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Goblin Market

Goblin Market


by Christina Rossetti

Stanza 25 Summary

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

Lines 493-499

Her lips began to scorch,
That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
She loath'd the feast:
Writhing as one possess'd she leap'd and sung,
Rent all her robe, and wrung
Her hands in lamentable haste,
And beat her breast

  • The goblin fruit juice doesn't taste good to Laura – it actually burns her lips.
  • It tastes like "wormwood," or bitter poison to her.
  • Laura "writh[es]," or squirms, in pain.
  • It's as though she's "possessed" with an evil spirit.
  • She jumps around, crying out, tearing at her dress, and generally freaking out.

Lines 500-506

Her locks stream'd like the torch
Borne by a racer at full speed,
Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
Or like an eagle when she stems the light
Straight toward the sun,
Or like a caged thing freed,
Or like a flying flag when armies run

  • We then get another stream of similes describing Laura.
  • First, we're told that her hair is "stream[ing]" behind her like the flame held by a racer (imagine someone running while carrying the Olympic torch).
  • Then we're told that her hair is like the mane of a horse that's running.
  • Or maybe it's like an eagle flying "toward the sun."
  • Or, maybe her hair flying free like something that has been caged for a long time and is enjoying its freedom.
  • Finally, her hair is compared to a "flag" held up by a soldier in an advancing army.

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