782. Twice

Christina Georgina Rossetti. 1830-1894

I TOOK my heart in my hand
  (O my love, O my love),
I said: Let me fall or stand,
  Let me live or die,
But this once hear me speak
  (O my love, O my love)--
Yet a woman's words are weak;
  You should speak, not I.

You took my heart in your hand
  With a friendly smile,
With a critical eye you scann'd,
  Then set it down,
And said, 'It is still unripe,
  Better wait awhile;
Wait while the skylarks pipe,
  Till the corn grows brown.'
As you set it down it broke--
  Broke, but I did not wince;
I smiled at the speech you spoke,
  At your judgement I heard:
But I have not often smiled
  Since then, nor question'd since,
Nor cared for cornflowers wild,
  Nor sung with the singing bird.

I take my heart in my hand,
  O my God, O my God,
My broken heart in my hand:
  Thou hast seen, judge Thou.
My hope was written on sand,
  O my God, O my God:
Now let thy judgement stand--
  Yea, judge me now.

This contemn'd of a man,
  This marr'd one heedless day,
This heart take thou to scan
  Both within and without:
Refine with fire its gold,
  Purge Thou its dross away--
Yea, hold it in Thy hold,
  Whence none can pluck it out.

I take my heart in my hand--
  I shall not die, but live--
Before Thy face I stand;
  I, for Thou callest such:
All that I have I bring,
  All that I am I give,
Smile Thou and I shall sing,
  But shall not question much.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition