Classics > Poetry > Poems of Christina Rossetti > Goblin Market, and Other Poems, 1862 > Devotional Pieces
Sound the deep waters:— Who shall sound that deep?— Too short the plummet, And the watchmen sleep. Some dream of effort Up a toilsome steep; Some dream of pasture grounds For harmless sheep.
White shapes flit to and fro From mast to mast; They feel the distant tempest That nears them fast: Great rocks are straight ahead, Great shoals not past; They shout to one another Upon the blast.
Oh, soft the streams drop music Between the hills, And musical the birds' nests Beside those rills: The nests are types of home Love-hidden from ills, The nests are types of spirits Love-music fills.
So dream the sleepers, Each man in his place; The lightning shows the smile Upon each face: The ship is driving, driving, It drives apace: And sleepers smile, and spirits Bewail their case.
The lightning glares and reddens Across the skies; It seems but sunset To those sleeping eyes. When did the sun go down On such a wise? From such a sunset When shall day arise?
'Wake,' call the spirits: But to heedless ears: They have forgotten sorrows And hopes and fears; They have forgotten perils And smiles and tears; Their dream has held them long, Long years and years.
'Wake,' call the spirits again: But it would take A louder summons To bid them awake. Some dream of pleasure For another's sake; Some dream, forgetful Of a lifelong ache.
One by one slowly, Ah, how sad and slow! Wailing and praying The spirits rise and go: Clear stainless spirits White as white as snow; Pale spirits, wailing For an overthrow.
One by one flitting, Like a mournful bird Whose song is tired at last For no mate is heard. The loving voice is silent, The useless word; One by one flitting Sick with hope deferred.
Driving and driving, The ship drives amain: While swift from mast to mast Shapes flit again, Flit silent as the silence Where men lie slain; Their shadow cast upon the sails Is like a stain.
No voice to call the sleepers, No hand to raise: They sleep to death in dreaming, Of length of days. Vanity of vanities, The Preacher says: Vanity is the end Of all their ways.