Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882 / London / England)

World's Worth - Poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

'TIS of the Father Hilary.
He strove, but could not pray; so took
The steep-coiled stair, where his feet shook
A sad blind echo. Ever up
He toiled. 'Twas a sick sway of air
That autumn noon within the stair,
As dizzy as a turning cup.
His brain benumbed him, void and thin;
He shut his eyes and felt it spin;
The obscure deafness hemmed him in.
He said: “O world, what world for me?”
He leaned unto the balcony
Where the chime keeps the night and day;
It hurt his brain, he could not pray.
He had his face upon the stone:
Deep 'twixt the narrow shafts, his eye
Passed all the roofs to the stark sky,
Swept with no wing, with wind alone.
Close to his feet the sky did shake
With wind in pools that the rains make;
The ripple set his eyes to ache.
He said: “O world, what world for me?”

He stood within the mystery
Girding God's blessed Eucharist:
The organ and the chaunt had ceas'd.
The last words paused against his ear
Said from the altar: drawn round him
The gathering rest was dumb and dim.
And now the sacring-bell rang clear
And ceased; and all was awe,—the breath
Of God in man that warranteth
The inmost utmost things of faith.
He said: “O God, my world in Thee!”

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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