Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
By Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830–1894)
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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