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Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

The Three Enemies


THE FLESH
              1"Sweet, thou art pale."
              2      "More pale to see,
              3Christ hung upon the cruel tree
              4And bore His Father's wrath for me."

              5"Sweet, thou art sad."
              6      "Beneath a rod
              7More heavy, Christ for my sake trod
              8The winepress of the wrath of God."

              9"Sweet, thou art weary."
            10      "Not so Christ:
            11Whose mighty love of me suffic'd
            12For Strength, Salvation, Eucharist."

            13"Sweet, thou art footsore."
            14      "If I bleed,
            15His feet have bled; yea in my need
            16His Heart once bled for mine indeed."

THE WORLD
            17"Sweet, thou art young."
            18      "So He was young
            19Who for my sake in silence hung
            20Upon the Cross with Passion wrung."

            21"Look, thou art fair."
            22      "He was more fair
            23Than men, Who deign'd for me to wear
            24A visage marr'd beyond compare."

            25"And thou hast riches."
            26      "Daily bread:
            27All else is His: Who, living, dead,
            28For me lack'd where to lay His Head."

            29"And life is sweet."
            30      "It was not so
            31To Him, Whose Cup did overflow
            32With mine unutterable woe."

THE DEVIL
            33"Thou drinkest deep."
            34      "When Christ would sup
            35He drain'd the dregs from out my cup:
            36So how should I be lifted up?"

            37"Thou shalt win Glory."
            38      "In the skies,
            39Lord Jesus, cover up mine eyes
            40Lest they should look on vanities."

            41"Thou shalt have Knowledge."
            42      "Helpless dust!
            43In Thee, O Lord, I put my trust:
            44Answer Thou for me, Wise and Just."

            45"And Might."--
            46      "Get thee behind me. Lord,
            47Who hast redeem'd and not abhorr'd
            48My soul, oh keep it by Thy Word."

Notes

1] Written in June 1851, and first published in the 1862 collection.

6] The wine-press of the wrath of God. Cf. Isaiah 63: 2-3.

16-18] Cf. Isaiah 53: 2-3.

34] "Get thee behind me." Cf. Mark 8: 33.


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: Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market and other Poems (Cambridge: Macmillan, 1862). end R673 G63 1862 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto). Text from Christina Rossetti, Poems (1890).
First publication date: 1862
RPO poem editor: Margaret Frances (Sister St. Francis) Nims
RP edition: 3RP 3.302.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/14

Composition date: 1851
Form: triplets


Other poems by Christina Rossetti