The Greatest of these is Charity

A moon impoverished amid stars curtailed,
      A sun of its exuberant lustre shorn,
      A transient morning that is scarcely morn,
A lingering night in double dimness veiled.—

Our hands are slackened and our strength has failed;
      We born to darkness, wherefore were we born?
      No ripening more for olive, grape, or corn ;
Faith faints, hope faints, even love himself has paled.

Nay ! love lifts up a face like any rose
      Flushing and sweet above a thorny stem,
Softly protesting that the way he knows;
      And as for faith and hope, will carry them
      Safe to the gate of New Jerusalem,
Where light shines full and where the palm-tree blows.

Christina Georgina Rossetti. Before 1893.

6 Replies to “The Greatest of these is Charity”

  1. That would be way too cool for me.

    All I know of is Gustav Holst’s moving setting for her “In the bleak mid-winter.” Chanticleer has a beautiful rendition on their Sing We Christmas CD. I can’t imagine that much of her poetry is all that intriguing to modern musicians, though, as it’s thoroughly Christian, and of too severe a piety to even be attractive to “CCM” bands.

    I my book, anything Pre-Raphaelite outranks anything rock, anyway. So she rocks, and it’s rock musicians that aspire to that rockitude.

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