In this very well known poem Christina Rossetti draws on the same child-like purity of diction that Blake uses in his Songs of Innocence and Experience. There is a great deal about innocence and transgression in the poem, sexual experience , redemption, drawing on fairy tale and myth with a wonderful helter skelter rhythm that sends you rushing through the poem and through the beauty of the images.

Goblin Market

 

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
‘Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;
All ripe together
In summer weather,
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.’

 

Recording commissioned by the Poetry Archive, shared here with kind permission of the reader.

Christina Rossetti in the Poetry Store

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