Saturday, April 07, 2007

Christina Rossetti on Easter Eve

EASTER EVEN

There is nothing more that they can do
For all their rage and boast :
Caiaphas with his blaspheming crew,
Herod with his host;

Pontius Pilate in his judgment hall
Judging their Judge and his,
Or he who led them all and past them all,
Arch-Judas with his kiss.

The sepulchre made sure with ponderous stone,
Seal that same stone, O priest :
It may be thou shalt block the Holy One
From rising in the east.

Set a watch about the sepulchre
To watch on pain of death :
They must hold fast the stone if One should stir
And shake it from beneath.

God Almighty, He can break a seal,
And roll away a stone :
Can grind the proud in dust who would not kneel,
And crush the mighty one.

There is nothing more that they can do
For all their passionate care,
Those who sit in dust, the blessed few,
And weep and rend their hair.

Peter, Thomas, Mary Magdalen,
The Virgin unreproved,
Joseph and Nicodemus foremost men,
And John the well-beloved.

Bring your finest linen and your spice,
Swathe the sacred Dead,
Bind with careful hands and piteous eyes
The napkin round His head :

Lay Him in the garden-rock to rest :
Rest you the Sabbath length :
The Sun that went down crimson in the west
Shall rise renewed in strength.

God Almighty shall give joy for pain,
Shall comfort him who grieves :
Lo He with joy shall doubtless come again
And with Him bring His sheaves.

23 March 1861.


RESURRECTION EVE

He resteth: weep not;
The living sleep not
With so much calm.
He hears no chiding
And no deriding,
Hath joy for sorrow,
For night hath morrow,
For wounds hath balm,
For life's strange riot
Hath death and quiet.
Who would recall him
Of those that love him?
No fears appall him,
No ills befall him;
There's nought above him
Save turf and flowers
And pleasant grass.
Pass the swift hours,
How swiftly pass !
The hours of slumber
He doth not number;
Grey hours of morning
Ere the day's dawning;
Brightened by gleams
Of the sunbeams,
By the foreseeing
Of resurrection,
Of glorious being,
Of full perfection,
Of sins forgiven
Before the face
Of men and spirits;
Of God in heaven,
The resting-place
That he inherits.

8 April 1847.

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