‘I dream of you, to wake’ is a sonnet by the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830-94). Although not one of her most famous poems, it’s a marvellous sonnet: addressed to the speaker’s lover, and contrasting the wonderful, perfect dream world that sleep brings with the less perfect reality that we wake to (hence ‘I dream of you, to wake’). If only she could dream all the time, then things would be all right!
‘I dream of you, to wake’ by Christina Rossetti
I dream of you, to wake: would that I might
Dream of you and not wake but slumber on;
Nor find with dreams the dear companion gone,
As, Summer ended, Summer birds take flight.
In happy dreams I hold you full in night.
I blush again who waking look so wan;
Brighter than sunniest day that ever shone,
In happy dreams your smile makes day of night. Read the rest of this entry
‘The stars are mansions built by Nature’s hand’ is not one of the most famous poems by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), nor even one of his more famous sonnets. But it’s a fine poem about the stars, which manages to touch upon the natural world (as we’d expect from a poem by a leading Romantic poet) as well as the divine.
The stars are mansions built by Nature’s hand,
And, haply, there the spirits of the blest
Dwell, clothed in radiance, their immortal vest;
Huge Ocean shows, within his yellow strand,
A habitation marvellously planned,
For life to occupy in love and rest;
All that we see – is dome, or vault, or nest,
Or fortress, reared at Nature’s sage command. Read the rest of this entry
‘To Sleep’ is not one of William Wordsworth’s best-known poems. It isn’t even one of his more famous sonnets. And yet, since it sees a major poet addressing a common theme, ‘To Sleep’ is worth reproducing here, along with a few words of analysis.
A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by,
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;
I have thought of all by turns, and yet do lie
Sleepless! and soon the small birds’ melodies
Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees;
And the first cuckoo’s melancholy cry. Read the rest of this entry