Today, Christina Rossetti offers a word of advice on How to Live. To wit: darkness lies before us; thus, we had best not live our life as a "pastime." (Easier said than done, I know.) The Oxford English Dictionary defines "pastime" as "a diversion or recreation which serves to pass the time agreeably. . . . Also: a practice commonly indulged in."
A boat amid the ripples, drifting, rocking;
Two idle people, without pause or aim;
While in the ominous West there gathers darkness
Flushed with flame.
A hay-cock in a hay-field backing, lapping,
Two drowsy people pillowed round about;
While in the ominous West across the darkness
Flame leaps out.
Better a wrecked life than a life so aimless,
Better a wrecked life than a life so soft:
The ominous West glooms thundering, with its fire
The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti (edited by William Michael Rossetti) (1904). "Better a wrecked life" took me aback when I first read it: it did not seem "Victorian." But that only shows that I underestimated Victorian poetry at the time.