Sunday, July 08, 2007








Eve


'While I sit at the door


Sick to gaze within


Mine eye weepeth sore


For sorrow and sin:


As a tree my sin stands


To darken all lands;


Death is the fruit it bore.




'How have Eden bowers grow


Without Adam to bend them!


How have Eden flowers blown


Squandering their sweet breath


Without me to tend them!


The Tree of Life was ours,


Tree twelvefold-fruited,


Most lofty tree that flowers,


Most deeply rooted:


I chose the tree of death.




'Hadst thou but said me nay,


Adam, my brother,


I might have pined away;


I, but none other:


God might have let thee stay


Safe in our garden,


By putting me away


Beyond all pardon.




'I, Eve, sad mother


Of all who must live,


I, not another,


Plucked bitterest fruit to give


My friend, husband, lover;--


O wanton eyes run over;


Who but I should grieve;--


Cain hath slain his brother:


Of all who must die mother,


Miserable Eve!'




Thus she sat weeping,


Thus Eve our mother,


Where one lay sleeping


Slain by his brother.


Greatest and least


Each piteous beast


To hear her voice


Forgot his joys


And set aside his feast.




The mouse paused in his walk


And dropped his wheaten stalk;


Brave cattle wagged their heads


In rumination;


The eagle gave a cry


From his cloud station;


Larks on thyme beds


Forbore to mount or sing;


Bees drooped upon the wing;


The raven perched on high


Forgot his ration;


The conies in their rock,


A feeble nation,


Quaked sympathetical;


The mocking-bird left off to mock;


Huge camels knelt as if


In deprecation;


The kind hart's tears were falling;


Chattered the wistful stork;


Dove-voices with a dying fall


Cooed desolation


Answering grief by grief.




Only the serpent in the dust


Wriggling and crawling,


Grinned an evil grin and thrust


His tongue out with its fork.




--Christina Rossetti, 1865




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