Advancing in Poetry Advancing in Poetry    

Lesson 19: The Queen of Hearts

by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Performer: Librivox - Betsie Bush

How comes it, Flora, that, whenever we

Play cards together, you invariably,

However the pack parts,

Still hold the Queen of Hearts?

I've scanned you with a scrutinizing gaze,

Resolved to fathom these your secret ways:

But, sift them as I will,

Your ways are secret still.

I cut and shuffle; shuffle, cut, again;

But all my cutting, shuffling, proves in vain:

Vain hope, vain forethought, too;

That Queen still falls to you.

I dropped her once, prepense; but, ere the deal

Was dealt, your instinct seemed her loss to feel:

"There should be one card more,"

You said, and searched the floor.

I cheated once: I made a private notch

In Heart-Queen's back, and kept a lynx-eyed watch;

Yet such another back

Deceived me in the pack:

The Queen of Clubs assumed by arts unknown

An imitative dint that seemed my own;

This notch, not of my doing,

Misled me to my ruin.

It baffles me to puzzle out the clew,

Which must be skill, or craft, or luck in you:

Unless, indeed, it be

Natural affinity.

    Advancing in Poetry Advancing in Poetry    

Lesson 19: The Queen of Hearts

by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Performer: Librivox - Betsie Bush


Study the poem for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read or listen to the poem.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read about the poet.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


In Christina Georgina Rossetti's 'The Queen of Hearts,' the narrator describes that how no matter what she does, her competitor, Flora, always comes up with the Queen of Hearts. Even when the narrator cheats, Flora still wins the Queen of Hearts. Flora's constant victories continue to puzzle the narrator at the end of the poem.


  1. Christina Georgina Rossetti was born in 1830 in London, England.
  2. Zoom in and find Rossetti's city and country of birth, London, England, on the map of Europe.
  3. Rossetti was born into an artistic family. Her father was a poet and a teacher, one of her siblings was an artist and poet, and her other two siblings were writers.
  4. Rossetti was homeschooled by her parents and studied religious books, works of fiction, and fairy tales.
  5. Rossetti published her first poems when she was 18 and a full volume of poetry at age 31.
  6. Rossetti died of cancer in London, England at the age of 64.


Activity 1: Recite Poem Information

Recite the title of the poem and the name of the poet.

Activity 2: Study the Poem Picture

Study the poem picture and describe how it relates to the poem.

Activity 3: Recite the Poem

Practice reciting the poem aloud.

Activity 4: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete pages 119-125 of 'Elementary Poetry 4: Advancing in Poetry.'


  1. 'Christina Rossetti.' Wikipedia. n.p.