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
784. Passing Away
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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