CHRISTINA GEORGINA ROSSETTI
The singing men and women sang that night as usual,
The dancers danced in pairs and sets, but music had a fall,
A melancholy windy fall as at a funeral.
Amid the toss of torches to my chamber back we swept ;
My ladies loosed my golden chain ; meantime I could have wept
To think of some in galling chains whether they waked or slept.
I took my bath of scented milk, delicately waited on:
They burned sweet things for my delight, cedar and cinnamon,
They lit my shaded silver lamp, and left me there alone.
A day went by, a week went by. One day I heard it said:
"Men are clamouring, women, children, clamour- ing to be fed ;
Men like famished dogs are howling in the streets for bread."
So two whispered by my door, not thinking I could hear,
Vulgar naked truth, ungarnished for a royal ear ;
Fit for cooping in the background, not to stalk so near.