I watched a rosebud very long
Brought on by dew and sun and shower,
Waiting to see the perfect flower :
Then, when I thought it should be strong,
It opened at the matin hour
And fell at evensong.
I watched a nest from day to day
A green nest full of pleasant shade,
Wherein three speckled eggs were laid :
But when they should have hatched in May,
The two old birds had grown afraid
Or tired, and flew away.
Then in my wrath I broke the bough
That I had tended so with care,
Hoping that its scent should fill the air;
I crushed the eggs, not heeding how
Their ancient promise had been fair :
I would have vengeance now.
But the dead branch spoke from the sod,
And the eggs answered me again :
Because we failed dost thou complain?
Is thy wrath just? And what if God,
Who waiteth for thy fruits in vain,
Should also take the rod?
Christina Georgina Rossetti. 7 January 1849.