Christina Rossetti on not being in love

The poetry of Christina Rossetti is not necessarily known to those who may have seen her likeness in Pre-Raphaelite paintings by her more famous brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Most of her poems -- the first book of them was published in 1862 -- are of a serious, even devotional nature in contrast with the lighter vein of ``No, Thank You, John,'' printed here. I never said I loved you, John; Why will you tease me day by day, And wax a weariness to think upon With always ``do'' and ``pray''? You know I never loved you, John, No fault of mine made me your toast: Why will you haunt me with a face as wan As shows an hour-old ghost? I dare say Meg or Moll would take Pity upon you, if you'd ask: And pray don't remain single for my sake Who can't perform that task. I have no heart? -- Perhaps I have not; But then you're mad to take offence That I don't give you what I have not got: Use your own common sense. Let bygones be bygones: Don't call me false, who owed not to be true: I'd rather answer ``No'' to fifty Johns Than answer ``Yes'' to you. Let's mar our pleasant days no more, Song-birds of passage, days of youth: Catch at to-day, forget the days before; I'll wink at your untruth. Let us strike hands as hearty friends; No more, no less; and friendship's good: Only don't keep in view ulterior ends, And points not understood In open treaty. Rise above Quibbles and shuffling off and on. Here's friendship for you if you like; but love -- No, thank you, John.

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