H O M E

Poems (1850)
by the

Brontė Sisters

from the 1846 edition:


 by Anne Brontė
A Reminiscence
The Arbour
Home
Vanitas Vanitatum, Omnia Vanitas
The Penitent
Music on Christmas Morning
Stanzas
If This Be All
Memory
To Cowper
The Doubter's Prrayer
A Word to the "Elect"
Past Days
The Consolation
Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day
Views of Life
Appeal
The Student's Serenade
The Captive Dove
Self-Congratulation
Fluctuations


 by Emily Brontė
Faith and Despondency
Stars
The Philosopher
Remembrance
A Death Scene
Song
Anticipation
The Prisoner
Hope
A Day Dream
Imagination
How Clear She Shines
Sympathy
Plead for Me
Self-Interrogation
Death
Stanzas to ----
Honour's Martyr
Stanzas
My Comforter
The Old Stoic


 by Charlotte Brontė
Pilate's Wife's Dream
Mementos
The Wife's Will
The Wood
Frances
Gilbert
Life
The Letter
Regret
Presentiment
The Teacher's Monologue
Passion
Preference
Eveining Solace
Stanzas
Parting
Apostasy
Winter Stores
The Missionary


from the 1850 edition:


 from the "literary remains" of Emily Brontė
A Little While, A Little While
The Bluebell
Loud Without the Wind was Roaring
Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee
The Night Wind
It Wakes To-Night
Love and Friendship
The Elder's Rebuke
The Wanderer from the Fold
Warning and Reply
Last Words
The Lady to Her Guitar
The Two Children
The Visionary
Encouragement
Stanzas
No Coward Soul is Mine
 from the "literary remains" of Anne Brontė
Despondency
Stanzas
A Prayer
In Memory of a Happy Day in February
Confidence
Lines Written from Home
The Narrow Way
Domestic Peace
The Three Guides
Hoped, That With The Brave And Strong

Poets' Corner Scripting
© 2009 S.L. Spanoudis and
theotherpages.org.
All rights reserved worldwide.


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Poems, by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell

(Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontė)

(Originally published in 1846, this text is trom the 1850 edition,
with comments and additional selctions added by Charlotte)

The Bronte Sisters
Portrait of the sisters (Anne, Emily and Charlotte) by their brother, Branwell. He originally
included himself in the center of the portrait, but painted himself
out. A shadow of his outline remains. [ca. 1834]

 

. A Reminiscence

    YES, thou art gone! and never more
    Thy sunny smile shall gladden me;
    But I may pass the old church door,
    And pace the floor that covers thee,

    May stand upon the cold, damp stone,
    And think that, frozen, lies below
    The lightest heart that I have known,
    The kindest I shall ever know.

    Yet, though I cannot see thee more,
    'Tis still a comfort to have seen;
    And though thy transient life is o'er,
    'Tis sweet to think that thou hast been;

    To think a soul so near divine,
    Within a form so angel fair,
    United to a heart like thine,
    Has gladdened once our humble sphere.

    Anne Bronte


 

. The Arbour

    I'LL rest me in this sheltered bower,
    And look upon the clear blue sky
    That smiles upon me through the trees,
    Which stand so thick clustering by;

    And view their green and glossy leaves,
    All glistening in the sunshine fair;
    And list the rustling of their boughs,
    So softly whispering through the air.

    And while my ear drinks in the sound,
    My winged soul shall fly away;
    Reviewing lone departed years
    As one mild, beaming, autumn day;

    And soaring on to future scenes,
    Like hills and woods, and valleys green,
    All basking in the summer's sun,
    But distant still, and dimly seen.

    Oh, list! 'tis summer's very breath
    That gently shakes the rustling trees--
    But look! the snow is on the ground--
    How can I think of scenes like these?

    'Tis but the FROST that clears the air,
    And gives the sky that lovely blue;
    They're smiling in a WINTER'S sun,
    Those evergreens of sombre hue.

    And winter's chill is on my heart--
    How can I dream of future bliss?
    How can my spirit soar away,
    Confined by such a chain as this?

    Anne Bronte


 

. Home

    HOW brightly glistening in the sun
    The woodland ivy plays!
    While yonder beeches from their barks
    Reflect his silver rays.

    That sun surveys a lovely scene
    From softly smiling skies;
    And wildly through unnumbered trees
    The wind of winter sighs:

    Now loud, it thunders o'er my head,
    And now in distance dies.
    But give me back my barren hills
    Where colder breezes rise;

    Where scarce the scattered, stunted trees
    Can yield an answering swell,
    But where a wilderness of heath
    Returns the sound as well.

    For yonder garden, fair and wide,
    With groves of evergreen,
    Long winding walks, and borders trim,
    And velvet lawns between;

    Restore to me that little spot,
    With gray walls compassed round,
    Where knotted grass neglected lies,
    And weeds usurp the ground.

    Though all around this mansion high
    Invites the foot to roam,
    And though its halls are fair within--
    Oh, give me back my home!

    Anne Bronte


 

. Vanitas Vanitatum, Omnia Vanitas

    IN all we do, and hear, and see,
    Is restless Toil and Vanity.
    While yet the rolling earth abides,
    Men come and go like ocean tides;

    And ere one generation dies,
    Another in its place shall rise;
    THAT, sinking soon into the grave,
    Others succeed, like wave on wave;

    And as they rise, they pass away.
    The sun arises every day,
    And hastening onward to the West,
    He nightly sinks, but not to rest:

    Returning to the eastern skies,
    Again to light us, he must rise.
    And still the restless wind comes forth,
    Now blowing keenly from the North;

    Now from the South, the East, the West,
    For ever changing, ne'er at rest.
    The fountains, gushing from the hills,
    Supply the ever-running rills;

    The thirsty rivers drink their store,
    And bear it rolling to the shore,
    But still the ocean craves for more.
    'Tis endless labour everywhere!
    Sound cannot satisfy the ear,

    Light cannot fill the craving eye,
    Nor riches half our wants supply,
    Pleasure but doubles future pain,
    And joy brings sorrow in her train;
    Laughter is mad, and reckless mirth--
    What does she in this weary earth?
    Should Wealth, or Fame, our Life employ,
    Death comes, our labour to destroy;

    To snatch the untasted cup away,
    For which we toiled so many a day.
    What, then, remains for wretched man?
    To use life's comforts while he can,

    Enjoy the blessings Heaven bestows,
    Assist his friends, forgive his foes;
    Trust God, and keep His statutes still,
    Upright and firm, through good and ill;

    Thankful for all that God has given,
    Fixing his firmest hopes on Heaven;
    Knowing that earthly joys decay,
    But hoping through the darkest day.

    Anne Bronte


 

. The Penitent

    I MOURN with thee, and yet rejoice
    That thou shouldst sorrow so;
    With angel choirs I join my voice
    To bless the sinner's woe.

    Though friends and kindred turn away,
    And laugh thy grief to scorn;
    I hear the great Redeemer say,
    "Blessed are ye that mourn."

    Hold on thy course, nor deem it strange
    That earthly cords are riven:
    Man may lament the wondrous change,
    But "there is joy in heaven!"

    Anne Bronte


 

. Music on Christmas Morning

    MUSIC I love--but never strain
    Could kindle raptures so divine,
    So grief assuage, so conquer pain,
    And rouse this pensive heart of mine--
    As that we hear on Christmas morn,
    Upon the wintry breezes borne.

    Though Darkness still her empire keep,
    And hours must pass, ere morning break;
    From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,
    That music kindly bids us wake:
    It calls us, with an angel's voice,
    To wake, and worship, and rejoice;

    To greet with joy the glorious morn,
    Which angels welcomed long ago,
    When our redeeming Lord was born,
    To bring the light of Heaven below;
    The Powers of Darkness to dispel,
    And rescue Earth from Death and Hell.

    While listening to that sacred strain,
    My raptured spirit soars on high;
    I seem to hear those songs again
    Resounding through the open sky,
    That kindled such divine delight,
    In those who watched their flocks by night.

    With them I celebrate His birth--
    Glory to God, in highest Heaven,
    Good-will to men, and peace on earth,
    To us a Saviour-king is given;
    Our God is come to claim His own,
    And Satan's power is overthrown!

    A sinless God, for sinful men,
    Descends to suffer and to bleed;
    Hell must renounce its empire then;
    The price is paid, the world is freed,
    And Satan's self must now confess
    That Christ has earned a right to bless:

    Now holy Peace may smile from heaven,
    And heavenly Truth from earth shall spring:
    The captive's galling bonds are riven,
    For our Redeemer is our king;
    And He that gave his blood for men
    Will lead us home to God again.

    Anne Bronte


 

. Stanzas

    OH, weep not, love! each tear that springs
    In those dear eyes of thine,
    To me a keener suffering brings
    Than if they flowed from mine.

    And do not droop! however drear
    The fate awaiting thee;
    For MY sake combat pain and care,
    And cherish life for me!

    I do not fear thy love will fail;
    Thy faith is true, I know;
    But, oh, my love! thy strength is frail
    For such a life of woe.

    Were 't not for this, I well could trace
    (Though banished long from thee)
    Life's rugged path, and boldly face
    The storms that threaten me.

    Fear not for me--I've steeled my mind
    Sorrow and strife to greet;
    Joy with my love I leave behind,
    Care with my friends I meet.

    A mother's sad reproachful eye,
    A father's scowling brow--
    But he may frown and she may sigh:
    I will not break my vow!

    I love my mother, I revere
    My sire, but fear not me--
    Believe that Death alone can tear
    This faithful heart from thee.

    Anne Bronte


 

. If This Be All

    O GOD! if this indeed be all
    That Life can show to me;
    If on my aching brow may fall
    No freshening dew from Thee;

    If with no brighter light than this
    The lamp of hope may glow,
    And I may only dream of bliss,
    And wake to weary woe;

    If friendship's solace must decay,
    When other joys are gone,
    And love must keep so far away,
    While I go wandering on,--

    Wandering and toiling without gain,
    The slave of others' will,
    With constant care, and frequent pain,
    Despised, forgotten still;

    Grieving to look on vice and sin,
    Yet powerless to quell
    The silent current from within,
    The outward torrent's swell

    While all the good I would impart,
    The feelings I would share,
    Are driven backward to my heart,
    And turned to wormwood there;

    If clouds must ever keep from sight
    The glories of the Sun,
    And I must suffer Winter's blight,
    Ere Summer is begun;

    If Life must be so full of care,
    Then call me soon to thee;
    Or give me strength enough to bear
    My load of misery.

    Anne Bronte


 

. Memory

    BRIGHTLY the sun of summer shone
    Green fields and waving woods upon,
    And soft winds wandered by;
    Above, a sky of purest blue,
    Around, bright flowers of loveliest hue,
    Allured the gazer's eye.

    But what were all these charms to me,
    When one sweet breath of memory
    Came gently wafting by?
    I closed my eyes against the day,
    And called my willing soul away,
    From earth, and air, and sky;

    That I might simply fancy there
    One little flower--a primrose fair,
    Just opening into sight;
    As in the days of infancy,
    An opening primrose seemed to me
    A source of strange delight.

    Sweet Memory! ever smile on me;
    Nature's chief beauties spring from thee;
    Oh, still thy tribute bring
    Still make the golden crocus shine
    Among the flowers the most divine,
    The glory of the spring.

    Still in the wallflower's fragrance dwell;
    And hover round the slight bluebell,
    My childhood's darling flower.
    Smile on the little daisy still,
    The buttercup's bright goblet fill
    With all thy former power.

    For ever hang thy dreamy spell
    Round mountain star and heather bell,
    And do not pass away
    From sparkling frost, or wreathed snow,
    And whisper when the wild winds blow,
    Or rippling waters play.

    Is childhood, then, so all divine?
    Or Memory, is the glory thine,
    That haloes thus the past?
    Not ALL divine; its pangs of grief
    (Although, perchance, their stay be brief)
    Are bitter while they last.

    Nor is the glory all thine own,
    For on our earliest joys alone
    That holy light is cast.
    With such a ray, no spell of thine
    Can make our later pleasures shine,
    Though long ago they passed.

    Anne Bronte


 

. To Cowper

    SWEET are thy strains, celestial Bard;
    And oft, in childhood's years,
    I've read them o'er and o'er again,
    With floods of silent tears.

    The language of my inmost heart
    I traced in every line;
    MY sins, my sorrows, hopes, and fears,
    Were there-and only mine.

    All for myself the sigh would swell,
    The tear of anguish start;
    I little knew what wilder woe
    Had filled the Poet's heart.

    I did not know the nights of gloom,
    The days of misery;
    The long, long years of dark despair,
    That crushed and tortured thee.

    But they are gone; from earth at length
    Thy gentle soul is pass'd,
    And in the bosom of its God
    Has found its home at last.

    It must be so, if God is love,
    And answers fervent prayer;
    Then surely thou shalt dwell on high,
    And I may meet thee there.

    Is He the source of every good,
    The spring of purity?
    Then in thine hours of deepest woe,
    Thy God was still with thee.

    How else, when every hope was fled,
    Couldst thou so fondly cling
    To holy things and help men?
    And how so sweetly sing,

    Of things that God alone could teach?
    And whence that purity,
    That hatred of all sinful ways--
    That gentle charity?

    Are these the symptoms of a heart
    Of heavenly grace bereft--
    For ever banished from its God,
    To Satan's fury left?

    Yet, should thy darkest fears be true,
    If Heaven be so severe,
    That such a soul as thine is lost,--
    Oh! how shall I appear?

    Anne Bronte


 

. The Doubter's Prayer

    ETERNAL Power, of earth and air!
    Unseen, yet seen in all around,
    Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
    Though silent, heard in every sound;

    If e'er thine ear in mercy bent,
    When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
    And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
    To save lost sinners such as me:

    Then hear me now, while kneeling here,
    I lift to thee my heart and eye,
    And all my soul ascends in prayer,
    Oh, give me--give me faith! I cry.

    Without some glimmering in my heart,
    I could not raise this fervent prayer;
    But, oh! a stronger light impart,
    And in Thy mercy fix it there.

    While Faith is with me, I am blest;
    It turns my darkest night to day;
    But while I clasp it to my breast,
    I often feel it slide away.

    Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
    To see my light of life depart;
    And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
    Enjoys the anguish of my heart.

    What shall I do, if all my love,
    My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
    And if there be no God above,
    To hear and bless me when I pray?

    If this be vain delusion all,
    If death be an eternal sleep,
    And none can hear my secret call,
    Or see the silent tears I weep!

    Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
    Canst my distracted soul relieve;
    Forsake it not: it is thine own,
    Though weak, yet longing to believe.

    Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
    And make me know, that Thou art God!
    A faith, that shines by night and day,
    Will lighten every earthly load.

    If I believe that Jesus died,
    And waking, rose to reign above;
    Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
    Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love.

    And all the blessed words He said
    Will strength and holy joy impart:
    A shield of safety o'er my head,
    A spring of comfort in my heart.

    Anne Bronte


 

. A Word to the "Elect"

    YOU may rejoice to think yourselves secure;
    You may be grateful for the gift divine--
    That grace unsought, which made your black hearts pure,
    And fits your earth-born souls in Heaven to shine.

    But, is it sweet to look around, and view
    Thousands excluded from that happiness
    Which they deserved, at least, as much as you.--
    Their faults not greater, nor their virtues less?

    And wherefore should you love your God the more,
    Because to you alone his smiles are given;
    Because He chose to pass the many o'er,
    And only bring the favoured FEW to Heaven?

    And, wherefore should your hearts more grateful prove,
    Because for ALL the Saviour did not die?
    Is yours the God of justice and of love?
    And are your bosoms warm with charity?

    Say, does your heart expand to all mankind?
    And, would you ever to your neighbour do--
    The weak, the strong, the enlightened, and the blind--
    As you would have your neighbour do to you?

    And when you, looking on your fellow-men,
    Behold them doomed to endless misery,
    How can you talk of joy and rapture then?--
    May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

    That none deserve eternal bliss I know;
    Unmerited the grace in mercy given:
    But, none shall sink to everlasting woe,
    That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.

    And, oh! there lives within my heart
    A hope, long nursed by me;
    (And should its cheering ray depart,
    How dark my soul would be!)

    That as in Adam all have died,
    In Christ shall all men live;
    And ever round his throne abide,
    Eternal praise to give.

    That even the wicked shall at last
    Be fitted for the skies;
    And when their dreadful doom is past,
    To life and light arise.

    I ask not, how remote the day,
    Nor what the sinners' woe,
    Before their dross is purged away;
    Enough for me to know--

    That when the clip of wrath is drained,
    The metal purified,
    They'll cling to what they once disdained,
    And live by Him that died.

    Anne Bronte


 

. Past Days

    'TIS strange to think there was a time
    When mirth was not an empty name,
    When laughter really cheered the heart,
    And frequent smiles unbidden came,
    And tears of grief would only flow
    In sympathy for others' woe;

    When speech expressed the inward thought,
    And heart to kindred heart was bare,
    And summer days were far too short
    For all the pleasures crowded there;
    And silence, solitude, and rest,
    Now welcome to the weary breast--

    Were all unprized, uncourted then--
    And all the joy one spirit showed,
    The other deeply felt again;
    And friendship like a river flowed,
    Constant and strong its silent course,
    For nought withstood its gentle force:

    When night, the holy time of peace,
    Was dreaded as the parting hour;
    When speech and mirth at once must cease,
    And silence must resume her power;
    Though ever free from pains and woes,
    She only brought us calm repose.

    And when the blessed dawn again
    Brought daylight to the blushing skies,
    We woke, and not reluctant then,
    To joyless labour did we rise;
    But full of hope, and glad and gay,
    We welcomed the returning day.

    Anne Bronte


 

. The Consolation

    THOUGH bleak these woods, and damp the ground
    With fallen leaves so thickly strown,
    And cold the wind that wanders round
    With wild and melancholy moan;

    There IS a friendly roof, I know,
    Might shield me from the wintry blast;
    There is a fire, whose ruddy glow
    Will cheer me for my wanderings past.

    And so, though still, where'er I go,
    Cold stranger-glances meet my eye;
    Though, when my spirit sinks in woe,
    Unheeded swells the unbidden sigh;

    Though solitude, endured too long,
    Bids youthful joys too soon decay,
    Makes mirth a stranger to my tongue,
    And overclouds my noon of day;

    When kindly thoughts that would have way,
    Flow back discouraged to my breast;
    I know there is, though far away,
    A home where heart and soul may rest.

    Warm hands are there, that, clasped in mine,
    The warmer heart will not belie;
    While mirth, and truth, and friendship shine
    In smiling lip and earnest eye.

    The ice that gathers round my heart
    May there be thawed; and sweetly, then,
    The joys of youth, that now depart,
    Will come to cheer my soul again.

    Though far I roam, that thought shall be
    My hope, my comfort, everywhere;
    While such a home remains to me,
    My heart shall never know despair!

    Anne Bronte


 

. Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day

    MY soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
    And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
    For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
    Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.

    The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
    The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
    The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
    The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky

    I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
    The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
    I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
    And hear the wild roar of their thunder to-day!

    Anne Bronte


 

. Views of Life

    WHEN sinks my heart in hopeless gloom,
    And life can show no joy for me;
    And I behold a yawning tomb,
    Where bowers and palaces should be;

    In vain you talk of morbid dreams;
    In vain you gaily smiling say,
    That what to me so dreary seems,
    The healthy mind deems bright and gay.

    I too have smiled, and thought like you,
    But madly smiled, and falsely deemed:
    Truth led me to the present view,--
    I'm waking now--'twas THEN I dreamed.

    I lately saw a sunset sky,
    And stood enraptured to behold
    Its varied hues of glorious dye:
    First, fleecy clouds of shining gold;

    These blushing took a rosy hue;
    Beneath them shone a flood of green;
    Nor less divine, the glorious blue
    That smiled above them and between.

    I cannot name each lovely shade;
    I cannot say how bright they shone;
    But one by one, I saw them fade;
    And what remained when they were gone?

    Dull clouds remained, of sombre hue,
    And when their borrowed charm was o'er,
    The azure sky had faded too,
    That smiled so softly bright before.

    So, gilded by the glow of youth,
    Our varied life looks fair and gay;
    And so remains the naked truth,
    When that false light is past away.

    Why blame ye, then, my keener sight,
    That clearly sees a world of woes
    Through all the haze of golden light
    That flattering Falsehood round it throws?

    When the young mother smiles above
    The first-born darling of her heart,
    Her bosom glows with earnest love,
    While tears of silent transport start.

    Fond dreamer! little does she know
    The anxious toil, the suffering,
    The blasted hopes, the burning woe,
    The object of her joy will bring.

    Her blinded eyes behold not now
    What, soon or late, must be his doom;
    The anguish that will cloud his brow,
    The bed of death, the dreary tomb.

    As little know the youthful pair,
    In mutual love supremely blest,
    What weariness, and cold despair,
    Ere long, will seize the aching breast.

    And even should Love and Faith remain,
    (The greatest blessings life can show,)
    Amid adversity and pain,
    To shine throughout with cheering glow;

    They do not see how cruel Death
    Comes on, their loving hearts to part:
    One feels not now the gasping breath,
    The rending of the earth-bound heart,--

    The soul's and body's agony,
    Ere she may sink to her repose.
    The sad survivor cannot see
    The grave above his darling close;

    Nor how, despairing and alone,
    He then must wear his life away;
    And linger, feebly toiling on,
    And fainting, sink into decay.

       *    *    *    *

    Oh, Youth may listen patiently,
    While sad Experience tells her tale,
    But Doubt sits smiling in his eye,
    For ardent Hope will still prevail!

    He hears how feeble Pleasure dies,
    By guilt destroyed, and pain and woe;
    He turns to Hope--and she replies,
    "Believe it not-it is not so!"

    "Oh, heed her not!" Experience says;
    "For thus she whispered once to me;
    She told me, in my youthful days,
    How glorious manhood's prime would be.

    "When, in the time of early Spring,
    Too chill the winds that o'er me pass'd,
    She said, each coming day would bring
    a fairer heaven, a gentler blast.

    "And when the sun too seldom beamed,
    The sky, o'ercast, too darkly frowned,
    The soaking rain too constant streamed,
    And mists too dreary gathered round;

    "She told me, Summer's glorious ray
    Would chase those vapours all away,
    And scatter glories round;
    With sweetest music fill the trees,
    Load with rich scent the gentle breeze,
    And strew with flowers the ground

    "But when, beneath that scorching ray,
    I languished, weary through the day,
    While birds refused to sing,
    Verdure decayed from field and tree,
    And panting Nature mourned with me
    The freshness of the Spring.

    "'Wait but a little while,' she said,
    'Till Summer's burning days are fled;
    And Autumn shall restore,
    With golden riches of her own,
    And Summer's glories mellowed down,
    The freshness you deplore.'

    And long I waited, but in vain:
    That freshness never came again,
    Though Summer passed away,
    Though Autumn's mists hung cold and chill.
    And drooping nature languished still,
    And sank into decay.

    "Till wintry blasts foreboding blew
    Through leafless trees--and then I knew
    That Hope was all a dream.
    But thus, fond youth, she cheated me;
    And she will prove as false to thee,
    Though sweet her words may seem.

    Stern prophet! Cease thy bodings dire--
    Thou canst not quench the ardent fire
    That warms the breast of youth.
    Oh, let it cheer him while it may,
    And gently, gently die away--
    Chilled by the damps of truth!

    Tell him, that earth is not our rest;
    Its joys are empty--frail at best;
    And point beyond the sky.
    But gleams of light may reach us here;
    And hope the roughest path can cheer:
    Then do not bid it fly!

    Though hope may promise joys, that still
    Unkindly time will ne'er fulfil;
    Or, if they come at all,
    We never find them unalloyed,--
    Hurtful perchance, or soon destroyed,
    They vanish or they pall;

    Yet hope itself a brightness throws
    O'er all our labours and our woes;
    While dark foreboding Care
    A thousand ills will oft portend,
    That Providence may ne'er intend
    The trembling heart to bear.

    Or if they come, it oft appears,
    Our woes are lighter than our fears,
    And far more bravely borne.
    Then let us not enhance our doom
    But e'en in midnight's blackest gloom
    Expect the rising morn.

    Because the road is rough and long,
    Shall we despise the skylark's song,
    That cheers the wanderer's way?
    Or trample down, with reckless feet,
    The smiling flowerets, bright and sweet,
    Because they soon decay?

    Pass pleasant scenes unnoticed by,
    Because the next is bleak and drear;
    Or not enjoy a smiling sky,
    Because a tempest may be near?

    No! while we journey on our way,
    We'll smile on every lovely thing;
    And ever, as they pass away,
    To memory and hope we'll cling.

    And though that awful river flows
    Before us, when the journey's past,
    Perchance of all the pilgrim's woes
    Most dreadful--shrink not--'tis the last!

    Though icy cold, and dark, and deep;
    Beyond it smiles that blessed shore,
    Where none shall suffer, none shall weep,
    And bliss shall reign for evermore!

    Anne Bronte


 

. Appeal

    OH, I am very weary,
    Though tears no longer flow;
    My eyes are tired of weeping,
    My heart is sick of woe;

    My life is very lonely
    My days pass heavily,
    I'm weary of repining;
    Wilt thou not come to me?

    Oh, didst thou know my longings
    For thee, from day to day,
    My hopes, so often blighted,
    Thou wouldst not thus delay!

    Anne Bronte


 

. The Student's Serenade

    I HAVE slept upon my couch,
    But my spirit did not rest,
    For the labours of the day
    Yet my weary soul opprest;

    And before my dreaming eyes
    Still the learned volumes lay,
    And I could not close their leaves,
    And I could not turn away.

    But I oped my eyes at last,
    And I heard a muffled sound;
    'Twas the night-breeze, come to say
    That the snow was on the ground.

    Then I knew that there was rest
    On the mountain's bosom free;
    So I left my fevered couch,
    And I flew to waken thee!

    I have flown to waken thee--
    For, if thou wilt not arise,
    Then my soul can drink no peace
    From these holy moonlight skies.

    And this waste of virgin snow
    To my sight will not be fair,
    Unless thou wilt smiling come,
    Love, to wander with me there.

    Then, awake! Maria, wake!
    For, if thou couldst only know
    How the quiet moonlight sleeps
    On this wilderness of snow,

    And the groves of ancient trees,
    In their snowy garb arrayed,
    Till they stretch into the gloom
    Of the distant valley's shade;

    I know thou wouldst rejoice
    To inhale this bracing air;
    Thou wouldst break thy sweetest sleep
    To behold a scene so fair.

    O'er these wintry wilds, alone,
    Thou wouldst joy to wander free;
    And it will not please thee less,
    Though that bliss be shared with me.

    Anne Bronte


 

. The Captive Dove

    POOR restless dove, I pity thee;
    And when I hear thy plaintive moan,
    I mourn for thy captivity,
    And in thy woes forget mine own.

    To see thee stand prepared to fly,
    And flap those useless wings of thine,
    And gaze into the distant sky,
    Would melt a harder heart than mine.

    In vain--in vain! Thou canst not rise:
    Thy prison roof confines thee there;
    Its slender wires delude thine eyes,
    And quench thy longings with despair.

    Oh, thou wert made to wander free
    In sunny mead and shady grove,
    And far beyond the rolling sea,
    In distant climes, at will to rove!

    Yet, hadst thou but one gentle mate
    Thy little drooping heart to cheer,
    And share with thee thy captive state,
    Thou couldst be happy even there.

    Yes, even there, if, listening by,
    One faithful dear companion stood,
    While gazing on her full bright eye,
    Thou mightst forget thy native wood

    But thou, poor solitary dove,
    Must make, unheard, thy joyless moan;
    The heart that Nature formed to love
    Must pine, neglected, and alone.

    Anne Bronte


 

. Self-Congratulation

    ELLEN, you were thoughtless once
    Of beauty or of grace,
    Simple and homely in attire,
    Careless of form and face;
    Then whence this change? and wherefore now
    So often smoothe your hair?
    And wherefore deck your youthful form
    With such unwearied care?

    Tell us, and cease to tire our ears
    With that familiar strain;
    Why will you play those simple tunes
    So often o'er again?
    "Indeed, dear friends, I can but say
    That childhood's thoughts are gone;
    Each year its own new feelings brings,
    And years move swiftly on:

    "And for these little simple airs--
    I love to play them o'er
    So much--I dare not promise, now,
    To play them never more."
    I answered--and it was enough;
    They turned them to depart;
    They could not read my secret thoughts,
    Nor see my throbbing heart.

    I've noticed many a youthful form,
    Upon whose changeful face
    The inmost workings of the soul
    The gazer well might trace;
    The speaking eye, the changing lip,
    The ready blushing cheek,
    The smiling, or beclouded brow,
    Their different feelings speak.

    But, thank God! you might gaze on mine
    For hours, and never know
    The secret changes of my soul
    From joy to keenest woe.
    Last night, as we sat round the fire
    Conversing merrily,
    We heard, without, approaching steps
    Of one well known to me!

    There was no trembling in my voice,
    No blush upon my cheek,
    No lustrous sparkle in my eyes,
    Of hope, or joy, to speak;
    But, oh! my spirit burned within,
    My heart beat full and fast!
    He came not nigh--he went away--
    And then my joy was past.

    And yet my comrades marked it not:
    My voice was still the same;
    They saw me smile, and o'er my face
    No signs of sadness came.
    They little knew my hidden thoughts;
    And they will never know
    The aching anguish of my heart,
    The bitter burning woe!

    Anne Bronte


 

. Fluctuations

    WHAT though the Sun had left my sky;
    To save me from despair
    The blessed Moon arose on high,
    And shone serenely there.

    I watched her, with a tearful gaze,
    Rise slowly o'er the hill,
    While through the dim horizon's haze
    Her light gleamed faint and chill.

    I thought such wan and lifeless beams
    Could ne'er my heart repay
    For the bright sun's most transient gleams
    That cheered me through the day:

    But, as above that mist's control
    She rose, and brighter shone,
    I felt her light upon my soul;
    But now--that light is gone!

    Thick vapours snatched her from my sight,
    And I was darkling left,
    All in the cold and gloomy night,
    Of light and hope bereft:

    Until, methought, a little star
    Shone forth with trembling ray,
    To cheer me with its light afar--
    But that, too, passed away.

    Anon, an earthly meteor blazed
    The gloomy darkness through;
    I smiled, yet trembled while I gazed--
    But that soon vanished too!

    And darker, drearier fell the night
    Upon my spirit then;--
    But what is that faint struggling light?
    Is it the Moon again?

    Kind Heaven! increase that silvery gleam
    And bid these clouds depart,
    And let her soft celestial beam
    Restore my fainting heart!

    Anne Bronte


More Poems by Emily Bronte





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