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THE BRONTE  SISTERS                           35
In Withering Heights, as in her poemss Emily Bronte
makes us contemplate, without evasion, some of the most
powerful primal human motives, engaged, against a wild,
free5 stormy background, in ferocious conflict. She does
not, I think, make us experience the Aristotelean purge by
pity and terror; such emotio'ns are beneath her level of
courage. Rather does the lofty grandeur with which she
invests this tragic spectacle excite, strengthen and embolden
our spirit to be itself more freely and courageously.
Works of Anne Bronte
Anne Bronte's work not only forms a curious and
interesting complement to that of her sisters, but has a
certain special flavour of its own.
Looking over her sisters' papers after their death to edit
a further selection of their poems, Charlotte says she found
'mournful evidence9 of Anne's 'sincere but sorrowing
piety'. This still, quiet, sad, almost morbid piety is the
special personal characteristic of all Anne's work, which
shares its moorland material with Emily, its govemessing
with Charlotte. Her love for William Weightman, and
her frightened abhorrence of BranwelTs rackety ways, are
again her own peculiar experience, and out of all these she
Anne is not by any means a major poet. Her ideas lack
breadth and boldness; her words lack colour and animation.
But both have a certain quiet propriety and precision; grey,
mild but inexorable, like soft steady rain, her words express
a subdued but real intensity of feeling and steadiness of
purpose. Unlike Emily's, her narrative Gondal verses are
negligible, but her poems of personal experience deserve
attention. Sad little verses commemorate the sunny smile
and light heart of Mr. Weightman, the poem entitled
Domestic Peace reveals how poor Anne suffered from Bran-
well's destruction of that blessing, and her comments on her
governess's lot (Lines Written at Thorp Green), her longings
for time in which to be herself (Retirement) and her agonized