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Short poem

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

De Profundis

              1Oh why is heaven built so far,
              2      Oh why is earth set so remote?
              3I cannot reach the nearest star
              4      That hangs afloat.

              5I would not care to reach the moon,
              6      One round monotonous of change;
              7Yet even she repeats her tune
              8      Beyond my range.

              9I never watch the scatter'd fire
            10      Of stars, or sun's far-trailing train,
            11But all my heart is one desire,
            12      And all in vain:

            13For I am bound with fleshly bands,
            14      Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;
            15I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
            16      And catch at hope.


1] The title, which means "Out of the depths," is taken from the first verse of Psalm 130.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: A Pageant and Other Poems (London: Macmillan, 1881). PR 5237 P3 1881 ROBA. Text from Christina Rossetti, Poems (1890).
First publication date: 1881
RPO poem editor: Margaret Frances (Sister St. Francis) Nims
RP edition: 3RP 3.319.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/14

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Christina Rossetti