Today, I would like to share with you one of my favourite poems of all time. It was penned by Christina Rossetti, an incredibly amazing Romantic poet who turned out some pretty progressive stuff for her day. I first discovered her poetry through a British literature class in college and I loved it so much that I decided to write my final paper for the class on her poem “After Death.”
But out of all her poetry, even “Goblin Market,” this was my absolute favourite. I still laugh every time I read it! It became so dear to me that I still quote the line “No thank you, John” on a daily basis when I’m faced with something I don’t like. (Find a spider in my room? “No thank you, John!!”)
Without further ado, enjoy Christina Rossetti’s “No Thank You, John.”
I never said I loved you, John:
Why will you tease me, day by day,
And wax a weariness to think upon
With always “do” and “pray”?
You know I never loved you, John;
No fault of mine made me your toast:
Why will you haunt me with a face as wan
As shows an hour-old ghost?
I dare say Meg or Moll would take
Pity upon you, if you’d ask:
And pray don’t remain single for my sake
Who can’t perform that task.
I have no heart?—Perhaps I have not;
But then you’re mad to take offence
That I don’t give you what I have not got:
Use your common sense.
Let bygones be bygones:
Don’t call me false, who owed not to be true:
I’d rather answer “No” to fifty Johns
Than answer “Yes” to you.
Let’s mar our pleasant days no more,
Song-birds of passage, days of youth:
Catch at to-day, forget the days before:
I’ll wink at your untruth.
Let us strike hands as hearty friends;
No more, no less: and friendship’s good:
Only don’t keep in view ulterior ends,
And points not understood
In open treaty. Rise above
Quibbles and shuffling off and on:
Here’s friendship for you if you like; but love,—
No, thank you, John.