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Goblin Market

Goblin Market

by Christina Rossetti

Stanza 10 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 215-218

At length slow evening came:
They went with pitchers to the reedy brook;
Lizzie most placid in her look,
Laura most like a leaping flame
.

  • That evening, Laura and Lizzie head down to the brook to fill their "pitchers" with water.
  • Lizzie is calm, or "placid," as usual, but Laura's all hot and bothered, like "a leaping flame."

Lines 219-227

They drew the gurgling water from its deep;
Lizzie pluck'd purple and rich golden flags,
Then turning homeward said: "The sunset flushes
Those furthest loftiest crags;
Come, Laura, not another maiden lags.
No wilful squirrel wags,
The beasts and birds are fast asleep."
But Laura loiter'd still among the rushes
And said the bank was steep
.

  • After they've gathered the water they need, Lizzie pauses to pick some flowers ("flags" are a kind of flower).
  • Lizzie also takes the time to notice the beautiful sunset – it makes the distant "crags," or cliffs, glow.
  • Then Lizzie reminds Laura that it's time to go in. They're the last "maidens" out, and it's not good for young women to loiter by the brook after sunset.
  • Even the "squirrel[s]," "beasts and birds" have all gone in for the night.
  • Laura's not interested in the sunset, the flowers, or the "beasts and birds." She can't see the details Lizzie appreciates anymore.
  • Laura "loiters" along the stream, making up excuses for staying. She says the "bank" of the brook is too "steep" to climb back up with the pitcher of water.

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