by Christina Rossetti
Stanza 5 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Laura stared but did not stir,
Long'd but had no money:
- Laura would love to reach for the fruit, but she doesn't "stir" from where she is because she's strapped for cash.
- The repeated "buts" in these two lines help to emphasize the contrast between what Laura desires, and what she can actually have.
The whisk-tail'd merchant bade her taste
In tones as smooth as honey,
The cat-faced purr'd,
The rat-faced spoke a word
Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;
One parrot-voiced and jolly
Cried "Pretty Goblin" still for "Pretty Polly;" –
One whistled like a bird.
- A couple of the goblins that were described before, in lines 71-76, step up and invite Laura to "taste" their fruits, at the very least.
- The one with a "tail" has a voice that sounds as sweet as the fruits look. We're starting to wonder what kind of a "tail" it is – forked, perhaps, like a demon's?
- The goblins all sound like the animals they resemble.
- There's even one that sounds like a parrot, but he says "Pretty Goblin!" instead of "Pretty Polly," or, as we usually say, "Polly wanna cracker!"