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Goblin Market

Goblin Market


by Christina Rossetti

Stanza 17 Summary

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

Lines 320-328

Till Laura dwindling
Seem'd knocking at Death's door:
Then Lizzie weigh'd no more
Better and worse;
But put a silver penny in her purse,
Kiss'd Laura, cross'd the heath with clumps of furze
At twilight, halted by the brook:
And for the first time in her life
Began to listen and look

  • Finally, Laura seems so close to death and Lizzie can't afford to wait any longer.
  • She's no longer concerned with the right and wrong, or "better and worse," of it – she's going to go buy some fruit to save her sister.
  • So she grabs some loose change, puts it in her "purse," says goodbye to her sister, and heads out to the brook.
  • The "heath" is an area with low, dense shrubby growth, and the "clumps of furze" are clusters of a particular kind of shrub.
  • It's "twilight," which, as we know, is goblin time.
  • "For the first time," Lizzie doesn't shut her eyes and plug up her ears – she actually looks at the goblins.

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