Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Christina Georgina Rossetti. 1830–1894
782. Twice
I TOOK my heart in my hand 
  (O my love, O my love), 
I said: Let me fall or stand, 
  Let me live or die, 
But this once hear me speak         5
  (O my love, O my love)— 
Yet a woman's words are weak; 
  You should speak, not I. 
You took my heart in your hand 
  With a friendly smile,  10
With a critical eye you scann'd, 
  Then set it down, 
And said, 'It is still unripe, 
  Better wait awhile; 
Wait while the skylarks pipe,  15
  Till the corn grows brown.' 
As you set it down it broke— 
  Broke, but I did not wince; 
I smiled at the speech you spoke, 
  At your judgement I heard:  20
But I have not often smiled 
  Since then, nor question'd since, 
Nor cared for cornflowers wild, 
  Nor sung with the singing bird. 
I take my heart in my hand,  25
  O my God, O my God, 
My broken heart in my hand: 
  Thou hast seen, judge Thou. 
My hope was written on sand, 
  O my God, O my God:  30
Now let thy judgement stand— 
  Yea, judge me now. 
This contemn'd of a man, 
  This marr'd one heedless day, 
This heart take thou to scan  35
  Both within and without: 
Refine with fire its gold, 
  Purge Thou its dross away— 
Yea, hold it in Thy hold, 
  Whence none can pluck it out.  40
I take my heart in my hand— 
  I shall not die, but live— 
Before Thy face I stand; 
  I, for Thou callest such: 
All that I have I bring,  45
  All that I am I give, 
Smile Thou and I shall sing, 
  But shall not question much. 
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