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In The Willow Shade

Written by: Christina Rossetti | Biography
 | Quotes (8) |
 I sat beneath a willow tree,
Where water falls and calls;
While fancies upon fancies solaced me,
Some true, and some were false.
Who set their heart upon a hope That never comes to pass, Droop in the end like fading heliotrope The sun's wan looking-glass.
Who set their will upon a whim Clung to through good and ill, Are wrecked alike whether they sink or swim, Or hit or miss their will.
All things are vain that wax and wane, For which we waste our breath; Love only doth not wane and is not vain, Love only outlives death.
A singing lark rose toward the sky, Circling he sang amain; He sang, a speck scarce visible sky-high, And then he sank again.
A second like a sunlit spark Flashed singing up his track; But never overtook that foremost lark, And songless fluttered back.
A hovering melody of birds Haunted the air above; They clearly sang contentment without words, And youth and joy and love.
O silvery weeping willow tree With all leaves shivering, Have you no purpose but to shadow me Beside this rippled spring? On this first fleeting day of Spring, For Winter is gone by, And every bird on every quivering wing Floats in a sunny sky; On this first Summer-like soft day, While sunshine steeps the air, And every cloud has gat itself away, And birds sing everywhere.
Have you no purpose in the world But thus to shadow me With all your tender drooping twigs unfurled, O weeping willow tree? With all your tremulous leaves outspread Betwixt me and the sun, While here I loiter on a mossy bed With half my work undone; My work undone, that should be done At once with all my might; For after the long day and lingering sun Comes the unworking night.
This day is lapsing on its way, Is lapsing out of sight; And after all the chances of the day Comes the resourceless night.
The weeping willow shook its head And stretched its shadow long; The west grew crimson, the sun smoldered red, The birds forbore a song.
Slow wind sighed through the willow leaves, The ripple made a moan, The world drooped murmuring like a thing that grieves; And then I felt alone.
I rose to go, and felt the chill, And shivered as I went; Yet shivering wondered, and I wonder still, What more that willow meant; That silvery weeping willow tree With all leaves shivering, Which spent one long day overshadowing me Beside a spring in Spring.



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