Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
Passing Away
By Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–1894)
 
PASSING away, saith the World, passing away:
Chances, beauty and youth sapp’d day by day:
Thy life never continueth in one stay.
Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to gray
That hath won neither laurel nor bay?        5
I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May:
Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay
On my bosom for aye.
Then I answer’d: Yea.
 
Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away:        10
With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play,
Hearken what the past doth witness and say:
Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array,
A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay.
At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day,        15
Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay:
Watch thou and pray.
Then I answer’d: Yea.
 
Passing away, saith my God, passing away:
Winter passeth after the long delay:        20
New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray,
Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven’s May.
Though I tarry, wait for me, trust me, watch and pray.
Arise, come away; night is past, and lo, it is day;
My love, my sister, my spouse, thou shalt hear me say—        25
Then I answer’d: Yea.
 
 
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