Advent Poems: Christina Rossetti’s “Advent Sunday” (Behold the Bridegroom Cometh) – read by Malcolm Guite

November 29, 2015

One of the Advent Series I am most excited about is Anglican priest and poet Malcolm Guite’s series for Advent 2015.  He’ll be reading an Advent poem from his Advent poetry anthology “Waiting on the Word” each day.

Today, for Advent Sunday, his reading is Christina Rossetti’s poem “Advent Sunday” (Behold the Bridegroom Cometh)

Here’s the text of the poem, which I found here.

Advent Sunday

Source: The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes by William Michael Rossetti (1904), page 156

BEHOLD, the Bridegroom cometh: go ye out
With lighted lamps and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.

It may be at the midnight, black as pitch,
Earth shall cast up her poor, cast up her rich.

It may be at the crowing of the cock
Earth shall upheave her depth, uproot her rock.

For lo, the Bridegroom fetcheth home the Bride:
His Hands are Hands she knows, she knows His Side.

Like pure Rebekah at the appointed place,
Veiled, she unveils her face to meet His Face.

Like great Queen Esther in her triumphing,
She triumphs in the Presence of her King.

His Eyes are as a Dove’s, and she’s Dove-eyed;
He knows His lovely mirror, sister, Bride.

He speaks with Dove-voice of exceeding love,
And she with love-voice of an answering Dove.

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh: go we out
With lamps ablaze and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.

Before 1886.

Each day’s poetry reading is accompanied by a beautiful illustration by Lancia SmithHere’s her image to accompany today’s poem:

2 Behold the Bridegroom cometh 1 - wm

art credit:  Lancia E Smith: Behold the Bridegroom Cometh

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Lent Poems – Christina Rossetti: Who Shall Deliver Me

April 8, 2014

Recently, while working on updating our compilations of poems for Holy Week and Good Friday, I came across this powerful poem by Christina Rossetti, which is very appropriate for Lenten reading and reflection.  It echos some of my own emotions and spiritual struggles of this Lent, when I have known all too well the truth of Apostle Paul’s lament in Romans 7 – leaving the good I want to do undone, and doing the evil that I do not want to do.  Thanks be to God that we have a Savior!

 

Who Shall Deliver Me?
God strengthen me to bear myself;
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care.

All others are outside myself;
I lock my door and bar them out
The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.

I lock my door upon myself,
And bar them out; but who shall wall
Self from myself, most loathed of all?

If I could once lay down myself,
And start self-purged upon the race
That all must run ! Death runs apace.

If I could set aside myself,
And start with lightened heart upon
The road by all men overgone!

God harden me against myself,
This coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joys

Myself, arch-traitor to myself ;
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,
My clog whatever road I go.

Yet One there is can curb myself,
Can roll the strangling load from me
Break off the yoke and set me free.

— by Christina Georgina Rossetti
(1830-1894)

from here


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