Skip to main content

Full text of "The Brontë sisters"

See other formats

THE  BRONTE  SISTERS                         3!
I see Heaven's glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.
O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Lifethat in me has rest,
As Iundying Lifehave 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. . . .
Emily's language seems to me to have a wonderful heather-
bloomthat is to say, separately the phrases are dun and
simple, but when massed into Emily's mighty pattern they
add up to majestic folds of purple. Her words are austere,
her metres (though varied) are not new. She scorns elabora-
tion, rejects the glittering adjective, the far-fetched image,
the eye-catching flourish; she states her meaning, one feels,
as plainly as she can, without any concession to the desire
for brilliance. But the strange music of her rhythm and her
piercingly exact choice of word give her line that mysterious
but potent magic which is the mark of true poetry. As for
the ideas her poems express, far from being now out-
dated they remain still in advance of the thought of our
The same fusion of the local and the universal occurs in
Wuthering Heights (1847), that fierce, wild, strange novel
whose quality is unique in English literature.
The story of Wuthering Heights is in essence simple,
concerning two symmetrical families and an intruding
stranger. The Earnshaw familya bluff prosperous York-
shireman, his wife, his son Hindley, his daughter Catherine
live in their handsome old family farmhouse, Wuthering
Heights, up in the folds of the moors. (The word 'wuther-
ing' is Yorkshire dialect for 'weathering', *a significant
provincial adjective', as Emily says ironically, 'descriptive