is heard—  
'He giveth His belovèd, sleep.'  
  
For me, my heart that erst did go  
Most like a tired child at a show,  
That sees through tears the mummers leap, 
Would now its wearied vision close,  
Would child-like on His love repose,  
Who giveth His belovèd, sleep.  
  
And, friends, dear friends,—when it shall be  
That this low breath is gone from me,
And round my bier ye come to weep,  
Let One, most loving of you all,  
Say, 'Not a tear must o'er her fall;  
He giveth His belovèd, sleep.'