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Goblin Market

Goblin Market


by Christina Rossetti

Stanza 11 Summary

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

Lines 228-234

And said the hour was early still
The dew not fall'n, the wind not chill;
Listening ever, but not catching
The customary cry,
"Come buy, come buy,"
With its iterated jingle
Of sugar-baited words:

  • Laura tells Lizzie that it's okay to stay out because come on, it's not that late yet, and besides it's not cold.
  • Meanwhile, she's straining to hear the "customary cry" of the goblins hawking their fruit as they come through the valley.
  • She's heard it every night since forever, but for some reason she can't hear it tonight, with its "iterated," or repeated "jingle."

Lines 235-241

Not for all her watching
Once discerning even one goblin
Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;
Let alone the herds
That used to tramp along the glen,
In groups or single,
Of brisk fruit-merchant men

  • Laura is straining to hear, and craning her neck for a glimpse of the goblins, but can't see a single one, let alone the hordes that always used to come through the valley.
  • It's not clear why Laura can't hear the goblins – apparently, once you've eaten the fruit, you can't hear or see the goblins again.