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Goblin Market

Goblin Market


by Christina Rossetti

Stanza 28 Summary

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

Lines 543-547

Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;

  • Flash forward years later for this stanza. Both Laura and Lizzie are "wives" and have their own children.
  • Like all mothers, they worry about their kids.

Lines 548-559

Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town):
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:

  • Laura tells their kids all about her own youth, and how she visited the "haunted glen" where the goblins were.
  • She tells them the whole story. She says that the goblin fruit was so tasty, but was "poison in the blood."
  • Line 556 is an echo from Line 101. It repeats that "men" don't sell fruit like theirs "in any town."
  • Laura tells the kids about Lizzie's heroism – how she risked her own life to save Laura.

Lines 560-567

Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
"For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands."

  • As Laura repeats the story to her children, she tells them that the moral is that sisters should stick together, because "there is no friend like a sister/ In calm or stormy weather."
  • Sisters save each other and "strengthen" each other.
  • The poem ends with Laura's moral to her children.

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