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About this Poem 

This poem was published in Poems of Christina Rossetti (Macmillan, 1904).

Autumn

I dwell alone—I dwell alone, alone,
Whilst full my river flows down to the sea,
     Gilded with flashing boats
          That bring no friend to me:
O love-songs, gurgling from a hundred throats,
          O love-pangs, let me be.

Fair fall the freighted boats which gold and stone
          And spices bear to sea:
Slim gleaming maidens swell their mellow notes,
          Love-promising, entreating—
          Ah sweet but fleeting—
Beneath the shivering, snow-white sails.
     Hush! the wind flags and fails—
Hush! they will lie becalmed in sight of strand—
Sight of my strand, where I do dwell alone;
Their songs wake singing echoes in my land—
     They cannot hear me moan.

One latest, solitary swallow flies
Across the sea, rough autumn-tempest-tost:
          Poor bird, shall it be lost?
Dropped down into this uncongenial sea,
              With no kind eyes
              To watch it while it dies,
     Unguessed, uncared for, free:
              Set free at last,
              The short pang past,
In sleep, in death, in dreamless sleep locked fast.

Mine avenue is all a growth of oaks,
          Some rent by thunder strokes,
Some rustling leaves and acorns in the breeze;
          Fair fall my fertile trees,
That rear their goodly heads, and live at ease.

A spider’s web blocks all mine avenue;
He catches down and foolish painted flies,
          That spider wary and wise.
Each morn it hangs a rainbow strung with dew
          Betwixt boughs green with sap,
So fair, few creatures guess it is a trap:
          I will not mar the web,
Though sad I am to see the small lives ebb.

It shakes—my trees shake—for a wind is roused
          In cavern where it housed:
          Each white and quivering sail
     Of boats among the water-leaves
Hollows and strains in the full-throated gale:
          Each maiden sings again—
     Each languid maiden, whom the calm
Had lulled to sleep with rest and spice and balm.
     Miles down my river to the sea
              They float and wane,
           Long miles away from me.

          Perhaps they say: ‘She grieves,
Uplifted like a beacon on her tower.’
          Perhaps they say: ‘One hour
More, and we dance among the golden sheaves.
          Perhaps they say: ‘One hour
              More, and we stand,
          Face to face, hand in hand;
Make haste, O slack gale, to the looked-for land!’

          My trees are not in flower,
              I have no bower,
          And gusty creaks my tower,
And lonesome, very lonesome, is my strand.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti

Born in 1839 in London, Christina Rossetti, the author of Goblin Market and Other Poems, is a major Victorian Poet.

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My friends had failed one by one,
     Middle-aged, young, and old,
Till the ghosts were warmed to me
     Than my friends that had grown

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By day she woos me, soft, exceeding fair:
   But all night as the moon so changeth she;
   Loathsome and foul with hideous leprosy
And subtle serpents gliding in her hair.
By day she wooes me to the outer air,
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   But through the night, a

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O love, love, hold me fast,
He draws me away from thee;
I cannot stem the blast,
Nor the cold strong sea:
Far away a light shines
Beyond the hills and pines;
It is lit for me.

            Bridegroom

I have thee close, my dear,
No terror can come near;
Only