by Christina Rossetti
Stanza 9 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Early in the morning
When the first cock crow'd his warning,
Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,
Laura rose with Lizzie:
Fetch'd in honey, milk'd the cows,
Air'd and set to rights the house,
Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,
Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,
Next churn'd butter, whipp'd up cream,
Fed their poultry, sat and sew'd;
Talk'd as modest maidens should:
Lizzie with an open heart,
Laura in an absent dream,
One content, one sick in part;
One warbling for the mere bright day's delight,
One longing for the night.
- The next morning, the girls wake up together and start going about their usual morning chores.
- They're as busy as bees, and just "as sweet."
- Laura and Lizzie apparently live by themselves in a country cottage. They have to bring in the honey from the beehives, milk the cows, clean the house, make "cakes," churn the cream into butter, whip the cream, feed the chickens, and finally, sit and sew.
- The long list of chores suggests good, wholesome work. In other words, Laura and Lizzie are busy with domestic, household tasks, most of which involve preparing good, wholesome food. Not like those dangerous goblin fruits.
- Once the major morning chores are done, they sit and sew together, and chat "as modest maidens should."
- This is another way of saying that they're not gossiping about boys – they're being "modest" and "maidenly."
- Lizzie doesn't have anything to hide because she's done nothing wrong, so she chats away "with an open heart."
- But Laura's absent minded because she's still daydreaming about the goblin fruits.
- Lizzie is "warbling," or singing to herself like a bird, just because she's happy and it's a beautiful day out, but Laura can't stop wishing for nightfall so she can get some more of that sweet, sweet goblin fruit.