Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
Newborn Death
By Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)
TO-DAY Death seems to me an infant child
  Which her worn mother Life upon my knee
  Has set to grow my friend and play with me;
If haply so my heart might be beguil’d
To find no terrors in a face so mild,—        5
  If haply so my weary heart might be
  Unto the newborn milky eyes of thee,
O Death, before resentment reconcil’d.
How long, O Death? And shall thy feet depart
  Still a young child’s with mine, or wilt thou stand        10
Fullgrown the helpful daughter of my heart,
  What time with thee indeed I reach the strand
Of the pale wave which knows thee what thou art,
  And drink it in the hollow of thy hand?
And thou, O Life, the lady of all bliss,
  With whom, when our first heart beat full and fast,
  I wandered till the haunts of men were pass’d,
And in fair places found all bowers amiss
Till only woods and waves might hear our kiss,
  While to the winds all thought of Death we cast:—        20
  Ah, Life! and must I have from thee at last
No smile to greet me and no babe but this?
Lo! Love, the child once ours; and Song, whose hair
  Blew like a flame and blossomed like a wreath;
And Art, whose eyes were worlds by God found fair;        25
  These o’er the book of Nature mixed their breath
With neck-twined arms, as oft we watched them there:
  And did these die that thou might’st bear me Death?

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