The Three Enemies

By Christina Rossetti 1830–1894 Christina Rossetti
THE FLESH
"Sweet, thou art pale."
         "More pale to see,
Christ hung upon the cruel tree
And bore His Father's wrath for me."

"Sweet, thou art sad."
         "Beneath a rod
More heavy, Christ for my sake trod
The winepress of the wrath of God."

"Sweet, thou art weary."
         "Not so Christ:
Whose mighty love of me suffic'd
For Strength, Salvation, Eucharist."

"Sweet, thou art footsore."
         "If I bleed,
His feet have bled; yea in my need
His Heart once bled for mine indeed."

THE WORLD
"Sweet, thou art young."
         "So He was young
Who for my sake in silence hung
Upon the Cross with Passion wrung."

"Look, thou art fair."
         "He was more fair
Than men, Who deign'd for me to wear
A visage marr'd beyond compare."

"And thou hast riches."
         "Daily bread:
All else is His: Who, living, dead,
For me lack'd where to lay His Head."

"And life is sweet."
         "It was not so
To Him, Whose Cup did overflow
With mine unutterable woe."

THE DEVIL
"Thou drinkest deep."
         "When Christ would sup
He drain'd the dregs from out my cup:
So how should I be lifted up?"

"Thou shalt win Glory."
         "In the skies,
Lord Jesus, cover up mine eyes
Lest they should look on vanities."

"Thou shalt have Knowledge."
         "Helpless dust!
In Thee, O Lord, I put my trust:
Answer Thou for me, Wise and Just."

"And Might."—
         "Get thee behind me. Lord,
Who hast redeem'd and not abhorr'd
My soul, oh keep it by Thy Word."

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Poet Christina Rossetti 1830–1894

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Faith & Doubt, Religion, Christianity, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Allusion, Rhymed Stanza, Couplet

 Christina  Rossetti

Biography

Of all Victorian women poets, posterity has been kindest to Christina Rossetti. Her poetry has never disappeared from view, and her reputation, though it suffered a decline in the first half of the twentieth century, has always been preserved to some degree. Critical interest in Rossetti’s poetry swelled in the final decades of the twentieth century, a resurgence largely impelled by the emergence of feminist criticism; much of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Religion, Christianity, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Allusion, Rhymed Stanza, Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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