“While I sit at the door,
Sick to gaze within,
Mine eye weepeth sore
For sorrow and sin:
As a tree my sin stands
To darken all lands;
Death is the fruit it bore.
“How have Eden bowers grown
Without Adam to bend them!
How have Eden flowers blown,
Squandering their sweet breath,
Without me to tend them!
The Tree of Life was ours,
Most lofty tree that flowers,
Most deeply rooted:
I chose the Tree of Death.
“Hadst thou but said me nay,
Adam, my brother,
I might have pined away;
I, but none other:
God might have let thee stay
Safe in our garden
By putting me away
Beyond all pardon.
“I, Eve, sad mother
Of all who must live,
I, not another,
Plucked bitterest fruit to give
My friend, husband, lover.
O wanton eyes run over!
Who but I should grieve? –
Cain hath slain his brother:
Of all who must die mother,
Miserable Eve! “
Thus she sat weeping,
Thus Eve, our mother,
Where one lay sleeping
Slain by his brother.
Greatest and least
Each piteous beast
To hear her voice
Forgot his joys
And set aside his feast.
The mouse paused in his walk
And dropped his wheaten stalk;
Grave cattle wagged their heads
The eagle gave a cry
From his cloud station;
Larks on thyme beds
Forbore to mount or sing;
Bees drooped upon the wing;
The raven perched on high
Forgot his ration;
The conies in their rock,
A feeble nation,
The mocking-bird left off to mock;
Huge camels knelt as if
The kind hart ‘s tears were falling;
Chattered the wistful stork;
Dove-voices with a dying fall
Answering grief by grief.
Only the serpent in the dust,
Wriggling and crawling,
Grinned an evil grin, and thrust
His tongue out with its fork.
Rosetti looks at grief from the point of view of a biblical figure – Eve. She talks of Eve’s yearning to get back to the Garden of Eden and regret at what she’s done to lead to her expulsion. “While I sit at the door, /Sick to gaze within, /Mine eye weepeth sore/For sorrow and sin:/As a tree my sin stands/To darken all lands;/Death is the fruit it bore.”
She talks of how the wrong decision has led to a life of regret and destruction “I chose the Tree of Death.”
She pines for her old, happier life which would have brought joy to her children “God might have let thee stay/Safe in our garden.”
Denny Bradbury also looks at grief of a biblical figure in her recent song titled ‘We are alone within the night of loneliness’, to the tune of Londonderry Air. It’s from a short play she’s written dwelling on the life of Ruth from the Old Testament.
It’s a tender story of a daughter-in-law’s love for her mother in law after all their husbands or sons have died. They travel back to Israel but one being very young decides to stay with her family in a foreign country. We are alone within the night of loneliness is sung by all three women as the youngest prepares to leave them.
The grief of the three women is clear in Denny’s song, but unlike in Rosetti’s poem, there is hope. “we have not seen much light within the darkness/but we have God, he’s there for me and you”.
Whereas Eve in Rosetti’s poem wishes God could forgive her and turn back time, the daughter’s in Denny’s song know he’ll help them get through this tough period for them. “we will get by with every passing day/because we feel the love that is within us all”.
We are alone within the night of loneliness
we are alone within the night of loneliness
we have each been a wife and now we’re through
we have not seen much light amid the darkness
but we have God, he’s there for me and you
and this we know that though our lives are difficult
we will get by with every passing day
because we feel the love that is within us all
and so we smile and sleep and in our hearts we pray
Dear God do not let us go through more torment
we will be safe as long as we abide
with honour, gentleness and purest honesty
we each have love and live with God beside
we will always be together
as long as you both know that we are three
bonded in love, so know that we must leave here
(Naomi) go to your kin and love them as you have loved me
(Orpah) I will go back and find my long lost family
(Ruth) I will not go for you I’ll never ever leave