Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) was born into an artistic family in London during the Victorian era. Her mother was English and her father Italian. Her brother Dante was a poet as well, but she shared beliefs with her older sister who became a nun. Twice she fell in love, but refused to marry because of religious scruples. She expressed herself in fluent and musical poetry. A traditional Anglican, her poetry often reflected religious themes, such as this beautiful poem in the person of Jesus, The Voice of My Beloved, and this tender bedtime prayer, Holy Innocents.

The Voice of My Beloved

Once I ached for thy dear sake:
Wilt thou cause Me now to ache?
Once I bled for thee in pain:
Wilt thou rend my heart again?
Crown of thorns and shameful tree.
Bitter death I bore for thee,
Bore My Cross to carry thee,
And wilt thou have nought of Me?

Holy Innocents

Sleep, little Baby, sleep,
The holy Angels love thee,
And guard thy bed, and keep
A blessed watch above thee.
No spirit can come near
Nor evil beast to harm thee:
Sleep, Sweet, devoid of fear
Where nothing need alarm thee.

The Love which doth not sleep,
The eternal arms around thee:
The shepherd of the sheep
In perfect love has found thee.
Sleep through the holy night,
Christ-kept from snare and sorrow,
Until thou wake to light
And love and warmth tomorrow.

Christina Rossetti