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Short poem

Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt (1836-1919)

The Christening

              1In vain we broider cap and cloak, and fold
              2    The long robe, white and rare;
              3In vain we serve on dishes of red gold,
              4    Perhaps, the rich man's fare;
              5In vain we bid the fabled folk who bring
              6    All gifts the world holds sweet:
              7This one, forsooth, shall give the child to sing;
              8    To move like music this shall charm its feet;
              9    This help the cheek to blush, the heart to beat.

            10Unto the christening there shall surely come
            11    The Uninvited Guest,
            12The evil mother, weird and wise, with some
            13    Sad purpose in her breast.
            14Yea and though every spinning-wheel be stilled
            15    In all the country round,
            16Behold, her prophecy must be fulfilled;
            17    The turret with the spindle will be found,
            18    And the white hand will reach and take the wound.


11] This is the story of Sleeping Beauty, the daughter of a king and queen for whose christening they invited twelve of the thirteen wise women known in the realm. However, the thirteenth showed up unexpectedly just as the twelfth was to give her gift to the baby. Outraged at the snub, the thirteenth, uninvited guest set a curse on the girl: at fifteen years old she would die by accidentally pricking her finger on a spindle. The twelfth wise woman could not remove the curse, but she ameliorated it so that the girl would fall into a one-hundred-years sleep. So it came to pass. And who should wake the girl, at the end of that time, but a handsome prince who woke her with a kiss. They then got married and lived ... happily ever after.

Online text copyright © 2004, 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: S. M. B. Piatt, "The Christening," Atlantic Monthly 53.320 (June 1884): 779.
First publication date: 1884
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/4/15

Rhyme: ababcdcdd

Other poems by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt