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Full text of "The Brontèˆ sisters"

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jO                            THE BRONTE  S1STEB.S
not merely a vividly pictorial but a profound emotional
effect. Such lines as:
Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding,
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side*
... 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. . . .
evoke in the hearts of those who love the moors a deep
nostalgic emotion.
But though Emily does not scorn to hymn the sheep, the
heather and the bluebell of the West Riding countryside,
she has also a 'space-sweeping soul5; she deals greatly with
great human themes. Courage, compassion and what some
critics call mysticism, but I myself prefer to analyse as an
awareness of the workings oif the cosmos, are the most
frequent subjects of her poems. Here are some lines from
the famous Stanzas to ------, which though written for a
Gondal situation probably reveal Emily's feelings towards
Branwell, and certainly express that profound but clear-
eyed compassion, condemning the deed but not the doer,
which characterizes the noblest thinkers of all time:
Do I despise the timid deer,
Because his limbs are fleet with fear?
Or, would I mock the wolf's death-howl,
Because his form is gaunt and foul?
Or, hear with joy the leveret's cry,
Because it cannot bravely die?
No ! Then above his memory
Let pity's heart as tender be.
And here are the first verses of Emily's most famous poem,
the magnificent lines which express at once her superb
courage and her belief in the God of Life:
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere: