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Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë

· Emily Brontë: Faith and Despondency · Emily Bronte: No Coward Soul Is Mine · Emily BRONTË: Remembrance · Charlotte Brontë: The Wood · Charlotte Brontë: The Wife’s Will · Emily Bronte: No Coward Soul Is Mine · Emily Brontë: The Night-Wind (vertaling Cornlis W. Schoneveld) · Anne Brontë: 2 Poems · Anna Brontë: Past Days · Anna Brontë: 3 Poems · Charlotte Brontë: Mementos · Emily Brontë: Stars

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Emily Brontë: Faith and Despondency

Emily Jane Brontë

(1818-1848)

 

Faith and Despondency


“The winter wind is loud and wild,

Come close to me, my darling child;

Forsake thy books, and mateless play;

And, while the night is gathering gray,

We’ll talk its pensive hours away;–

 

“Ierne, round our sheltered hall

November’s gusts unheeded call;

Not one faint breath can enter here

Enough to wave my daughter’s hair,

And I am glad to watch the blaze

Glance from her eyes, with mimic rays;

To feel her cheek, so softly pressed,

In happy quiet on my breast,

 

“But, yet, even this tranquillity

Brings bitter, restless thoughts to me;

And, in the red fire’s cheerful glow,

I think of deep glens, blocked with snow;

I dream of moor, and misty hill,

Where evening closes dark and chill;

For, lone, among the mountains cold,

Lie those that I have loved of old.

And my heart aches, in hopeless pain,

Exhausted with repinings vain,

That I shall greet them ne’er again!”

 

“Father, in early infancy,

When you were far beyond the sea,

Such thoughts were tyrants over me!

I often sat, for hours together,

Through the long nights of angry weather,

Raised on my pillow, to descry

The dim moon struggling in the sky;

Or, with strained ear, to catch the shock,

Of rock with wave, and wave with rock;

So would I fearful vigil keep,

And, all for listening, never sleep.

But this world’s life has much to dread,

Not so, my Father, with the dead.

 

“Oh! not for them, should we despair,

The grave is drear, but they are not there;

Their dust is mingled with the sod,

Their happy souls are gone to God!

You told me this, and yet you sigh,

And murmur that your friends must die.

Ah! my dear father, tell me why?

For, if your former words were true,

How useless would such sorrow be;

As wise, to mourn the seed which grew

Unnoticed on its parent tree,

Because it fell in fertile earth,

And sprang up to a glorious birth–

Struck deep its root, and lifted high

Its green boughs in the breezy sky.

 

“But, I’ll not fear, I will not weep

For those whose bodies rest in sleep,–

I know there is a blessed shore,

Opening its ports for me and mine;

And, gazing Time’s wide waters o’er,

I weary for that land divine,

Where we were born, where you and I

Shall meet our dearest, when we die;

From suffering and corruption free,

Restored into the Deity.”

 

“Well hast thou spoken, sweet, trustful child!

And wiser than thy sire;

And worldly tempests, raging wild,

Shall strengthen thy desire–

Thy fervent hope, through storm and foam,

Through wind and ocean’s roar,

To reach, at last, the eternal home,

The steadfast, changeless shore!”


Ellis Bell ( Emily Brontë) poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Archive A-B, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Emily Bronte: No Coward Soul Is Mine

EmilyBronte-wutheringheights

Emily Bronte

(1818-1848)

 

No Coward Soul Is Mine

 

No coward soul is mine,

No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:

I see Heaven’s glories shine,

And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

 

O God within my breast,

Almighty, ever-present Deity!

Life–that in me has rest,

As I–undying Life–have Power in Thee!

 

Vain are the thousand creeds

That move men’s hearts: unutterably vain;

Worthless as withered weeds,

Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

 

To waken doubt in one

Holding so fast by thine infinity;

So surely anchored on

The steadfast rock of immortality.

 

With wide-embracing love

Thy spirit animates eternal years,

Pervades and broods above,

Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

 

Though earth and man were gone,

And suns and universes ceased to be,

And Thou wert left alone,

Every existence would exist in Thee.

 

There is not room for Death,

Nor atom that his might could render void:

Thou–Thou art Being and Breath,

And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

 

Emily Jane Brontë poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Archive A-B, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Emily BRONTË: Remembrance

Emily Jane Brontë

(1818-1848)

 

Remembrance


Cold in the earth–and the deep snow piled above thee,

Far, far, removed, cold in the dreary grave!

Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,

Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?

 

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover

Over the mountains, on that northern shore,

Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover

Thy noble heart for ever, ever more?

 

Cold in the earth–and fifteen wild Decembers,

From those brown hills, have melted into spring:

Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers

After such years of change and suffering!

 

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee,

While the world’s tide is bearing me along;

Other desires and other hopes beset me,

Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!

 

No later light has lightened up my heaven,

No second morn has ever shone for me;

All my life’s bliss from thy dear life was given,

All my life’s bliss is in the grave with thee.

 

But, when the days of golden dreams had perished,

And even Despair was powerless to destroy;

Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,

Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.

 

Then did I check the tears of useless passion–

Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;

Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten

Down to that tomb already more than mine.

 

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish,

Dare not indulge in memory’s rapturous pain;

Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,

How could I seek the empty world again?

Ellis Bell (Emily Jane Brontë) poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: - Archive Tombeau de la jeunesse, Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Archive A-B, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Charlotte Brontë: The Wood

Charlotte Brontë

(1816–1855)


The Wood

But two miles more, and then we rest!

Well, there is still an hour of day,

And long the brightness of the West

Will light us on our devious way;

Sit then, awhile, here in this wood–

So total is the solitude,

We safely may delay.

 

These massive roots afford a seat,

Which seems for weary travellers made.

There rest. The air is soft and sweet

In this sequestered forest glade,

And there are scents of flowers around,

The evening dew draws from the ground;

How soothingly they spread!

 

Yes; I was tired, but not at heart;

No–that beats full of sweet content,

For now I have my natural part

Of action with adventure blent;

Cast forth on the wide world with thee,

And all my once waste energy

To weighty purpose bent.

 

Yet–sayst thou, spies around us roam,

Our aims are termed conspiracy?

Haply, no more our English home

An anchorage for us may be?

That there is risk our mutual blood

May redden in some lonely wood

The knife of treachery?

 

Sayst thou, that where we lodge each night,

In each lone farm, or lonelier hall

Of Norman Peer–ere morning light

Suspicion must as duly fall,

As day returns–such vigilance

Presides and watches over France,

Such rigour governs all?

 

I fear not, William; dost thou fear?

So that the knife does not divide,

It may be ever hovering near:

I could not tremble at thy side,

And strenuous love–like mine for thee–

Is buckler strong ‘gainst treachery,

And turns its stab aside.

 

I am resolved that thou shalt learn

To trust my strength as I trust thine;

I am resolved our souls shall burn

With equal, steady, mingling shine;

Part of the field is conquered now,

Our lives in the same channel flow,

Along the self-same line;

 

And while no groaning storm is heard,

Thou seem’st content it should be so,

But soon as comes a warning word

Of danger–straight thine anxious brow

Bends over me a mournful shade,

As doubting if my powers are made

To ford the floods of woe.

 

Know, then it is my spirit swells,

And drinks, with eager joy, the air

Of freedom–where at last it dwells,

Chartered, a common task to share

With thee, and then it stirs alert,

And pants to learn what menaced hurt

Demands for thee its care.

 

Remember, I have crossed the deep,

And stood with thee on deck, to gaze

On waves that rose in threatening heap,

While stagnant lay a heavy haze,

Dimly confusing sea with sky,

And baffling, even, the pilot’s eye,

Intent to thread the maze–

 

Of rocks, on Bretagne’s dangerous coast,

And find a way to steer our band

To the one point obscure, which lost,

Flung us, as victims, on the strand;–

All, elsewhere, gleamed the Gallic sword,

And not a wherry could be moored

Along the guarded land.

 

I feared not then–I fear not now;

The interest of each stirring scene

Wakes a new sense, a welcome glow,

In every nerve and bounding vein ;

Alike on turbid Channel sea,

Or in still wood of Normandy,

I feel as born again.

 

The rain descended that wild morn

When, anchoring in the cove at last,

Our band, all weary and forlorn

Ashore, like wave-worn sailors, cast–

Sought for a sheltering roof in vain,

And scarce could scanty food obtain

To break their morning fast.

 

Thou didst thy crust with me divide,

Thou didst thy cloak around me fold;

And, sitting silent by thy side,

I ate the bread in peace untold:

Given kindly from thy hand, ’twas sweet

As costly fare or princely treat

On royal plate of gold.

 

Sharp blew the sleet upon my face,

And, rising wild, the gusty wind

Drove on those thundering waves apace,

Our crew so late had left behind;

But, spite of frozen shower and storm,

So close to thee, my heart beat warm,

And tranquil slept my mind.

 

So now–nor foot-sore nor opprest

With walking all this August day,

I taste a heaven in this brief rest,

This gipsy-halt beside the way.

England’s wild flowers are fair to view,

Like balm is England’s summer dew

Like gold her sunset ray.

 

But the white violets, growing here,

Are sweeter than I yet have seen,

And ne’er did dew so pure and clear

Distil on forest mosses green,

As now, called forth by summer heat,

Perfumes our cool and fresh retreat–

These fragrant limes between.

 

That sunset! Look beneath the boughs,

Over the copse–beyond the hills;

How soft, yet deep and warm it glows,

And heaven with rich suffusion fills;

With hues where still the opal’s tint,

Its gleam of prisoned fire is blent,

Where flame through azure thrills!

 

Depart we now–for fast will fade

That solemn splendour of decline,

And deep must be the after-shade

As stars alone to-night will shine;

No moon is destined–pale–to gaze

On such a day’s vast Phoenix blaze,

A day in fires decayed!

 

There–hand-in-hand we tread again

The mazes of this varying wood,

And soon, amid a cultured plain,

Girt in with fertile solitude,

We shall our resting-place descry,

Marked by one roof-tree, towering high

Above a farmstead rude.

 

Refreshed, erelong, with rustic fare,

We’ll seek a couch of dreamless ease;

Courage will guard thy heart from fear,

And Love give mine divinest peace:

To-morrow brings more dangerous toil,

And through its conflict and turmoil

We’ll pass, as God shall please.

 

Currer Bell (Charlotte Brontë) poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Charlotte Brontë: The Wife’s Will

Charlotte Brontë

(1816 -1855)

 

The Wife’s Will

 

Sit still–a word–a breath may break

(As light airs stir a sleeping lake)

The glassy calm that soothes my woes–

The sweet, the deep, the full repose.

O leave me not! for ever be

Thus, more than life itself to me!

 

Yes, close beside thee let me kneel–

Give me thy hand, that I may feel

The friend so true–so tried–so dear,

My heart’s own chosen–indeed is near;

And check me not–this hour divine

Belongs to me–is fully mine.

 

‘Tis thy own hearth thou sitt’st beside,

After long absence–wandering wide;

‘Tis thy own wife reads in thine eyes

A promise clear of stormless skies;

For faith and true love light the rays

Which shine responsive to her gaze.

 

Ay,–well that single tear may fall;

Ten thousand might mine eyes recall,

Which from their lids ran blinding fast,

In hours of grief, yet scarcely past;

Well mayst thou speak of love to me,

For, oh! most truly–I love thee!

 

Yet smile–for we are happy now.

Whence, then, that sadness on thy brow?

What sayst thou? “We muse once again,

Ere long, be severed by the main!”

I knew not this–I deemed no more

Thy step would err from Britain’s shore.

 

“Duty commands!” ‘Tis true–’tis just;

Thy slightest word I wholly trust,

Nor by request, nor faintest sigh,

Would I to turn thy purpose try;

But, William, hear my solemn vow–

Hear and confirm!–with thee I go.

 

“Distance and suffering,” didst thou say?

“Danger by night, and toil by day?”

Oh, idle words and vain are these;

Hear me! I cross with thee the seas.

Such risk as thou must meet and dare,

I–thy true wife–will duly share.

 

Passive, at home, I will not pine;

Thy toils, thy perils shall be mine;

Grant this–and be hereafter paid

By a warm heart’s devoted aid:

‘Tis granted–with that yielding kiss,

Entered my soul unmingled bliss.

 

Thanks, William, thanks! thy love has joy,

Pure, undefiled with base alloy;

‘Tis not a passion, false and blind,

Inspires, enchains, absorbs my mind;

Worthy, I feel, art thou to be

Loved with my perfect energy.

 

This evening now shall sweetly flow,

Lit by our clear fire’s happy glow;

And parting’s peace-embittering fear,

Is warned our hearts to come not near;

For fate admits my soul’s decree,

In bliss or bale–to go with thee!

 

Currer Bell (Charlotte Brontë) poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: - Archive Tombeau de la jeunesse, Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Archive A-B, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Emily Bronte: No Coward Soul Is Mine

bronteemily 001

Emily Bronte

(1818-1848)

No Coward Soul Is Mine

 

No coward soul is mine,

No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:

I see Heaven’s glories shine,

And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

 

O God within my breast,

Almighty, ever-present Deity!

Life–that in me has rest,

As I–undying Life–have Power in Thee!

 

Vain are the thousand creeds

That move men’s hearts: unutterably vain;

Worthless as withered weeds,

Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

 

To waken doubt in one

Holding so fast by thine infinity;

So surely anchored on

The steadfast rock of immortality.

 

With wide-embracing love

Thy spirit animates eternal years,

Pervades and broods above,

Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

 

Though earth and man were gone,

And suns and universes ceased to be,

And Thou wert left alone,

Every existence would exist in Thee.

 

There is not room for Death,

Nor atom that his might could render void:

Thou–Thou art Being and Breath,

And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

 

Emily Jane Brontë poetry

(No Coward Soul Is Mine was her last poem)

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Archive A-B, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Emily Brontë: The Night-Wind (vertaling Cornlis W. Schoneveld)

Emily Brontë

(1818-1848)

 

The Night-Wind

In summer’s mellow midnight,

A cloudless moon shone through

Our open parlour window

And rosetrees wet with dew.

 

I sat in silent musing,

The soft wind waved my hair:

It told me Heaven was glorious.

And sleeping Earth was fair.

 

I needed not its breathing

To bring such thoughts to me,

But still it whispered lowly,

“How dark the woods will be!

 

“The thick leaves in my murmur

Are rustling like a dream,

And all their myriad voices

Instinct with spirit seem.”

 

I said, “Go, gentle singer,

Thy wooing voice is kind,

But do not think its music

Has power to reach my mind.

 

“Play with the scented flower,

The young tree’s supple bough,

And leave my human feelings

In their own course to flow.”

 

The wanderer would not leave me;

Its kiss grew warmer still –

“O come,” it sighed so sweetly,

“I’ll win thee ‘gainst thy will.

 

“Have we not been from childhood friends?

Have I not loved thee long?

As long as thou hast loved the night

Whose silence wakes my song.

 

“And when thy heart is laid at rest

Beneath the church-yard stone

I shall have time enough to mourn

And thou to be alone.”

1840

 

Emily Brontë

De nachtwind

In ‘t milde zomer-nachtuur

Scheen ‘t maanlicht helderblauw

Door de openstaande tuindeur

En rozenboom vol dauw.

 

Ik zat in rust te mijmeren,

Mij roerde zacht de wind:

Hij vond de Hemel roemrijk,

d’ Aard’, slapend, welgezind.

 

Zijn adem kon ik missen

Voor zo ‘n gedachtenlijn,

Maar toch sprak hij weer zachtjes,

“Het bos zal donker zijn!

 

“Het loof ritselt als schimmen

Door mijn geruis geraakt,

En al hun stemmen schijnen

Door geesten wijs gemaakt.”

 

Ik zei, “Ga, goede zanger,

Al klinkt je vlei-lied zoet,

Meen niet dat jouw nocturne

Mijn denken wankelen doet.

 

“Bespeel geurende bloemen,

Raak jonge twijgen aan,

Maar laat mijn mens-gevoelens

Hun eigen weg inslaan.”

 

De zwerver wou niet heengaan;

Zijn kus nam toe in gloed –

“O kom,” zuchtte hij zachtjes,

“Ik win je, wat je ook doet.

 

“Was jij van jongsaf niet mijn vriend?

Mind’ ik je niet allang?

Zo lang je al dol bent op de nacht

Wekt stilte daar mijn zang.

 

“En als op ‘t kerkhof in je graf

Je hart is neergevleid

Heb ik veel tijd voor rouwbeklag

En jij voor eenzaamheid.”

 

Vertaling Cornelis W. Schoneveld

Uit: Bestorm mijn hart, de beste Engelse gedichten uit de 16e-19e eeuw gekozen en vertaald door Cornelis W. Schoneveld, tweetalige editie. Rainbow Essentials no. 55, Uitgeverij Maarten Muntinga, Amsterdam, 2008, 296 pp, € 9,95 ISBN: 9789041740588

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Archive A-B, Brontë, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Anne Brontë: 2 Poems

Anne Brontë

(1820-1849)

 

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.

 

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 Brontë poetry

fleursdumal magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Anna Brontë: Past Days

A n n e  B r o n t ë

(1820-1849)


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.

 

Acton Bell (Anne Brontë) poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Archive A-B, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Anna Brontë: 3 Poems

Anne Brontë

(1820-1849)

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 Brontë poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Charlotte Brontë: Mementos

Charlotte Brontë

(1816–1855)


Mementos

Arranging long-locked drawers and shelves

Of cabinets, shut up for years,

What a strange task we’ve set ourselves!

How still the lonely room appears!

How strange this mass of ancient treasures,

Mementos of past pains and pleasures;

These volumes, clasped with costly stone,

With print all faded, gilding gone;

 

These fans of leaves from Indian trees–

These crimson shells, from Indian seas–

These tiny portraits, set in rings–

Once, doubtless, deemed such precious things;

Keepsakes bestowed by Love on Faith,

And worn till the receiver’s death,

Now stored with cameos, china, shells,

In this old closet’s dusty cells.

 

I scarcely think, for ten long years,

A hand has touched these relics old;

And, coating each, slow-formed, appears

The growth of green and antique mould.

 

All in this house is mossing over;

All is unused, and dim, and damp;

Nor light, nor warmth, the rooms discover–

Bereft for years of fire and lamp.

 

The sun, sometimes in summer, enters

The casements, with reviving ray;

But the long rains of many winters

Moulder the very walls away.

 

And outside all is ivy, clinging

To chimney, lattice, gable grey;

Scarcely one little red rose springing

Through the green moss can force its way.

 

Unscared, the daw and starling nestle,

Where the tall turret rises high,

And winds alone come near to rustle

The thick leaves where their cradles lie,

 

I sometimes think, when late at even

I climb the stair reluctantly,

Some shape that should be well in heaven,

Or ill elsewhere, will pass by me.

 

I fear to see the very faces,

Familiar thirty years ago,

Even in the old accustomed places

Which look so cold and gloomy now,

 

I’ve come, to close the window, hither,

At twilight, when the sun was down,

And Fear my very soul would wither,

Lest something should be dimly shown,

 

Too much the buried form resembling,

Of her who once was mistress here;

Lest doubtful shade, or moonbeam trembling,

Might take her aspect, once so dear.

 

Hers was this chamber; in her time

It seemed to me a pleasant room,

For then no cloud of grief or crime

Had cursed it with a settled gloom;

 

I had not seen death’s image laid

In shroud and sheet, on yonder bed.

Before she married, she was blest–

Blest in her youth, blest in her worth;

Her mind was calm, its sunny rest

Shone in her eyes more clear than mirth.

 

And when attired in rich array,

Light, lustrous hair about her brow,

She yonder sat, a kind of day

Lit up what seems so gloomy now.

These grim oak walls even then were grim;

That old carved chair was then antique;

But what around looked dusk and dim

Served as a foil to her fresh cheek;

Her neck and arms, of hue so fair,

Eyes of unclouded, smiling light;

Her soft, and curled, and floating hair,

Gems and attire, as rainbow bright.

 

Reclined in yonder deep recess,

Ofttimes she would, at evening, lie

Watching the sun; she seemed to bless

With happy glance the glorious sky.

She loved such scenes, and as she gazed,

Her face evinced her spirit’s mood;

Beauty or grandeur ever raised

In her, a deep-felt gratitude.

But of all lovely things, she loved

A cloudless moon, on summer night,

Full oft have I impatience proved

To see how long her still delight

Would find a theme in reverie,

Out on the lawn, or where the trees

Let in the lustre fitfully,

As their boughs parted momently,

To the soft, languid, summer breeze.

Alas! that she should e’er have flung

Those pure, though lonely joys away–

Deceived by false and guileful tongue,

She gave her hand, then suffered wrong;

Oppressed, ill-used, she faded young,

And died of grief by slow decay.

 

Open that casket-look how bright

Those jewels flash upon the sight;

The brilliants have not lost a ray

Of lustre, since her wedding day.

But see–upon that pearly chain–

How dim lies Time’s discolouring stain!

I’ve seen that by her daughter worn:

For, ere she died, a child was born;–

A child that ne’er its mother knew,

That lone, and almost friendless grew;

For, ever, when its step drew nigh,

Averted was the father’s eye;

And then, a life impure and wild

Made him a stranger to his child:

Absorbed in vice, he little cared

On what she did, or how she fared.

The love withheld she never sought,

She grew uncherished–learnt untaught;

To her the inward life of thought

Full soon was open laid.

I know not if her friendlessness

Did sometimes on her spirit press,

But plaint she never made.

The book-shelves were her darling treasure,

She rarely seemed the time to measure

While she could read alone.

And she too loved the twilight wood

And often, in her mother’s mood,

Away to yonder hill would hie,

Like her, to watch the setting sun,

Or see the stars born, one by one,

Out of the darkening sky.

Nor would she leave that hill till night

Trembled from pole to pole with light;

Even then, upon her homeward way,

Long–long her wandering steps delayed

To quit the sombre forest shade,

Through which her eerie pathway lay.

You ask if she had beauty’s grace?

I know not–but a nobler face

My eyes have seldom seen;

A keen and fine intelligence,

And, better still, the truest sense

Were in her speaking mien.

But bloom or lustre was there none,

Only at moments, fitful shone

An ardour in her eye,

That kindled on her cheek a flush,

Warm as a red sky’s passing blush

And quick with energy.

Her speech, too, was not common speech,

No wish to shine, or aim to teach,

Was in her words displayed:

She still began with quiet sense,

But oft the force of eloquence

Came to her lips in aid;

Language and voice unconscious changed,

And thoughts, in other words arranged,

Her fervid soul transfused

Into the hearts of those who heard,

And transient strength and ardour stirred,

In minds to strength unused,

Yet in gay crowd or festal glare,

Grave and retiring was her air;

‘Twas seldom, save with me alone,

That fire of feeling freely shone;

She loved not awe’s nor wonder’s gaze,

Nor even exaggerated praise,

Nor even notice, if too keen

The curious gazer searched her mien.

Nature’s own green expanse revealed

The world, the pleasures, she could prize;

On free hill-side, in sunny field,

In quiet spots by woods concealed,

Grew wild and fresh her chosen joys,

Yet Nature’s feelings deeply lay

In that endowed and youthful frame;

Shrined in her heart and hid from day,

They burned unseen with silent flame.

In youth’s first search for mental light,

She lived but to reflect and learn,

But soon her mind’s maturer might

For stronger task did pant and yearn;

And stronger task did fate assign,

Task that a giant’s strength might strain;

To suffer long and ne’er repine,

Be calm in frenzy, smile at pain.

 

Pale with the secret war of feeling,

Sustained with courage, mute, yet high;

The wounds at which she bled, revealing

Only by altered cheek and eye;

 

She bore in silence–but when passion

Surged in her soul with ceaseless foam,

The storm at last brought desolation,

And drove her exiled from her home.

 

And silent still, she straight assembled

The wrecks of strength her soul retained;

For though the wasted body trembled,

The unconquered mind, to quail, disdained.

 

She crossed the sea–now lone she wanders

By Seine’s, or Rhine’s, or Arno’s flow;

Fain would I know if distance renders

Relief or comfort to her woe.

 

Fain would I know if, henceforth, ever,

These eyes shall read in hers again,

That light of love which faded never,

Though dimmed so long with secret pain.

 

She will return, but cold and altered,

Like all whose hopes too soon depart;

Like all on whom have beat, unsheltered,

The bitter blasts that blight the heart.

 

No more shall I behold her lying

Calm on a pillow, smoothed by me;

No more that spirit, worn with sighing,

Will know the rest of infancy.

 

If still the paths of lore she follow,

‘Twill be with tired and goaded will;

She’ll only toil, the aching hollow,

The joyless blank of life to fill.

 

And oh! full oft, quite spent and weary,

Her hand will pause, her head decline;

That labour seems so hard and dreary,

On which no ray of hope may shine.

 

Thus the pale blight of time and sorrow

Will shade with grey her soft, dark hair;

Then comes the day that knows no morrow,

And death succeeds to long despair.

 

So speaks experience, sage and hoary;

I see it plainly, know it well,

Like one who, having read a story,

Each incident therein can tell.

 

Touch not that ring; ’twas his, the sire

Of that forsaken child;

And nought his relics can inspire

Save memories, sin-defiled.

 

I, who sat by his wife’s death-bed,

I, who his daughter loved,

Could almost curse the guilty dead,

For woes the guiltless proved.

 

And heaven did curse–they found him laid,

When crime for wrath was rife,

Cold–with the suicidal blade

Clutched in his desperate gripe.

 

‘Twas near that long deserted hut,

Which in the wood decays,

Death’s axe, self-wielded, struck his root,

And lopped his desperate days.

 

You know the spot, where three black trees,

Lift up their branches fell,

And moaning, ceaseless as the seas,

Still seem, in every passing breeze,

The deed of blood to tell.

 

They named him mad, and laid his bones

Where holier ashes lie;

Yet doubt not that his spirit groans

In hell’s eternity.

 

But, lo! night, closing o’er the earth,

Infects our thoughts with gloom;

Come, let us strive to rally mirth

Where glows a clear and tranquil hearth

In some more cheerful room.


Currer Bell (Charlotte Brontë) poetry

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


Emily Brontë: Stars

Emily Jane Brontë

(1818-1848)

 

S t a r s

Ah! why, because the dazzling sun

Restored our Earth to joy,

Have you departed, every one,

And left a desert sky?

 

All through the night, your glorious eyes

Were gazing down in mine,

And, with a full heart’s thankful sighs,

I blessed that watch divine.

 

I was at peace, and drank your beams

As they were life to me;

And revelled in my changeful dreams,

Like petrel on the sea.

 

Thought followed thought, star followed star,

Through boundless regions, on;

While one sweet influence, near and far,

Thrilled through, and proved us one!

 

Why did the morning dawn to break

So great, so pure, a spell;

And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek,

Where your cool radiance fell?

 

Blood-red, he rose, and, arrow-straight,

His fierce beams struck my brow;

The soul of nature sprang, elate,

But mine sank sad and low!

 

My lids closed down, yet through their veil

I saw him, blazing, still,

And steep in gold the misty dale,

And flash upon the hill.

 

I turned me to the pillow, then,

To call back night, and see

Your worlds of solemn light, again,

Throb with my heart, and me!

 

It would not do–the pillow glowed,

And glowed both roof and floor;

And birds sang loudly in the wood,

And fresh winds shook the door;

 

The curtains waved, the wakened flies

Were murmuring round my room,

Imprisoned there, till I should rise,

And give them leave to roam.

 

Oh, stars, and dreams, and gentle night;

Oh, night and stars, return!

And hide me from the hostile light

That does not warm, but burn;

 

That drains the blood of suffering men;

Drinks tears, instead of dew;

Let me sleep through his blinding reign,

And only wake with you!

 

Emily Brontë poetry

fleursdumal.nl magaziine

More in: Anne, Emily & Charlotte Brontë, Brontë, Anne, Emily & Charlotte


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