Christina Rossetti: Christian and Jew

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

Christian and Jew

A Dialogue

'Oh happy happy land!
Angels like rushes stand
About the wells of light.'—
'Alas, I have not eyes for this fair sight:
Hold fast my hand.'—
'As in a soft wind, they
Bend all one blessed way,
Each bowed in his own glory, star with star.'—
'I cannot see so far,
Here shadows are.'—
'White-winged the cherubim,
Yet whiter seraphim,
Glow white with intense fire of love.'—
'Mine eyes are dim:
I look in vain above,
And miss their hymn.'—
'Angels, Archangels cry
One to other ceaselessly
(I hear them sing)
One "Holy, Holy, Holy" to their King.'—
'I do not hear them, I.'—
'At one side Paradise
Is curtained from the rest,
Made green for wearied eyes;
Much softer than the breast
Of mother-dove clad in a rainbow's dyes.
'All precious souls are there
Most safe, elect by grace,
All tears are wiped for ever from their face:
Untired in prayer
They wait and praise
Hidden for a little space.
'Boughs of the Living Vine
They spread in summer shine
Green leaf with leaf:
Sap of the Royal Vine it stirs like wine
In all both less and chief.
'Sing to the Lord,
All spirits of all flesh, sing;
For He hath not abhorred
Our low estate nor scorn'd our offering:
Shout to our King.'—
'But Zion said:
My Lord forgetteth me.
Lo, she hath made her bed
In dust; forsaken weepeth she
Where alien rivers swell the sea.
'She laid her body as the ground,
Her tender body as the ground to those
Who passed; her harpstrings cannot sound
In a strange land; discrowned
She sits, and drunk with woes.'—
'O drunken not with wine,
Whose sins and sorrows have fulfilled the sum,—
Be not afraid, arise, be no more dumb;
Arise, shine,
For thy light is come.'—
'Can these bones live?'—
'God knows:
The prophet saw such clothed with flesh and skin;
A wind blew on them and life entered in;
They shook and rose.
Hasten the time, O Lord, blot out their sin,
Let life begin.'
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