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Full text of "The complete poems of Emily Brontë"

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THE 

COMPLETE WORKS OF 
EMILY BRONTE 

IN TWO VOLUMES 



VOL. I. 
POETRY 



This edition is limited to 1000 copies in the United 

Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its 

Colonies and Dependencies, and the United 

States of America 



THE 

COMPLETE POEMS 

OF 

EMILY BRONTE 

EDITED BY 

CLEMENT SHORTER 



WITH INTRODUCTORY ESSAY 
BY 

W. ROBERTSON NICOLL 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 
NEW YORK AND LONDON 



A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

The admirer of Emily Bronte and her work has known her 
poetry up to the present through only some thirty-nine poems. 
There were twenty-two poems in the little volume entitled 
Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, which was the first 
venture of the three Miss Brontes ~, and there were yet another 
seventeen in the Posthumous Poems that Charlotte Bronte 
printed after Emily's death. These thirty-nine poems have 
been reprinted many times, usually at the end of 'The Professor. 
No less than one hundred and thirty-eight additional poems 
are included in the present volume. Although it cannot be 
pretended that any one of these is eqttal to ' The Old Stoic, 
that gave so much distinction to the first volume, or to the 
' Last Lines] that were the unforgettable glory of the second, 
it will scarcely be disputed that these newly printed verses are 
of profound interest. 

There is no incident in the profoundly pathetic story of the 
Brontes better known than that of the publication of the poems 
by the three sisters through the firm of Aylott and Jones 
of Paternoster Row. The little book bears the date 1846. 
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte here courted public favour 
for the first time. Only two copies were sold, as we learn from 
a letter that Currer Bell sent to certain eminent contemporaries 
to Tennyson, to Lockhart, to De Quincey, and to others. 
Here is the letter in question : 

June 1.6th, 1847. 

SIR, My relatives, Ellis and Acton Bell, and myself, heedless of 
the repeated warnings of various respectable publishers, have com- 
mitted the rash act of printing a volume of poems. 



vi POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The consequences predicted have, of course, overtaken us : our book 
is found to be a drug ; no man needs it of heeds it. In the space of a 
year our publisher has disposed but of two copies, and by what painful 
efforts he succeeded in getting rid of these two, himself only knows. 

Before transferring the edition to the trunkmakers, we have decided 
on distributing as presents a few copies of what we cannot sell ; and we 
beg to offer you one in acknowledgment of the pleasure and profit we 
have often and long derived from your works. I am, sir, yours very 
respectfully, CURRER BELL.* 

It is a curious irony of circumstance that this little volume^ 
which so failed of recognition when that would have heartened 
its authors beyond measure ', now sells , on the rare occasions 
that it turns up in the sale-rooms^ for more money than the 
whole issue cost Charlotte Bronte and her sisters when they had 
it published at their own expense. 

The additional poems which form, as may be seen, the 
larger part of this volume (pp. 85-333) were contained in 
note-books that Charlotte Bronte had handled tenderly when 
she made her Selection after Emily and Anne had died. 
These little note-books were lent to me by Mr. Nicholls, her 
husband^ some forty years afterwards, with permission to 
publish whatever I liked from them. No one to-day will 
deny to them a certain bibliographical interest. 

CLEMENT SHORTER. 



April ztfh, 1908. 



1 De Quincey Memorials, by Alexander H. Japp. See also Alfred, Lord 
Tennyson: a Memoir, by his Son, 1898, and Lockhart's Life by Andrew Lang, 
1897. 



CONTENTS 

POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1846 

PAGE 

I. FAITH AND DESPONDENCY 

1 The winter wind is loud and wild I 

II. STARS 

Ah ! why, because the dazzling sun . . 4 

III. THE PHILOSOPHER 

Enough of thought, philosopher ! . . . . 7 

IV. REMEMBRANCE 

Cold in the earth and the deep snow piled above 
thee 10 

V. A DEATH-SCENE 

'ODayl he cannot die 12 

VI. SONG 

The linnet in the rocky dells . . . -15 

VII. ANTICIPATION 

How beautiful the earth is still . . . 17 

VIII. THE PRISONER 

In the dungeon-crypts idly did I stray . . 19 

IX. HOPE 

Hope was but a timid friend 24 

X. A DAY DREAM 

On a sunny brae alone I lay .... 25 

XI. TO IMAGINATION 

When weary with the long day's care ... 29 

XII. HOW CLEAR SHE SHINES 

How clear she shines 1 How quietly . . 31 

rii 



viii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

PAGE 

XIII. SYMPATHY 

There should be no despair for you ... 33 

XIV. PLEAD FOR ME 

Oh, thy bright eyes must answer now . . 34 

XV. SELF-INTERROGATION 

' The evening passes fast away . , . . 36 

XVI. DEATH 

Death ! that struck when I was most confiding . 39 

XVII. STANZAS TO 

Well, some may hate, and some may scorn . 41 
xvni. HONOUR'S MARTYR 

The moon is full this winter night ... 42 

XIX. STANZAS 

I '11 not weep that thou art going to leave me . 45 

XX. MY COMFORTER 

Well hast thou spoken, and yet not taught . 46 

XXI. THE OLD STOIC 

Riches I hold in light esteem .... 48 
POSTHUMOUS POEMS 

EDITED BY CHARLOTTE BRONTE 

I. A little while, a little while 51 

II. THE BLUEBELL 

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower ... 54 
in. Loud without the wind was roaring , . . 56 
IV. Shall earth no more inspire thee . , . , 59 

V. THE NIGHT-WIND 

In summer's mellow midnight 61 

VI. * Aye there it is ! it wakes to-night , . 63- 

VII. LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP 

Love is like the wild rose-brier .... 65 
viii. THE ELDER'S REBUKE 

* Listen! When your hair, like mine. . . 66 



CONTENTS ix 

PAGE 

IX. THE WANDERER FROM THE FOLD 

How few, of all the hearts that loved . . 68 

X. WARNING AND REPLY 

In the earth the earth thou shalt be laid . 70 

XL LAST WORDS 

I knew not 'twas so dire a crime . . 71 

XII. THE LADY TO HER GUITAR 

For him who struck thy foreign string , , 72 

^ XIII. THE TWO CHILDREN 

Heavy hangs the rain-drop . . .73 

, XIV. Child of delight, with sun-bright hair . 75 

XV. THE VISIONARY 

Silent is the house : all are laid asleep , . 77 

XVI. ENCOURAGEMENT 

I do not weep ; I would not weep . . .79 

XVII. STANZAS 

Often rebuked, yet always back returning . 80 

xvni. No coward soul is mine 81 

PRIVATELY PRINTED POEMS 

I. O God of heaven ! The dream of horror . . 85 

II. SONG 

Lord of Elbe, on Elbe hill 89 

ill. Cold, clear, and blue the morning heaven . . 90 

IV. Tell me, tell me, smiling child .... 92 

V. High waving heather 'neath stormy blasts bending 93 
VI. The night of storms has past .... 94 

VII. I saw thee, child, one summer day ... 97 

Vlll. The battle had passed from the height , . 100 

IX. Alone I sat ; the summer day .... 102 

X. The night is darkening round me . . . 103- 

XI. I '11 come when thou art saddest . . . .104 
XII. I would have touched the heavenly key . . 105 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



PAGE 



xill. Now trust a heart that trusts in you . . .106 

XIV. Sleep brings no joy to me 107 

XV. Strong I stand, though I have borne . . . 108 

xvi. O Mother ! I am not regretting .... 109 
xvii. Awake, awake ! how loud the stormy morning . 112 

xvni. O wander not so far away ! . . . . 113 

XIX. Why do I hate that lone green dell ? . . -US 

XX. GLENEDEN'S DREAM 

Tell me, whether is it winter ?. , . .116 

xxi. It's over now; I 've known it all . . .119 

XXII. SONG 

This shall be thy lullaby . . , . .121 

xxiil. 'Twas one of those dark, cloudy days . . 122 

XXIV. DOUGLAS RIDE 

Well narrower draw the circle round . .124 

XXV. SONG 

What rider up Gobeloin's glen . , ,125 

XXVI. SONG 

Geraldine, the moon is shining . . .128 

xxvu. Where were ye all ? and where wert thou ? . 129 

xxviii. Light up thy halls ! 'Tis closing day . .130 

xxix. O dream, where art thou now ? . . . 133 

xxx. How still, how happy ! These are words . 134 

xxxi. The night was dark, yet winter breathed . .136 

XXXII. THE ABSENT ONE 

From our evening fireside now . . . 139 

XXXIII. TO THE BLUEBELL 

Sacred watcher, wave thy bells ! . . .141 

xxxiv. The busy day has hurried by . . . .142 

xxxv. And now the house dog stretched once more . 144 

xxxvi. Come hither, child ; who gifted thee . .146 
xxxvii. How long will you remain? The midnight 

hour 148 



CONTENTS xi 



PAGE 



xxxvin. Fair sinks the summer evening now . . .150 

xxxix. The wind I hear it sighing . . , .152 

XL. That wind, I used to hear it swelling . . 153 

XLI. Thy sun is near meridian height . . .154 

XLII. Far, far is mirth withdrawn . . . ,158 

XLIII. It is too late to call thee now , , , .160 

XLIV. If grief for grief can touch thee , , .161 

XLV. GERALDINE 

'Twas night, her comrades gathered all . 162 

XLVI. I see around me piteous tombstones grey . 165 

XLVII. ROSINA 

Weeks of wild delirium past . . , ,167 

XLVIII. In the same place, when nature wore . -171 

XLIX. ASPIN CASTLE 

How do I love on summer night . . .173 

L. ON THE FALL OF ZALONA 

All blue and bright in golden light . ,178 
LI. GRAVE IN THE OCEAN 

Where beams the sun the brightest . . 182 

LII. A SERENADE 

Thy Guardians are asleep . . . .184 

Lin. At such a time, in such a spot . . . .186 

LIV. RODERIC 

Lie down and rest, the fight is done , . 188 

LV. 'Twas yesterday at early dawn . . ,190 

LVI. This summer wind with thee and me , .192 

LVII. Were they shepherds, who sat all day . .193 

LVIII. Rosina, this had never been .... 207 

Lix. I know that to-night the wind it is sighing . 208 

LX. A thousand sounds of happiness . . .210 

LXI. Come walk with me 212 

LXII. I 'm standing in the forest now , . ,214 

LXIII. O hinder me by no delay 1 . , . .216 



xii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

PAGE 

LXIV. It was night, and on the mountains . , .219 

LXV. And first an hour of mournful musing . . . 220 

LXVI. Had there been falsehood in my breast . . 222 

LXVII. Yes, holy be thy resting-place .... 223 



UNPUBLISHED POEMS 

I. Gods of the old mythology ..... 227 

H. Its faded buds already lie 228 

in. Bitterly, deeply I 've drunk of thy woe . . . 229 

IV. Companions all day long we've stood . . . 231 

v. Oh, all the cares these noontide airs . . 233 

vi. There 's something in this glorious hour . 234 

vii. Sleep, mourner, sleep ! I cannot sleep . . 236 

viii. O might my footsteps find a rest ! . , 237 

IX. How Edenlike seem palace walls . , . 240 

x. Now but one moment let me stay . . , 241 

XI. RETIREMENT 

let me be alone awhile ! .... 242 

XII. DESPONDENCY 

1 have gone backward in the work . . . 243 

XIII. IN MEMORY OF A HAPPY DAY IN FEBRUARY 

Blessed be Thou for all the joy .... 245 

XIV. A PRAYER 

My God ! O let me call Thee mine ! , 248 

XV. CONFIDENCE 

Oppressed with sin and woe .... 249 

xvi. There let thy bleeding branch atone . 251 

xvn. I am the only being whose doom . , 252 

xvm. 'Tis moonlight, summer moonlight . . .253 

XIX. A sudden chasm of ghastly light . . . 254 

XX. AT CASTLE WOOD 

The day is done, the winter sun , , .257 



CONTENTS xiii 

PAGE 

XXI. On its bending stalk a bonny flower . . . 259 
XXII. And like myself lone, wholly lone . . . 261 

XXIII. TO THE HORSE BLACK EAGLE, WHICH I RODE 
AT THE BATTLE OF ZAMORNA 

Swart steed of night, thou hast charged thy 

last 263 

xxiv. All her tresses backward strayed , . . 264 

XXV. The wind was rough which tore . . . 267 

xxvi. His land may burst the galling chain . . 268 

xxvii. Start not ! upon the minster wall . . . 269 

XXViii. Redbreast, early in the morning . . . 270 

XXIX. Through the hours of yesternight . . .271 

xxx. Darkness was overtraced on every face . . 272 

xxxi. Harp of wild and dream-like strain . . . 273 

xxxn. The old church tower and garden wall . . 274 

XXXIII. There swept adown that dreary glen . . 275 

xxxiv. In dungeons dark I cannot sing . . , 276 

xxxv. When days of beauty deck the vale . . .277 

xxxvi. Still beside that dreary water .... 278 

xxxvn. The evening sun was sinking down . . . 279 

xxxviii. Fall, leaves, fall, die flowers away . . . 280 

XXXIX. Loud without the wind was roaring . . .281 

XL. All day I Ve toiled, but not with pain . . 282 

XLI. There was a time when my cheek burned . 283 

XLll. Mild the mist upon the hill .... 284 

XLIII. The starry night shall tidings bring . . .285 

XLIV. The organ swells, the trumpets sound . . 287 

XLV. What winter floods, what streams of spring . 288 

XLVI. None of my kindred now can tell . . . 289 

XLVII. Ladybird ! ladybird ! fly away home . .291 

XLVIII. I Ve been wandering in the greenwoods . . 297 

XLIX. May flowers are opening 298 



xiv POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



PAG 8 



L. That dreary lake, that moonlight sky . . . 300 

LI. Heaven's glory shone where he was laid . . 301 

LII. THAT WORD 'NEVER' 

Not many years but long enough to see . . 302 

LIII. I know not how it falls on me .... 303 

LIV. Month after month, year after year . . . 304 

LV. She dried her tears and they did smile . , 305 

LVI. I 'm happiest now when most away . . , 306 

LVII. Weaned from life and flown away . , , 307 

LVIII. All hushed and still within the house . . .308 

Lix. The sunshine of a summer sun .... 309 

LX. My ancient ship upon my ancient sea , . -311 

LXI. I do not see myself again 314 

LXII. Yet o'er his face a solemn light . . , .317 

LXIII. TO A WREATH OF SNOW 

transient voyager of heaven 1 . . . 319 

LXIV. SONG 

King Julius left the south country , . .321 

LXV. LINES 

1 die, but when the grave shall press . .322 

LXVI. SONG 

between distress and pleasure . , . 323 
LXVII. Shed no tears o'er that tomb .... 325 

LXVIII. Sleep not, dream not ; this bright day . . 327 

LXIX. LINES BY CLAUDIA 

1 did not sleep ; 'twas noon of day , . .328 

LXX. LINES 

Far away is the land of rest . 330 

LXXI. LINES 

The soft unclouded blue of air . . . .331 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY ON 
EMILY BRONTE 

I 

THIS volume contains the complete poems of 
Emily Bronte. Of these twenty-two appeared 
in the Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell 
published in 1846. After the death of Emily 
Bronte, seventeen poems were published by 
Charlotte Bronte. These are all derived from 
a manuscript transcribed in February 1844 by 
Emily Bronte, and written in microscopic char- 
acters. Four were left unprinted by Charlotte 
Bronte, and are now published. In addition, 
there was another volume of manuscripts and 
some poems written on small slips of paper of 
various sizes. All of these were unpublished till 
1902, when sixty-seven were privately printed by 
Dodd, Mead and Co. in an edition of only a 
hundred and ten copies. The rest of this volume, 
containing seventy-one poems, is here printed for 
the first time, and in a limited edition. It is 
not claimed for a moment that the intrinsic 



xvi POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

merits of the verses are of a special kind. But 
so very little is known of Emily Bronte, the 
greatest woman genius of the nineteenth century, 
that whatever throws light upon her thoughts 
is of high interest to her lovers. It is only for 
these that this book has been compiled and 
printed. 

How small our knowledge of Emily Bronte's 
life is may be best shown by a brief chrono- 
logical account of her thirty years : 

1818. Emily Bronte born at Thornton. 

1820. Anne Bronte born at Thornton. 

1820. The family remove to Haworth. 

1821 (September). The mother, Mrs. Bronte, 
died. 

1824. The little Bronte girls went to school 
at Cowan's Bridge. Emily, the prettiest of the 
little sisters, was ' a darling child, under five 
years of age, quite the pet nursling of the school.' 
As a matter of fact, Emily was in her seventh 
year. 

1826. The children established their plays, 
each choosing representatives. Emily chose 
Sir Walter Scott, Mr. Lockhart, and Johnny 
Lockhart. Blackwood 1 s Magazine was the 
favourite reading of the children, and they 
had also Southey and Sir Walter Scott left by 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xvii 

their Cornish mother, and ' some mad Methodist 
magazines full of miracles and apparitions, and 
preternatural warnings.' 

1831. Charlotte Bronte went to school at 
Roe Head. 

1832. Charlotte returned to Haworth in 
order to teach Emily and Anne what she had 
learned. After lessons they walked on the 
moors. At home Emily was a quiet girl of 
fourteen, helping in the housework and learning 
her lessons regularly. On the moors she was gay, 
frolicsome, almost wild. She would set the 
others laughing with her quaint sallies and genial 
ways. She is described as ' a strange figure 
tall, slim, angular, with a quantity of dark 
brown hair, deep, beautiful hazel eyes that 
could flash with passion, features somewhat 
strong and stern, the mouth prominent and 
resolute.' 

1833. Ellen Nussey, Charlotte Bronte's 
friend, came to Haworth, and made acquaint- 
ance with Emily, then about fifteen. Miss 
Nussey describes her as not ugly, but with 
irregular features, and a pallid thick complexion, 
and ' kind, kindling, liquid eyes.' She had no 
grace or style in dress. She was a great walker, 
and very fond of animals. Only one dog was 

b 



xviii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

allowed to her, though two seemed to have got 
into the house. Emily was very happy on the 
moor and talked freely. 

1835. Emily, when close on seventeen, went 
to school at Roe Head with Charlotte. The 
change from her own home to a school, and from 
her secluded but free and simple life to discipline 
and companionship, she found intolerable. She 
became miserably ill, threatening consumption, 
and had to go home. This restored her health 
almost immediately. 

In this year she found her brother Branwell 
beginning to go wrong, drinking in the public 
house and doing no work. 

1836 (Midsummer). Miss Nussey and 
Charlotte went to Haworth, and the girls had a 
taste of happiness and enjoyment. ' They were 
beginning to feel conscious of their powers, 
they were rich in each other's companionship ; 
their health was good, their spirits were high, 
there was often joyousness and mirth ; they 
commented on what they read ; analysed articles 
and their writers also ; the perfection of un- 
restrained talk and intelligence brightened the 
close of the days which were passing all too 
swiftly.' Charlotte and Emily would dance 
in exuberant spirits. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xix 

1836 (September). Emily went into a situa- 
tion as teacher in Miss Patchet's school at Law 
Hill, near Halifax, where there were some forty 
girls. She worked from six in the morning till 
eleven at night, with only half an hour of ex- 
ercise between, and soon broke down. At 
Christmas she came home to Haworth for a brief 
rest, and then returned to Halifax. 

J 837 (Spring). Emily's health broke down, 
and she came back to Haworth. 

1837-38. Emily alone at Haworth. Anne, 
Charlotte, and, for a time, Branwell were away. 

1837 (Christmas) found Charlotte, Emily, and 
Anne at Haworth nursing their old servant, 
Tabby, who had fallen on the slippery street 
and broken her leg. 

1839. Charlotte writes : ' I manage the 
ironing and keep the rooms clean ; Emily does 
the baking and attends to the kitchen/ 

1840. Emily, Branwell, and Charlotte were 
all at home together. Charlotte and Branwell 
had sent their writings to authors, Southey, 
Coleridge, and Wordsworth, but Emily had not. 
Her manuscripts were in her locked desk. 
Emily, Anne, and Charlotte were hoping to 
enlarge the parsonage at Haworth and keep 
school. 



xx POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

1840. Things were going fairly well, and 
Emily was, on the whole, happy. I have been 
told by Miss Nussey that the one man outside 
her home in whom Emily ever showed any 
interest was Mr. Bronte's first curate, the Rev. 
William Weightman. There was nothing like 
a love affair between them, but she was gracious 
to him and enjoyed his jests as they all walked 
together on the moors. But it is on record that 
Emily was trying to prevent the curate from 
pressing his attentions on Miss Nussey. It 
would seem that in no man's eyes was Emily 
passing fair. Emily's countenance, said Miss 
Nussey, ' glimmered,' as it always did when she 
enjoyed herself. 

1841. In the early months she was as happy 
as other country girls in a congenial home. 
Later on Miss Wooler offered Charlotte the 
good-will of her school at Dewsbury Moor, but 
though the girls wished to accept, no arrange- 
ment was carried through. In September 
Charlotte proposes to go with Emily to Brussels, 
in order that they might learn French and 
German, and fit themselves for keeping a school. 
She calculated that the journey would cost only 
five pounds for each, and that the living would 
be half as dear as in England. * I feel an 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxi 

absolute conviction that if this advantage 
could be allowed to us, it would be the making 
of us for life.' Arrangements were made to 
decline the school at Dewsbury Moor. Bridling- 
ton was thought of. Emily assented, being 
anxious that the school should be started. 

1842. Charlotte and Emily went to Brussels 
to the school of the Hegers. Heger thought 
that Emily knew no French at all. She was 
oddly dressed, and wore amazing leg-of-mutton 
sleeves, her pet whim in and out of fashion. 
She had a bitter sense of exile, but Charlotte 
enjoyed the change. Emily did not like Heger, 
and was as indomitable and fierce as Charlotte 
was gentle and obedient. But H6ger thought 
Emily had more genius than her sister. He 
was deeply impressed with her faculty of im- 
agination and her argumentative powers, and 
said : ' She should have been a man : a great 
navigator ! ' But the two were never friends. 
Emily was * wild for home/ and seldom spoke a 
word to any one. It was probably at this time 
that she composed the poem ' at twilight in the 
schoolroom,' ' The house is old, the trees are 
bare.' 

In the meantime, Charlotte was almost 
dangerously happy, but knew that Emily and 



xxii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

her teacher did not draw well together. Emily, 
however, was working very hard, especially at 
German and music. She became an excellent 
musician, and her piano playing is described as 
singularly accurate and expressive. The two 
studied French under Heger, whose method was 
to take an author and investigate his technique. 
Emily complained against this method, and 
said that it destroyed all originality of thought 
and expression. But in spite of this she 
wrote better exercises than Charlotte did. All 
the while she was in revolt. She made no 
intimate companions, and suffered much, dis- 
liking intensely what she thought the ' gentle 
Jesuitry of the foreign and Romish system/ 
Only her desire to be independent kept her in 
Brussels. 

1842. Madame Heger proposed that Char- 
lotte should teach English, and that Emily 
should teach music to the younger pupils, so 
that they might stay on without paying for 
half a year. They were too poor to go home 
for their holidays in August and September, 
and remained in Brussels. But they were called 
back in the end of October by the death of their 
aunt. 

1842 (Christmas). They were invited by 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxiii 

Hger to go back to Brussels. Emily would not 
consent. Branwell was at home, but the sisters 
had not seen him at his worst, and they were 
happy for three months. 

1843 (January). Charlotte went back to 
Brussels. Emily was left behind with Branwell 
for a short time. Branwell went away as tutor, 
and Emily was left alone with her father and old 
Tabby helping in the housework. She had 
Flossie, Anne's favourite spaniel, and Keeper, 
the fierce bulldog, cats, and other animals. 
Charlotte was not happy at Brussels. Bran- 
well was still drinking, and Anne was very 
anxious about him. Mr. Bronte, the father, 
was in failing health and tempted by stimulants. 
In the end of this year Emily wrote to Char- 
lotte urging her return. 

1844 (January). Charlotte arrived at Ha- 
worth very reluctantly. .' Haworth seems such 
a lonely quiet spot/ 

1844 (March). Emily and Charlotte were 
together thinking over the future. Charlotte 
wrote : ' Our poor little cat has been ill two 
days, and is just dead. It is piteous to see even 
an animal lying lifeless. Emily is sorry.' The 
girls wrote for pupils, but failed to get them. 
Branwell got worse and worse, drinking heavily 



xxiv POEMS OF EMILY BRONT] 

to excess. Emily had no friends. They gave 
up the idea of having pupils. 

1844 (July). Charlotte visited Miss Nussey. 
When she came back she found Branwell dis- 
missed by his employer. Charlotte, writing 
of her sister Emily, afterwards said : ' She had 
in the course of her life been called upon to 
contemplate near the end and for a long time 
the terrible effects of talents misused and 
faculties abused ; hers was naturally a sensitive, 
reserved, and dejected nature ; what she saw 
went very deeply into her mind : it did her 
harm.' Madame Duclaux (Miss A. Mary F. 
Robinson) in her truly sympathetic book on 
Emily Bronte, argues that Emily never wearied 
in her kindness for her unhappy brother, and 
always hoped to win him back by love when the 
other sisters had despaired. In March 1846, 
Charlotte Bronte wrote to Ellen : ' I went into 
the room where Branwell was to speak to him, 
about an hour after I got home ; it was very 
forced work to address him. I might have 
spared myself the trouble, as he took no notice 
and made no reply ; he was stupefied. My 
fears were not vain. I hear that he got a 
sovereign while I have been away, under pre- 
tence of paying a pressing debt ; he went im- 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxv 

mediately and changed it at a public house, and 
has employed it as was to be expected. Emily 
concluded her account by saying that he was a 
hopeless being. It is too true. In his present 
state it is scarcely possible to stay in the room 
where he is.' Madame Duclaux has also a 
very graphic account of a fire in which drunken 
Branwell must have been burned to death had 
it not been that Emily entered the blazing room, 
and half carried in her arms, half dragged out, 
her besotted brother. This is no doubt part 
of the extremely questionable Bronte tradition. 
The legend is almost certainly based on a similar 
episode in Jane Eyre. Mr. Swinburne had a 
special delight in the belief that Emily was 
kinder than her sisters, but, as Mr. Shorter has 
shown, there is no clear evidence for the fact. 
It is quite plain that she did less in the way 
of remonstrance than the others. 

1845. In autumn Charlotte accidentally 
lighted on a manuscript volume of verses in her 
sister's handwriting. She saw the value of the 
poems, and caught their new note. It was 
resolved that the sisters should publish a little 
volume together. 

1846 (May). Poems of the sisters Currer, 
Ellis, and Acton Bell were published by Messrs. 



xxvi POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Aylott and Jones. The book cost the authors 
thirty guineas, and two copies supplied the 
public demand. 

1846. The three sisters were each busy on 
a novel, Emily was writing Wuthering Heights, 
Charlotte The Professor, and Anne Agnes Grey. 
It was a heavy and dreary time. Bran well 
became more and more the oppression of the 
family. Out of very scanty means they had 
to pay his debts. The father was growing 
blind with cataract, and was deeply depressed, 
but the indomitable sisters completed their work, 
and Charlotte began Jane Eyre. 

1846 (August). Charlotte Bronte went to 
Manchester with her father, and Mr. Bronte 
went through an operation for cataract, which 
was successful. In the end of the year Wuther- 
ing Heights and Agnes Grey were accepted by 
Newby, a third-rate publisher of the time, who 
issued many worthless novels on commission. 

1847. The Professor was declined, but Jane 
Eyre was accepted and published by Smith and 
Elder. 

1847 (i4th December). Wuthering Heights 
and Agnes Grey were published by Newby, who 
was encouraged by the success of Jane Eyre. 
Charlotte Bronte writes : * Wuthering Heights 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxvii 

is, I suppose, at length published, at least Mr. 
Newby has sent the authors their six copies. 
I wonder how it will be received. I should say 
it merits the epithets of vigorous and original 
much more decidedly than Jane Eyre did. 
Agnes Grey should please such critics as Mr. 
Lewes, for it is true and " unexaggerated " 
enough. The books are not well got up ; they 
abound in errors of the press/ 

She writes on 2ist December to W. S. 
Williams : ' You are not far wrong in your 
judgment respecting Wuthering Heights and 
Agnes Grey, Ellis has a strong original mind 
full of strange though sombre power. When 
he writes poetry that power speaks in language 
at once condensed, elaborated, and refined, but 
in prose it breaks forth in scenes which shock 
more than they attract. Ellis will improve, 
however, because he knows his defects. Agnes 
Grey is the mirror of the mind of the writer. 
The orthography and punctuation of the books 
are mortifying to a degree. Almost all the 
errors that are corrected in the proof sheets 
appear intact in what should have been fair 
copies/ I have before me Emily Bronte's own 
copy of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey. 
Never in all literature was any coupling so in- 



xxviii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

congruous. The three volumes are in brown 
cloth labelled on the back Wuthering Heights I. ; 
Wuthering Heights II. ; and Agnes Grey III. 
Emily has corrected some of the misprints. 
For example : ' The distance from the gate 
to the Grange is to (sic) miles.' ' They shut 
the house door below never noticing our absence, 
it was so full of people.' For ' it ' is substituted 
1 the place.' One clause appears thus : ' Yah 
gooid fur nowt, slattenly witch ! nip up nud 
bolt intuh th' haks t' minute yah heard t' master's 
horse fit clatter up t' road.' For ' nud ' she 
puts ' and,' and for ' haks ' ' house.' 

1848 (September). Patrick Branwell Bronte 
died. Charlotte Bronte wrote : ' I myself, 
with painful, mournful joy, heard him praying 
softly in his dying moments ; and to the last 
prayer which my father offered up at his bedside, 
he added, " Amen." How unusual that word 
appeared from his lips, of course you, who did 
not know him, cannot conceive.' He was in 
the village just before his death. ' The removal 
of our only brother must necessarily be regarded 
by us rather in the light of a mercy than as a 
chastisement.' 

1 848 (29th October) . Charlotte Bronte 
writes : ' Emily's cold and cough are very 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxix 

obstinate. I fear she has a pain in the chest, 
and I sometimes catch a shortness in her breath- 
ing, when she has moved at all quickly. She 
looks very, very thin and pale. Her reserved 
nature occasions me great uneasiness of mind. 
It is useless to question her ; you get no answers. 
It is still more useless to recommend remedies ; 
they are never adopted. 1 

On 2nd November she writes again : * My 
sister Emily has something like a slow inflamma- 
tion of the lungs. . . . She is a real stoic in 
illness : she neither seeks nor will accept sym- 
pathy. . . . When she is ill there seems to be 
no sunshine in the world for me. The tie of 
sister is near and dear indeed, and I think a 
certain harshness in her powerful and peculiar 
character only makes me cling to her more/ 

1848 (22nd November). We have a glimpse 
of Emily in her last days. Charlotte Bronte 
writes to W. S. Williams : ' The North American 
Review is worth reading. There is no mincing 
the matter there. What a bad set the Bells 
must be ! What appalling books they write ! 
To-day, as Emily appeared a little easier, I 
thought the Review would amuse her, so I read 
it aloud to her and Anne. As I sat between 
them at our quiet but now melancholy fireside, 



xxx POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

I studied the two ferocious authors. Ellis, the 
" man of uncommon talents, but dogged, brutal, 
and morose," sat leaning back in his easy chair, 
drawing his impeded breath as he best could, 
and looking, alas ! piteously pale and wasted ; 
it is not his wont to laugh, but he smiled, half 
amused and half in scorn as he listened. Acton 
was sewing, no emotion ever stirs him to 
loquacity, so he only smiled too, dropping at 
the same time a single word of calm amazement 
to hear his character so darkly portrayed. I 
wonder what the reviewer would have thought 
of his own sagacity could he have beheld the pair 
as I did/ The critic, I may add, was E. P. 
Whipple, who, for many years, had a con- 
siderable reputation in America. 

1848 (iQth December). Emily Bronte died, 
1 conscious, panting, reluctant/ Mr. Shorter 
has recovered two precious fragments from her 
Journal, one dated 3Oth July 1841, the other 
3 1st July 1845. She had agreed with her sister 
Anne to write papers which each one was to 
open four years after. In 1841 she writes : 
' It is Friday evening, near nine o'clock wild 
rainy weather. I am seated in the dining-room, 
having just concluded tidying our desk boxes. 
Papa is in the parlour, aunt upstairs in her 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxxi 

room. . . . We are all stout and hearty. . . . 
A scheme is at present in agitation for setting 
us up in a school of our own ; as yet nothing is 
determined, but I hope and trust it may go on 
and prosper and answer our highest expectations. 
This day four years I wonder whether we shall 
still be dragging on in our present condition, 
or established to our hearts' content. Time 
will show. I guess that at the time appointed 
for the opening of this paper we, i.e. Charlotte, 
Anne, and I, shall be all merrily seated in our 
own sitting-room in some pleasant and flourish- 
ing seminary, having just gathered in for the 
midsummer ladyday. Our debts will be paid 
off, and we shall have cash in hand to a con- 
siderable amount. . . . And now I close, send- 
ing from far a exhortation of " Courage, boys ! 
courage," to exiled and harassed Anne, wishing 
she was here/ 

The next extract is dated Haworth, Thursday, 
3 1st July 1845 : ' My birthday showery, 
breezy, cool. I am twenty-seven years old to- 
day. This morning Anne and I opened the 
papers we wrote four years since, on my twenty- 
third birthday. This paper we intend, if all 
be well, to open on my thirtieth three years 
hence, in 1848.' She then summarises the 



xxxii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

events of the years, and says : ' I should have 
mentioned that last summer the school scheme 
was revived in full vigour. We had pro- 
spectuses printed, despatched letters to all 
acquaintances imparting our plans, and did our 
little all ; but it was found no go. Now I don't 
desire a school at all, and none of us have any 
great longing for it. We have cash enough for 
our present wants, with a prospect of accumu- 
lation. We are all in decent health, only that 
papa has a complaint in his eyes, and with the 
exception of B., who, I hope, will be better 
and do better hereafter. I am quite contented 
for myself : not as idle as formerly, altogether 
as hearty, and having learnt to make the most 
of the present and long for the future with the 
fidgetiness that I cannot do all I wish ; seldom 
or ever troubled with nothing to do, and merely 
desiring that everybody could be as comfort 
able as myself and as undesponding, and then 
we should have a very tolerable world of it. ... 
I have plenty of work on hand, and writing, 
and am altogether full of business. With best 
wishes for the whole house till 1848, July 3Oth, 
and as much longer as may be, I conclude, 
EMILY BRONTE/ ' As much longer as may be ' 
she had scarcely six months more. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxxiii 

We now see the extraordinary conditions 
under which this woman of genius did her work. 
Outside her own circle she had not a single 
friend. She never had a lover or any one who 
came near to be her lover. She was never out- 
side of Yorkshire save during the Brussels ex- 
perience, where she paid so dearly for the edu- 
cation which she hoped to turn into money. 
She had practically no acquaintances. The 
only people in Haworth she talked to were the 
servants and the visitors forced upon the home 
by the brother. Yet she loved life and shrank 
from death. Between her sister Anne and 
herself there was a tie of peculiar tenderness 
and closeness. She was passionately loved by 
Charlotte, who saw, nevertheless, something 
harsh in her temperament. There is no reason 
to suppose that she failed in affection to her 
father and her aunt, or to Branwell, though he 
may have wearied her out. She did the work 
of a servant in the house apparently with the 
greatest cheerfulness and efficiency. In the 
exercise of her imagination and in her love of 
nature she found peace. She refused to com- 
plain, and turned a front now calm, now defiant, 
to the most threatening circumstances. 



xxxiv POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

II 

The recognition of Emily Bronte's great 
powers did not come in her lifetime, and though 
authoritative voices have spoken, her place is 
D yet disputed. I have referred to the 
criticisms published at the time. Jane Eyre 
was originally published under the title Jane 
Eyre: an Autobiography, edited by Currer Bell. 
The word ' edited ' was, of course, put in to 
negative the idea that Currer Bell was writing 
the history of her own life. But critics of the 
time misunderstood and were suspicious. The 
Athenceum in reviewing Withering Heights and 
Agnes Grey, said : ' Jane Eyre, it will be recol- 
lected, was edited by Mr. Currer Bell. Here are 
two tales so nearly related to Jane Eyre in cast 
of thought, incident, and language as to excite 
some curiosity. All three might be the work 
of one hand but the first issued remains the 
best. 1 It is to be feared that Mr. Newby 
sought some advantage from the suspicion. 
He advertised Withering Heights (leaving out 
Agnes Grey) along with Mrs. Crowe's Night- 
side of Nature, a work not quite forgotten. In 
his advertisement he quoted from the Atlicnccum 
and also from the Spectator, which said : * The 



INTRODUCTORY KSSAY xxxv 

work bears affinity to Jane Eyre' M< Irk out. 
the pseudonyms of the sisters, Kllis and Acton 
H<-ll. Naturally they took umbrage at Haworth, 
though Newby published The Tenant of Wildjdl 
Hall. One of the oddest criticisms of the time 
was by Douglas Jerrold : ' We strongly re- 
commend all our readers to get this story. 
We promise them they never read anything like 
it before.' The Atlas said : ' It reminds us of 
The Newlands, by Banim. It is a colossal 
performance.' Britannia said : ' The author 
is a Sal va tor Rosa with his pen,' and the Star 
complacently remarked : ' It is not often that 
two such talented novels as Jane Eyre and 
Wuthering Heights are published in the same 
season/ But the critics unanimously objected 
to the subject. The Spectator said of Wuthering 
Heights : * The success is not equal to the 
abilities of the writer, chiefly because the in- 
cidents and persons are too coarse and dis- 
agreeable to be attractive . . . with an immoral 
taint about them, and the villainy not leading 
to results sufficient to justify the elaborate 
pains taken in depicting it ! ' The first authori- 
tative recognition came from Sydney Dobell, 
who wrote a paper in a short-lived periodical 
called the Palladium, full of just, eloquent, and 



xxxvi POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

discriminating praise. This, which is by far the 
best of Sydney De-bell's generally too cloudy and 
ambitious criticisms, has been reprinted in his 
Life and Letters. Dobell, who was then twenty- 
six in 1850, insisted that Wufhering Heights was 
an early work of Charlotte Bronte, and spoke of 
' those powers of insight, that instinctive obedi- 
ence to the nature within her, and those occur- 
rences of infallible inspiration which astound 
the critic in the young author of Wuthering 
Heights. 1 He also attributed The Tenant of 
Wildfell Hall to the same pen. Dr. John Brown, 
in a letter to Lady Trevelyan dated 23rd June 
1851, wrote : * Have you read Wuthering Heights 
carefully ? I did so last week and think it a 
work of the highest genius. If it had been in 
the form of a Tragedy, it would have been the 
noblest bit of intensity and passion and human 
nature, in the rough and wild, since Shakespeare 
it is far above Jane Eyre.' I may also quote 
Dante Rossetti, who writes in 1854 to William 
Allingham : ' I 've been greatly interested in 
Wuthering Heights, the first novel I 've read for 
an age, and the best (as regards power and sound 
style) for two ages, except Sidonia. But it is 
a fiend of a book an incredible monster, com- 
bining all the stronger female tendencies from 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxxvii 

Mrs. Browning to Mrs. Brownrigg. The action 
is laid in hell only it seems places and people 
have English names there/ Matthew Arnold 
paid his tribute in the well-known lines : 

'. . . she 

(How shall I sing her ?) whose soul 
Knew no fellow for might, 
Passion, vehemence, grief, 
Daring, since Byron died, 
That world-famed son of fire she, who sank 
Baffled, unknown, self-consumed; 
Whose too bold dying song 
Stirr'd, like a clarion-blast, my soul.' 

From this it was evident that it was Emily 
Bronte's poetry rather than her prose that 
roused Arnold's enthusiasm. The work of 
Madame Duclaux (1883) is one of some real 
value, and the critical part is sound. But the 
noblest and the wisest praise is that given by 
Mr. Swinburne in his well-known work, A Note 
on Charlotte Bronte, and with a yet more deep 
and delicate insight in the Essay on Emily 
Bronte, which is published in his Miscellanies. 
The appreciation by Mrs. Humphry Ward, 
in her introduction to Wuthering HeigJits, is at 
once penetrating and generous. 



xxxviii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

III 

How did this lonely girl come to write a book 
at once so great and yet so strange ? What were 
her sources ? Mrs. Humphry Ward, following 
Mr. Shorter, has suggested, without dogmatising, 
that Emily Bronte worked probably under in- 
fluences from German literature. We know that 
the Brontes read Blackwood diligently, and Mrs. 
Humphry Ward has discovered that Blackwood 
published about 1839 certain translations includ- 
ing Tieck's Pietro d'Abano. It is barely possible 
that the story of the ' beautiful and deeply 
beloved Crescentia ' might have been read with 
pleasure by Emily, but I can find no real likeness 
between it and Wutliering Heights. Mrs. Ward 
also suggests Goethe's Dichtung und Wahrheit, 
but surely nothing could be more remote from the 
spirit of that book than the spirit of Wuthering 
Heights. Nor have I been able to find anything 
that justifies the suggestion that Hoffmann was 
an influence. The wild Irish stories which Mr. 
Bronte must have known at least have also 
been mentioned as possible influences, and I am 
strongly inclined to think that the Brontes 
must have known some of the books of Banim. 
As an Irishman, Mr. Bronte would relish those 
Rembrandtesque sketches of the Irish peasantry 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xxxix 

which were intended to do for the Irish what 
Scott had done for the Scottish in his Waverley 
Novels. But this is all conjecture. On the 
other hand, we know that Charlotte Bronte, 
the most truthful of women, says that the 
materials for Wuthering Heights were gathered 
in Yorkshire. Her words must be quoted : 
' Though her feeling for the people round was 
benevolent, intercourse with them she never 
sought ; nor, with very few exceptions, ever 
experienced. And yet she knew them : knew 
their ways, their language, their family histories ; 
she could hear of them with interest, and talk 
of them with detail, minute, graphic, and 
accurate ; but with them she rarely exchanged 
a word. Hence it ensued that what her mind 
had gathered of the real concerning them was 
too exclusively confined to those tragic and 
terrible traits of which, in listening to the secret 
annals of every rude vicinage^, the memory is 
sometimes compelled to receive the impress. 
Her imagination, which was a spirit more sombre 
than sunny, more powerful than sportive, found 
in such traits materials whence it wrought 
creations like Heathcliff, like Earnshaw, like 
Catherine.' It is worthy of note that the 
contemporary critics objected to the book, not 
so much because it was improbable, as because 



xl POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

it was disagreeable. In fact the Athenczum 
admitted ' its truth to life in the remote nooks 
and corners of England.' The reviewer goes 
on to complain of the painful and exceptional 
subject, and especially of the descriptions of 
physical acts of cruelty. ' The brutal master 
of the lonely house on Wuthering Heights a 
prison which might be pictured from life has 
doubtless had his prototype in those ungenial 
and remote districts where human beings, like 
the trees, grow gnarled and dwarfed and distorted 
by the inclement climate ; but he might have 
been indicated with far fewer touches, in place 
of so entirely filling the canvas that there is 
hardly a scene untainted by his presence/ 
The authors are warned against what is eccentric 
and unpleasant. ' Never was there a period in 
the history of Society when we English could 
so ill afford to dispense with sunshine/ The 
period of Wuthering Heights was in the end of 
the eighteenth century and the beginning of the 
nineteenth, the same as some of the stories in 
Mr. Hardy's Wessex Tales and A Group of Noble 
Dames. Mr. Swinburne's words are decisive : 
1 The book is what it is because the author was 
what she was ; this is the main and central 
fact to be remembered. Circumstances have 
modified the details ; they have not implanted 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xli 

the conception.' But every writer on the 
Brontes is brought up against the repellent 
figure of the miserable brother, Patrick Branwell 
Bronte. Most readers of Madame Duclaux's 
book have felt with Mr. Swinburne, that i of 
that lamentable and contemptible caitiff con- 
temptible not so much for his commonplace 
debauchery as for his abject selfishness, his 
lying pretension, and his nerveless cowardice 
there is far too much in this memoir.' But on 
close study it has to be admitted that this 
wretched creature had but too much influence 
on the minds of his sisters. Of their gifts he 
had not a particle. I have read many of his 
compositions, and there is scarcely a line in 
them that deserves to be printed. He comes 
into prominence because, unlike his sisters, he 
mingled but too freely with his neighbours, and 
with all who would make acquaintance with 
him. He was garrulous, boastful, coarse, and 
thankless. He spared his sisters nothing. He 
gave them in full detail the story of his de- 
baucheries evidently with gross exaggeration 
so far as his own victories were concerned. 
They had to hear him, however reluctantly 
the listening might be, and it is plain that they 
believed the very worst. Of the monstrous 
theory that Branwell Bronte had anything to 



xlii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

do with the books of his sisters, I can scarcely 
trust myself to speak. Those who hold it out- 
rage all decency in bringing, as they virtually 
do, a charge of the basest untruthful ness against 
Charlotte Bronte. Can any one read what she 
has written about her sisters and believe for a 
moment that the honours of their achievement 
can be divided ? Happily we have the ex- 
plicit statement of Charlotte Bronte, in her 
letter to W. S. Williams, announcing Branwell's 
death : ' My unhappy brother never knew 
what his sisters had done in literature he was 
not aware that they had ever published a line. 
We could not tell him of our efforts for fear of 
causing him too deep a pang of remorse for his 
own time misspent, and talents misapplied.' 
It is not only possible, but likely, that much of 
Branwell's foul talk was put into the mouths 
of certain among his sisters' characters. In 
Wuthering Heights we read : ' Two words would 
comprehend my future death and hell ; exist- 
ence after losing her would be hell. Yet I was a 
fool to fancy for a moment that she valued 
Edgar Linton's attachment more than mine. 
If he loved with all the force of his puny being, 
he would never love in eighty years as much as 
I could do in a day.' In one of Branwell's 
letters we find these words : ' My own life 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xliii 

without her would be hell. What can the so- 
called love of her wretched, sickly husband be 
to her compared with mine ? ' 

IV 

But those who read with care the works 
of the three sisters will perceive that Branwell 
did not affect them in the same way. Charlotte 
Bronte, in one of her letters, contrasts Hunting- 
don (in Wildfell Hall), Rochester, and Heath- 
cliff. She says that ' Heathcliff exemplifies the 
effects which a life of continual injustice and 
hard usage may produce on a natural, perverse, 
vindictive, and inexorable disposition, while 
Huntingdon is a sensual man, who never profits 
by experience, and Rochester lives for a time 
as too many other men live, but he does not 
like the degraded life, and is not happy in it.' 
The truth is that the more earthly side of passion 
is ignored by Emily. Anne Bronte takes facts 
as they are, and in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 
gives a nearer rendering of Branwell and his 
associates as she conceived them than either of 
her sisters. Mr. Swinburne unerringly puts his 
finger on the place, and says that The Tenant of 
Wildfell Hall ' as a study of utterly flaccid and 
invertebrate immorality bears signs of more faith- 
ful transcription from life than anything in Jane 



xliv POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Eyre or Wuthering Heights.' It is not easy to 
state the contrast without doing injustice to 
Charlotte and Anne Bronte, but it is a very 
real difference. Emily Bronte's mind was as 
virginal as that of Di Vernon. ' Os virginis 
habitumque gerens et virginis arma.' To quote 
Mr. Swinburne again, the unique quality of 
Wuthering Heights is the special and distinctive 
character of its passion. l The love which 
devours life itself, which devastates the present 
and desolates the future with unquenchable 
and raging fire, has nothing less pure in it than 
flame or sunlight. And this passionate and 
ardent chastity is utterly and unmistakably 
spontaneous and unconscious. Not till the 
story is ended, not till the effect of it has been 
thoroughly absorbed and digested, does the 
reader even perceive the simple and natural 
absence of any grosser element, any hint or 
suggestion of a baser alloy in the ingredients of 
its human emotion than in the splendour of 
lightning or the roll of a gathered wave. Then, 
as on issuing sometimes from the tumult of 
charging waters, he finds, with something of 
wonder, how absolutely pure and sweet was the 
element of living storm with which his own nature 
has been for a while made one ; not a grain in 
it of soiling sand, not a waif of clogging weed/ 



INTRODUCTORY KSSAY xlv 

It is the author's ' passionate and ardent chastity * 
that marks most deeply the character and the 
work of Emily Bronte. 



For unquestionably her novel and the best 
of her poems are more unmistakably works of 
genius than even the books of Charlotte Bronte*. 
Wuthering Heights is, from beginning to end, 
a pure and purifying tragedy. It excels in its 
pictures of dreamland and delirium. The writer 
is most secure when she is treading the path of a 
single hair. With the ordinary things that 
make up the personality of an author she has 
nothing to do. The only quotation I remember 
in her writings is very characteristic : 

* It was far in the night and the bairnies grat, 
The mither beneath the mools heard that.' 

It is very hard to extract any lessons from the 
book, and the preferences expressed in it are 
simple and enduring. Above all are the passion 
for liberty and the belief that death makes 
peace. It is dangerous to conclude that a writer 
is ignorant of certain facts and relations of life. 
She is not ignorant ; she could hardly be ignor- 
ant, but she rises above such things. 

As to her personal faith or unfaith, many 



xlvi POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

q .stions have been asked, and will continue 
to be asked. The mere fact that she was 
apparently unconscious of any jarring between 
the very feeble and conventional Agnes Grey 
and her own grand and daring work shows, I 
think, that she had no disposition to take up 
arms against the prevailing faith. She was 
apparently quite satisfied in her round of duties 
and conformities, though she would suffer no 
one to impose upon her fresh yokes. It is 
amazing that the critics of the time could have 
believed that the little tale of the mild affection 
of a curate for a governess, or rather of a gover- 
ness for a curate, and their safe establishment in 
a parsonage, with three hundred pounds a year, 
could have come from the same hand as that 
which drew Heathcliff and Catherine. In her 
poems she speaks at times the language of her 
surroundings. But now that her life is closed 
by death and rounded by the past, it is evident 
that her strong vivid personality found rest in 
a form of stoicism. She wrote nothing after 
Wuthering Heights, save the fine lines, ' No 
coward soul in mine.' This has been interpreted 
by good critics as signifying that life and sin 
and punishment end with death, and with every 
soul being absorbed in the infinite. But 
Mr. Swinburne is of another mind. He says : 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY xlvii 



' Belief in the personal or positive i 
of the individual and indivisible spirit was not 
apparently, in her case, swallowed up or nullified 
or made nebulous by any doctrine or dream of 
simple reabsorption into some indefinite in- 
finity of eternal life. So at least it seems to 
me that her last ardent confession of dauntless 
and triumphant faith should properly be read, 
however capable certain phrases in it may seem 
of the vaguer and more impersonal interpre- 
tation.' It is obvious that she was attracted 
neither by the rude fervours of the Yorkshire 
chapels nor by the bigotry of the clergy, and 
there we must leave it. Mr. R. B. Haldane 
says, ' It contains the teaching of Aristotle trans- 
ferred from the abstract to the concrete. 1 

Of the verses which follow a few are entitled 
to rank with the finest of English lyrics. The 
best are bursts of irrepressible feeling, the ex- 
pression of a single overruling mood. Many 
of those printed for the first time were written 
in connection with that unmapped country the 
Gondaland, about which the sisters wrote and 
talked so much. Among the noblest lyrics are 
' Remembrance,' ' Death,' ' The Visionary,' and 
* A Little While.' The last stands alone for 
its vehement nostalgia. Mrs. Humphry Ward 
calls attention more than once to the extraor- 



xlviii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

dinary fact that this poem was written by a girl 
of sixteen. It is true Charlotte Bronte says that 
the poem was ' written in her sixteenth year.' 
But this is manifestly an error. Born on 3Oth 
July 1818 Emily when she went to Roe Head on 
the 2Qth July 1835 was just completing her 
seventeenth year. Even so the achievement 
would be very remarkable. But Madame 
Duclaux, who had a manuscript copy of the 
poems in which Emily has written the dates, 
assigns the piece to the Brussels period, and this 
is much more probable. The ' alien firelight' 
suits Brussels much better than the Yorkshire 
hearth of ' good, kind ' Miss Wooler. In fact the 
literary genius of the Brontes was comparatively 
late in developing. Though they wrote incess- 
antly from their earliest days, none of them 
wrote anything of importance till after twenty, 
and the early stories of Charlotte show no signs 
of promise. 

What would Emily have been if life had been 
kind ? Charlotte's answer to that question 
will be found in Shirley. Shirley Keeldar was, 
Charlotte Bronte said, what Emily might have 
been had she been blessed in health and 
prosperity. 

W. ROBERTSON NICOLL, 



EARLY POEMS 



Reprinted from Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. 
London : Aylott and Jones, 8 Paternoster Row. 1846. 



POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1846 



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 grey, 
We '11 talk its pensive hours away ; 

' lerne, 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 ; 
A 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

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 I 
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 ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

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 '11 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 ! ' 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

ii 
STARS 

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 ? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

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 ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

That drains the blood of suffering men ; 

Drinks tears, instead of dew ; 
Let me sleep through his blinding reign, 

And only wake with you ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

in 
THE PHILOSOPHER 

ENOUGH of thought, philosopher ! 

Too long hast thou been dreaming 
Unlightened, in this chamber drear, 

While summer's sun is beaming ! 
Space-sweeping soul, what sad refrain 
Concludes thy musing once again ? 

1 Oh, for the time when I shall sleep 

Without identity. 
And never care how rain may steep, 

Or snow may cover me ! 
No promised heaven, these wild desires 

Could all, or half fulfil ; 
No threatened hell, with quenchless fires, 

Subdue this quenchless will ! ' 

' So said I, and still say the same ; 

Still, to my death, will say 
Three gods, within this little frame, 

Are warring night and day ; 
Heaven could not hold them all, and yet 

They all are held in me ; 
And must be mine till I forget 

My present entity ! 



8 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Oh, for the time, when in my breast 
Their struggles will be o'er ! 

Oh, for the day, when I shall rest, 
And never suffer more ! ' 



' I saw a spirit, standing, man, 

Where thou dost stand an hour ago, 
And round his feet three rivers ran, 

Of equal depth, and equal flow 
A golden stream and one like blood ; 

And one like sapphire seemed to be ; 
But, where they joined their triple flood 

It tumbled in an inky sea. 
The spirit sent his dazzling gaze 

Down through that ocean's gloomy night ; 
Then, kindling all, with sudden blaze, 

The glad deep sparkled wide and bright 
White as the sun, far, far more fair 
Than its divided sources were ! ' 



' And even for that spirit, seer, 

I 've watched and sought my lifetime 

long; 

Sought him in heaven, hell, earth, and 
air, 

An endless search, and always wrong. 
Had I but seen his glorious eye 

Once light the clouds that 'wilder me, 
I ne'er had raised this coward cry 

To cease to think, and cease to be ; 




POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 9 

I ne'er had called oblivion blest, 

Nor stretching eager hands to death, 
Implored to change for senseless rest 

This sentient soul, this living breath 
Oh, let me die that power and will 

Their cruel strife may close ; 
And conquered good and conquering ill 

Be lost in one repose I ' 

The date of this poem as given by Miss Robinson is 
October 1845. Ed. 



io POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



IV 

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 ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE n 

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 ? 

The date of this poem as given by Miss Robinson is March 
1845. Ed. 



12 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



A DEATH-SCENE 

' O DAY ! he cannot die 
When thou so fair art shining ! 

Sun, in such a glorious sky, 
So tranquilly declining ; 

* He cannot leave thee now, 
While fresh west winds are blowing, 
And all around his youthful brow 
Thy cheerful light is glowing ! 

' Edward, awake, awake 
The golden evening gleams 
Warm and bright on Arden's lake 
Arouse thee from thy dreams I 

* Beside thee, on my knee, 
My dearest friend, I pray 

That thou, to cross the eternal sea, 
Wouldst yet one hour delay : 

' I hear its billows roar 

1 see them foaming high ; 

But no glimpse of a further shore 
Has blest my straining eye. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 13 

' Believe not what they urge 

Of Eden isles beyond ; 

Turn back, from that tempestuous surge, 

To thy own native land. 

' It is not death, but pain 
That struggles in thy breast 
Nay, rally, Edward, rouse again ; 
I cannot let thee rest ! * 



One long look, that sore reproved me 
For the woe I could not bear 
One mute look of suffering moved me 
To repent my useless prayer : 

And, with sudden check, the heaving 
Of distraction passed away ; 
Not a sign of further grieving 
Stirred my soul that awful day. 



Paled, at length, the sweet sun setting ; 
Sunk to peace the twilight breeze : 
Summer dews fell softly, wetting 
Glen, and glade, and silent trees. 

Then his eyes began to weary, 
Weighed beneath a mortal sleep ; 
And their orbs grew strangely dreary, 
Clouded, even as they would weep. 




i 4 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

But they wept not, but they changed not, 
Never moved, and never closed ; 
Troubled still, and still they ranged not 
Wandered not, nor yet reposed ! 

So I knew that he was dying 
Stooped, and raised his languid head ; 
Felt no breath, and heard no sighing, 
So I knew that he was dead. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 15 



VI 

SONG 

THE linnet in the rocky dells, 

The moor-lark in the air, 
The bee among the heather bells 

That hide my lady fair : 

The wild deer browse above her breast ; 

The wild birds raise their brood ; 
And they, her smiles of love caressed, 

Have left her solitude I 

I ween, that when the grave's dark wall 

Did first her form retain, 
They thought their hearts could ne'er recall 

The light of joy again. 

They thought the tide of grief would flow 
Unchecked through future years ; 

But where is all their anguish now, 
And where are all their tears ? 

Well, let them fight for honour's breath, 

Or pleasure's shade pursue 
The dweller in the land of death 

Is changed and careless too. 



16 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And, if their eyes should watch and weep 
Till sorrow's source were dry, 

She would not, in her tranquil sleep, 
Return a single sigh ! 

Blow, west-wind, by the lonely mound, 
And murmur, summer-streams 

There is no need of other sound 
To soothe my lady's dreams. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 17 



VII 

ANTICIPATION 

How beautiful the earth is still, 
To thee how full of happiness ! 
How little fraught with real ill, 
Or unreal phantoms of distress ! 
How spring can bring thee glory, yet, 
And summer win thee to forget 

December's sullen time ! 
Why dost thou hold the treasure fast, 
Of youth's delight, when youth is past, 

And thou art near thy prime? 

When those who were thy own compeers, 

Equals in fortune and in years, 

Have seen their morning melt in tears, 

To clouded, smileless day ; 
Blest, had they died untried and young, 
Before their hearts went wandering wrong, 
Poor slaves, subdued by passions strong, 

A weak and helpless prey ! 

' Because, I hoped while they enjoyed, 
And by fulfilment, hope destroyed ; 
As children hope, with trustful breast, 
I waited bliss and cherished rest. 
A thoughtful spirit taught me soon, 
That we must long till life be done ; 

8 



i8 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

That every phase of earthly joy 
Must always fade, and always cloy : 

' This I foresaw and would not chase 

The fleeting treacheries ; 
But, with firm foot and tranquil face, 
Held backward from that tempting race, 
Gazed o'er the sands the waves efface 

To the enduring seas 
There cast my anchor of desire 
Deep in unknown eternity ; 
Nor ever let my spirit tire, 
With looking for what is to be \ 

1 It is hope's spell that glorifies, 
Like youth, to my maturer eyes, 
All Nature's million mysteries, 

The fearful and the fair 
Hope soothes me in the griefs I know ; 
She lulls my pain for others' woe, 
And makes me strong to undergo 

What I am born to bear. 

4 Glad comforter ! will I not brave, 
Unawed, the darkness of the grave ? 
Nay, smile to hear Death's billows rave- 
Sustained, my guide, by thee ? 
The more unjust seems present fate, 
The more my spirit swells elate, 
Strong, in thy strength, to anticipate 
Rewarding destiny ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 19 



VIII 

THE PRISONER 

A FRAGMENT 

IN the dungeon-crypts idly did I stray, 
Reckless of the lives wasting there away ; 
' Draw the ponderous bars ! open, Warder stern ! ' 
He dared not say me nay the hinges harshly turn. 

1 Our guests are darkly lodged,' I whisper'd, gazing 

through 
The vault, whose grated eye showed heaven more 

grey than blue ; 
(This was when glad Spring laughed in awaking 

pride) ; 
1 Aye, darkly lodged enough ! ' returned my sullen 

guide. 

Then, God forgive my youth ; forgive my careless 

tongue ; 
I scoffed, as the chill chains on the damp flagstones 

rung: 

1 Confined in triple walls, art thou so much to fear, 
That we must bind thee down and clench thy 

fetters here ? ' 



20 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The captive raised her face ; it was as soft and 

mild 
As sculptured marble saint, or slumbering un- 

wean'd child ; 

It was so soft and mild, it was so sweet and fair, 
Pain could not trace a line, nor grief a shadow 

there ! 

The captive raised her hand and pressed it to her 

brow ; 
* I have been struck,' she said, 'and I am suffering 

now ; 
Yet these are little worth, your bolts and irons 

strong ; 
And, were they forged in steel, they could not hold 

me long.' 

Hoarse laughed the jailor grim : < Shall I be won 

to hear ; 
Dost think, fond, dreaming wretch, that / shall 

grant thy prayer ? 
Or, better still, wilt melt my master's heart with 

groans ? 
Ah ! sooner might the sun thaw down these 

granite stones. 

'My master's voice is low, his aspect bland and 

kind, 
But hard as hardest flint the soul that lurks 

behind ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 21 

And I am rough and rude, yet not more rough to 

see 
Than is the hidden ghost that has its home in me.' 

About her lips there played a smile of almost 
scorn. 

* My friend/ she gently said, 'you have not heard 

me mourn ; 
When you my kindred's lives, my lost life, can 

restore, 
Then may I weep and sue, but never, friend, 

before ! 

1 Still, let my tyrants know, I am not doomed to 

wear 

Year after year in gloom, and desolate despair ; 
A messenger of Hope comes every night to me, 
And offers for short life, eternal liberty. 

* He comes with western winds, with evening's 

wandering airs, 
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the 

thickest stars. 

Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire, 
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with 

desire. 

' Desire for nothing known in my maturer years, 
When Joy grew mad with awe, at counting future 
tears. 



22 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

When, if my spirit's sky was full of flashes 

warm, 
I knew not whence they came, from sun or 

thunder-storm. 



* But, first, a hush of peace a soundless calm 
descends ; 

The struggle of distress, and fierce impatience 
ends ; 

Mute music soothes my breast unuttered har- 
mony, 

That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to 
me. 

< Then dawns the Invisible ; the Unseen its truth 

reveals ; 
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence 

feels : 
Its wings are almost free its home, its harbour 

found, 
Measuring the gulf, it stoops and dares the final 

bound. 

< Oh ! dreadful is the check intense the agony 
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins 

to see ; 
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think 

again ; 
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the 

chain. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 23 

' Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture 

less ; 
The more that anguish racks, the earlier it will 

bless ; 
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly 

shine, 
If it but herald death, the vision is divine ! ' 

She ceased to speak, and we, unanswering, turned 

to go 

We had no further power to work the captive woe ; 
Her cheek, her gleaming eye, declared that man 

had given 
A sentence, unapproved, and overruled by Heaven. 



24 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

IX 

HOPE 

HOPE was but a timid friend ; 

She sat without the grated den, 
Watching how my fate would tend, 

Even as selfish-hearted men. 

She was cruel in her fear ; 

Through the bars one dreary day, 
I looked out to see her there, 

And she turned her face away ! 

Like a false guard, false watch keeping, 
Still, in strife, she whispered peace ; 

She would sing while I was weeping ; 
If I listened, she would cease. 

False she was, and unrelenting ; 

When my last joys strewed the ground, 
Even Sorrow saw, repenting, 

Those sad relics scattered round ; 

Hope, whose whisper would have given 

Balm to all my frenzied pain, 
Stretched her wings, and soared to heaven. 

Went, and ne'er returned again ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 25 



A DAY DREAM 

ON a sunny brae alone I lay 

One summer afternoon ; 
It was the marriage-time of May, 

With her young lover, June. 

From her mother's heart seemed loath to part 

That queen of bridal charms, 
But her father smiled on the fairest child 

He ever held in his arms. 

The trees did wave their plumy crests, 

The glad birds carolled clear ; 
And I, of all the wedding guests, 

Was only sullen there ! 

There was not one but wished to shun 

My aspect void of cheer ; 
The very grey rocks, looking on, 

Asked, l What do you here ? ' 

And I could utter no reply ; 

In sooth, I did not know 
Why I had brought a clouded eye 

To greet the general glow. 



26 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

So, resting on a heathy bank, 
I took my heart to me ; 

And we together sadly sank 
Into a reverie. 



We thought, t When winter comes again. 
Where will these bright things be ? 

All vanished, like a vision vain, 
An unreal mockery ! 

* The birds that now so blithely sing, 

Through deserts, frozen dry, 
Poor spectres of the perished spring, 

In famished troops will fly. 

' And why should we be glad at all ? 

The leaf is hardly green, 
Before a token of its fall 
\ Is on the surface seen ! ' 

Now, whether it were really so 

I never could be sure ; 
But as in fit of peevish woe, 

I stretched me on the moor, 

A thousand thousand gleaming fires 

Seemed kindling in the air ; 
A thousand thousand silvery lyres 

Resounded far and near : 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 27 

Methought, the very breath I breathed 

Was full of sparks divine, 
And all my heather-couch was wreathed 

By that celestial shine I 



And, while the wide earth echoing rung 

To that strange minstrelsy, 
The little glittering spirits sung, 

Or seemed to sing, to me : 

* O mortal ! mortal ! let them die ;' 

Let time and tears destroy, 
That we may overflow the sky 
With universal joy ! 

* Let grief distract the sufferer's breast, 

And night obscure his way ; 
They hasten him to endless rest, 
And everlasting day. 

* To thee the world is like a tomb, 

A desert's naked shore ; 
To us, in unimagined bloom, 
It brightens more and more ! 

' And, could we lift the veil, and give \ 
One brief glimpse to thine eye, I 

Thou wouldst rejoice for those that live, j 
Because they live to die.' 



28 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The music ceased ; the noonday dream, 

Like dream of night, withdrew ; 
. But Fancy, still, will sometimes deem 
Her fond creation true. 

The date of this poem as given by Miss Robinson is 
March 5th, 1844. Ed. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 29 

XI 

TO IMAGINATION 

WHEN weary with the long day's care, 
And earthly change from pain to pain, 

And lost, and ready to despair, 
Thy kind voice calls me back again, 

Oh, my true friend ! I am not lone, 

While thou canst speak with such a tone ! 

So hopeless is the world without ; 

The world within I doubly prize ; 
Thy world, where guile, and hate, and doubt, 

And cold suspicion never rise ; 
Where thou, and I, and Liberty, 
Have undisputed sovereignty. 

What matters it, that all around 
Danger, and guilt, and darkness lie, 

If but within our bosom's bound 
We hold a bright, untroubled sky, 

Warm with ten thousand mingled rays 

Of suns that know no winter days ? 

Reason, indeed, may oft complain 

For Nature's sad reality, 
And tell the suffering heart how vain 

Its cherished dreams must always be ; 
And Truth may rudely trample down 
The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown : 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

But thou art ever there, to bring 
The hovering vision back, and breathe 

New glories o'er the blighted spring, 
And call a lovelier Life from Death, 

And whisper, with a voice divine, 

Of real worlds, as bright as thine. 

I trust not to thy phantom bliss, 
Yet, still, in evening's quiet hour, 

With never-failing thankfulness, 
I welcome thee, Benignant Power, 

Sure solacer of human cares, 

And sweeter hope, when hope despairs ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 31 



XII 



HOW CLEAR SHE SHINES 

How clear she shines ! How quietly 

I lie beneath her guardian light ; 
While heaven and earth are whispering me, 

' To-morrow, wake, but dream to-night.' 
Yes, Fancy, come, my Fairy love ! 

These throbbing temples softly kiss ; 
And bend my lonely couch above, 

And bring me rest, and bring me bliss. 

The world is going ; dark world, adieu ! 

Grim world, conceal thee till the day ; 
The heart thou canst not all subdue 

Must still resist, if thou delay ! 

Thy love I will not, will not share ; 

Thy hatred only wakes a smile ; 
Thy griefs may wound thy wrongs may tear, 

But, oh, thy lies shall ne'er beguile ! 
While gazing on the stars that glow 

Above me, in that stormless sea, 
I long to hope that all the woe 

Creation knows, is held in thee ! 



32 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And this shall be my dream to-night ; 

I '11 think the heaven of glorious spheres 
Is rolling on its course of light 

In endless bliss, through endless years ; 
I '11 think, there 's not one world above, 

Far as these straining eyes can see, 
Where Wisdom ever laughed at Love, 

Or Virtue crouched to Infamy ; 

Where, writhing 'neath the strokes of Fate, 

The mangled wretch was forced to smile ; 
To match his patience 'gainst her hate, 

His heart rebellious all the while. 
Where Pleasure still will lead to wrong, 

And helpless Reason warn in vain ; 
And Truth is weak, and Treachery strong ; 

And Joy the surest path to Pain ; 
And Peace, the lethargy of Grief ; 

And Hope, a phantom of the soul ; 
And Life, a labour, void and brief ; 

And Death, the despot of the whole ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 33 



XIII 

SYMPATHY 

THERE should be no despair for you 

While nightly stars are burning, 
While evening pours its silent dew, 

And sunshine gilds the morning. 
There should be no despair though tears 

May flow down like a river : 
Are not the best beloved of years 

Around your heart for ever? 

They weep, you weep, it must be so ; 

Winds sigh as you are sighing, 
And winter sheds its grief in snow 

Where Autumn's leaves are lying : 
Yet, these revive, and from their fate 

Your fate cannot be parted : 
Then, journey on, if not elate, 

Still never broken-hearted ! 



34 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XIV 

PLEAD FOR ME 

OH, thy bright eyes must answer now, 
When Reason, with a scornful brow, 
Is mocking at my overthrow ! 
Oh, thy sweet tongue must plead for me 
And tell why I have chosen thee ! 

Stern Reason is to judgement come, 
Arrayed in all her forms of gloom : 
Wilt thou, my advocate, be dumb ? 
No, radiant angel, speak and say 
Why I did cast the world away. 

Why I have persevered to shun 
The common paths that others run ; 
And on a strange road journeyed on, 
Heedless, alike of wealth and power 
Of glory's wreath and pleasure's flower. 

These, once, indeed, seemed Beings Divine ; 
And they, perchance, heard vows of mine, 
And saw my offerings on their shrine ; 
But careless gifts are seldom prized, 
And mine were worthily despised. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 35 

So, with a ready heart, I swore 
To seek their altar-stone no more ; 
And gave my spirit to adore 
Thee, ever-present, phantom thing 
My slave, my comrade, and my king. 

A slave, because I rule thee still ; 
Incline thee to my changeful will, 
And make thy influence good or ill : 
A comrade, for by day and night 
Thou art my intimate delight, 

My darling pain that wounds and sears, 
And wrings a blessing out from tears 
By deadening me to earthly cares ; 
And yet, a king, though Prudence well 
Have taught thy subject to rebel. 

And am I wrong to worship where 
Faith cannot doubt, nor hope despair, 
Since my own soul can grant my prayer? 
Speak, God of visions, plead for me, 
And tell why I have chosen thee ! 



36 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

xv 
SELF-INTERROGATION 

* THE evening passes fast away, 

Tis almost time to rest ; 
What thoughts has left the vanished day, 
What feelings in thy breast?' 

' The vanished day ? It leaves a sense 

Of labour hardly done ; 
Of little gained with vast expense 

A sense of grief alone ! 

' Time stands before the door of Death, 

Upbraiding bitterly ; 
And Conscience, with exhaustless breath, 

Pours black reproach on^me : 

* And though I 've said that Conscience lies, 

And Time should Fate condemn ; 
Still, sad Repentance clouds my eyes, 
And makes me yield to them ! ' 

* Then art thou glad to seek repose ? 

Art glad to leave the sea, 
And anchor all thy weary woes 
In calm Eternity? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 37 

4 Nothing regrets to see thee go 

Not one voice sobs * farewell ' ; 
And where thy heart has suffered so, 

Canst thou desire to dwell ? * 



' Alas ! the countless links are strong 

That bind us to our clay ; 
The loving spirit lingers long, 

And would not pass away ! 

' And rest is sweet, when laurelled fame 
Will crown the soldier's crest ; 

But a brave heart, with a tarnished name, 
Would rather fight than rest. ' 

* Well, thou hast fought for many a year, 
Hast fought thy whole life through, 

Hast humbled Falsehood, trampled Fear ; 
What is there left to do?' 



* Tis true, this arm has hotly striven, 
Has dared what few would dare ; 

Much have I done, and freely given, 
But little learnt to bear ! ' 

' Look on the grave where thou must sleep, 

Thy last, and strongest foe ; 
It is endurance not to weep 

If that repose seem woe. 



38 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

4 The long war closing in defeat 
Defeat serenely borne, 

Thy midnight rest may still be sweet, 
And break in glorious morn ! ' 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 39 



XVI 

DEATH 

DEATH ! that struck when I was most confiding 

In my certain faith of joy to be 
Strike again, Time's withered branch dividing 

From the fresh root of Eternity ! 

Leaves, upon Time's branch, were growing 
brightly, 

Full of sap, and full of silver dew ; 
Birds beneath its shelter gathered nightly ; 

Daily round its flowers the wild bees flew. 

Sorrow passed, and plucked the golden blossom ; 

Guilt stripped off the foliage in its pride ; 
But, within its parent's kindly bosom, 

Flowed for ever Life's restoring tide. 

Little mourned I for the parted gladness, 
For the vacant nest and silent song 

Hope was there, and laughed me out of sadness ; 
Whispering, ' Winter will not linger long ! ' 

And, behold ! with tenfold increase blessing, 
Spring adorned the beauty-burdened spray ; 

Wind and rain and fervent heat, caressing, 
Lavished glory on that second May ! 



40 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

High it rose no winged grief could sweep it ; 

Sin was scared to distance with its shine ; 
Love, and its own life, had power to keep it 

From all wrong from every blight but thine ! 

Cruel Death ! The young leaves droop and 
languish ; 

Evening's gentle air may still restore 
No ! the morning sunshine mocks my anguish 

Time, for me, must never blossom more ! 

Strike it down, that other boughs may flourish 
Where that perished sapling used to be ; 

Thus, at least, its mouldering corpse will nourish 
That from which it sprung Eternity. 

The date of this poem as given by Miss Robinson is 
1843- Ed. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 41 

XVII 

STANZAS TO 

WELL, some may hate, and some may scorn, 

And some may quite forget thy name ; 

But my sad heart must ever mourn 

Thy ruined hopes, thy blighted fame ! 

'Twas thus I thought, an hour ago, 

Even weeping o'er that wretch's woe ; 

One word turned back my gushing tears, 

And lit my altered eye with sneers. 

Then, ' Bless the friendly dust,' I said, 

1 That hides thy unlamented head ! 

Vain as thou wert, and weak as vain, 

The slave of Falsehood, Pride, and Pain 

My heart has nought akin to thine ; 

Thy soul is powerless over mine.' 

But these were thoughts that vanished too ; 

Unwise, unholy, and untrue : 

Do I despise the timid deer, 

Because his limbs are fleet with fear? 

Or, would I mock the wolfs 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 ; 

Say, ' Earth, lie lightly on that breast, 

And, kind Heaven, grant that spirit rest ! ' 



42 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

XVIII 

HONOUR'S MARTYR 

THE moon is full this winter night ; 

The stars are clear though few ; 
And every window glistens bright 

With leaves of frozen dew. 

The sweet moon through your lattice gleams, 
And lights your room like day ; 

And there you pass, in happy dreams, 
The peaceful hours away ! 

While I, with effort hardly quelling 

The anguish in my breast, 
Wander about the silent dwelling, 

And cannot think of rest. 

The old clock in the gloomy hall 

Ticks on, from hour to hour ; 
And every time its measured call 

Seems lingering slow and slower : 

And, oh, how slow that keen-eyed star 

Has tracked the chilly grey ! 
What, watching yet ! how very far 

The morning lies away ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 43 

Without your chamber door I stand ; 

Love, are you slumbering still? 
My cold heart, underneath my hand, 

Has almost ceased to thrill. 



Bleak, bleak the east wind sobs and sighs, 

And drowns the turret bell, 
Whose sad note, undistinguished, dies 

Unheard, like my farewell 1 

To-morrow, Scorn will blight my name, 

And Hate will trample me, 
Will load me with a coward's shame 

A traitor's perjury. 

False friends will launch their covert sneers ; 

True friends will wish me dead ; 
And I shall cause the bitterest tears 

That you have ever shed. 

The dark deeds of my outlawed race 

Will then like virtues shine ; 
And men will pardon their disgrace, 

Beside the guilt of mine. 

For, who forgives the accursed crime 

Of dastard treachery ? 
Rebellion, in its chosen time, 

May Freedom's champion be ; 



44 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Revenge may stain a righteous sword, 

It may be just to slay ; 
But, traitor, traitor, from that word 

All true breasts shrink away ! 

Oh, I would give my heart to death, 
To keep my honour fair ; 

Yet, I '11 not give my inward faith 
My honour's name to spare ! 

Not even to keep your priceless love, 
Dare I, Beloved, deceive ; 

This treason should the future prove, 
Then, only then, believe I 

I know the path I ought to go ; 

I follow fearlessly, 
Inquiring not what deeper woe 

Stern duty stores for me. 

So foes pursue, and cold allies 

Mistrust me, every one : 
Let me be false in others' eyes, 

If faithful in my own. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 45 



XIX 

STANZAS 

I 'LL not weep that thou art going to leave me, 

There 's nothing lovely here ; 
And doubly will the dark world grieve me, 

While thy heart suffers there. 

I '11 not weep, because the summer's glory 

Must always end in gloom ; 
And, follow out the happiest story 

It closes with a tomb ! 

And I am weary of the anguish 

Increasing winters bear ; 
Weary to watch the spirit languish 

Through years of dead despair. 

So, if a tear, when thou art dying, 

Should haply fall from me, 
It is but that my soul is sighing, 

To go and rest with thee. 



46 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



MY COMFORTER 

WELL hast thou spoken, and yet not taught 

A feeling strange or new ; 
Thou hast but roused a latent thought, 
A cloud-closed beam of sunshine brought 

To gleam in open view. 

Deep down, concealed within my soul, 

That light lies hid from men ; 
Yet glows unquenched though shadows roll, 
Its gentle ray cannot control 

About the sullen den. 

Was I not vexed, in these gloomy ways 

To walk alone so long? 
Around me, wretches uttering praise, 
Or howling o'er their hopeless days, 

And each with Frenzy's tongue ; 

A brotherhood of misery, 

Their smiles as sad as sighs ; 
Whose madness daily maddened me, 
Distorting into agony 

The bliss before my eyes ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 47 

So stood I, in Heaven's glorious sun, 

And in the glare of Hell ; 
My spirit drank a mingled tone, 
Of seraph's song, and demon's moan ; 
What my soul bore, my soul alone 

Within itself may tell ! 

Like a soft air above a sea, 

Tossed by the tempest's stir ; 
A thaw-wind, melting quietly 
The snow-drift on some wintry lea ; 
No : what sweet thing resembles thee, 

My thoughtful Comforter? 

And yet a little longer speak, 

Calm this resentful mood ; 
And while the savage heart grows meek, 
For other token do not seek, 
But let the tear upon my cheek 

Evince my gratitude ! 



48 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXI 

THE OLD STOIC 

RICHES I hold in light esteem, 
And Love I laugh to scorn ; 

And lust of fame was but a dream, 
That vanished with the morn : 

And if I pray, the only prayer 
That moves my lips for me 

Is, * Leave the heart that now I bear, 
And give me liberty ! ' 

Yes, as my swift days near their goal, 

'Tis all that I implore ; 
In life and death a chainless soul, 

With courage to endure. 



POSTHUMOUS POEMS 

Reprinted from ' Selections from the Literary Remains 

of Ellis and Acton Bell,' first published in the 1850 

Edition of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey. 



SELECTIONS FROM POEMS BY ELLIS BELL 1 

IT would not have been difficult to compile a volume out 
of the papers left by my sisters, had I, in making the 
selection, dismissed from my consideration the scruples 
and the wishes of those whose thoughts these papers held. 
But this was impossible : an influence, stronger than could 
be exercised by any motive of expediency, necessarily 
regulated the selection. I have, then, culled from the 
mass only a little poem here and there. The whole makes 
but a tiny nosegay, and the colour and the perfume of the 
flowers are not such as fit them for festal uses. 

It has been already said that my sisters wrote much in 
childhood and girlhood. Usually it seems a sort of in- 
justice to expose in print the crude thoughts of the unripe 
mind, the rude efforts of the unpractised hand : yet I 
venture to give three little poems of my sister Emily's, 
written in her sixteenth year, because they illustrate a 
point in her character. 

At that period she was sent to school. Her previous 
life, with the exception of a single half-year, had been 
passed in the absolute retirement of a village parsonage, 
amongst the hills bordering Yorkshire and Lancashire. 
The scenery of these hills is not grand it is not romantic ; 
it is scarcely striking. Long low moors, with heath, shut 
in little valleys, where a stream waters, here and there, 
a fringe of stunted copse. Mills and scattered cottages 
chase romance from these valleys; it is only higher up, 

1 First published in the 1850 edition of Wuthering Heights 
and Agnes Grey 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 49 

deep in amongst the ridges of the moors, that Imagination 
can find rest for the sole of her foot; and even if she 
finds it there, she must be a solitude-loving raven, no gentle 
dove. If she demand beauty to inspire her, she must 
bring it inborn : these moors are too stern to yield to any 
product so delicate. The eye of the gazer must itself brim 
with a 'purple light,' intense enough to perpetuate the 
brief flower-flush of August on the heather, or the sunset- 
smile of June; out of his heart must well the freshness, 
that in latter spring and early summer brightens the bracken, 
nurtures the moss, and cherishes the starry flowers that 
spangle for a few weeks the pasture of the moor-sheep. 
Unless that light and freshness are innate and self-sus- 
tained, the drear prospect of a Yorkshire moor will be 
found as barren of poetic as of agricultural interest : where 
the love of wild nature is strong, the locality will perhaps 
be clung to with the more passionate constancy, because 
from the hill-lover's self comes half its charm. 

My sister loved the moors. Flowers brighter than the 
rose bloomed in the blackest of the heath for her ; out of 
a sullen hollow in a livid hill-side her mind could make an 
Eden. She found in the bleak solitude many and dear 
delights; and not the least and best loved was liberty. 
Liberty was the breath of Emily's nostrils; without it, 
she perished. The change from her own home to a school, 
and from her own very noiseless, very secluded, but un- 
restricted and inartificial mode of life, to one of disciplined 
routine (though under the kindliest auspices) was what 
she failed in enduring. Her nature proved here too strong 
for her fortitude. Every morning when she woke, the 
vision of home and the moors rushed on her, and darkened 
and saddened the day that lay before her. Nobody knew 
what ailed her but me I knew only too well. In this 



50 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

struggle her health was quickly broken : her white face, 
attenuated form, and failing strength, threatened rapid 
decline. I felt in my heart she would die, if she did not 
go home, and with this conviction obtained her recall. 
She had only been three months at school : and it was 
some years before the experiment of sending her from 
home was again ventured on. After the age of twenty, 
having meantime studied alone with diligence and perse- 
verance, she went with me to an establishment on the 
continent ; the same suffering and conflict ensued, height- 
ened by the strong recoil of her upright, heretic and 
English spirit from the gentle Jesuitry of the foreign and 
Roman system. Once more she seemed sinking, but this 
time she rallied through the mere force of resolution : 
with inward remorse and shame she looked back on her 
former failure, and resolved to conquer in this second 
ordeal. She did conquer : but it cost her dear. She was 
never happy till she carried her hard-won knowledge back 
to the remote English village, the old parsonage house, 
and desolate Yorkshire hills. A very few years more, and 
she looked her last on those hills, and breathed her last in 
that house, and under the aisle of that obscure village 
church found her last resting-place. Merciful was the 
decree that spared her when she was a stranger in a strange 
land, and guarded her dying bed with kindred love and 
congenial constancy. 

The following pieces were composed at twilight, in the 
schoolroom, when the leisure of the evening play-hour 
brought back in full tide the thought of home. 

CURRER BELL. 



POSTHUMOUS POEMS 

EDITED BY CHARLOTTE BRONTE 



A LITTLE while, a little while, 

The weary task is put away, 
And I can sing and I can smile, 

Alike, while I have holiday. 

Where wilt thou go, my harassed heart 
What thought, what scene invites thee now? 

What spot, or near or far apart, 
Has rest for thee, my weary brow ? 

There is a spot, 'mid barren hills, 

Where winter howls, and driving rain ; 

But, if the dreary tempest chills, 
There is a light that warms again. 

The house is old, the trees are bare, 
Moonless above bends twilight's dome ; 

But what on earth is half so dear 
So longed for as the hearth of home ? 

51 



52 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The mute bird sitting on the stone, 

The dank moss dripping from the wall, 

The thorn-trees gaunt, the walks o'ergrown, 
I love them how I love them all ! 



Still, as I mused, the naked room, 

The alien firelight died away ; 
And from the midst of cheerless gloom, 

I passed to bright, unclouded day. 

A little and a lone green lane 

That opened on a common wide ; 

A distant, dreamy, dim blue chain 
Of mountains circling every side. 

A heaven so clear, an earth so calm, 
So sweet, so soft, so hushed an air ; 

And, deepening still the dream-like charm, 
Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere. 

That was the scene, I knew it well ; 

I knew the turfy pathway's sweep, 
That, winding o'er each billowy swell, 

Marked out the tracks of wandering sheep. 

Could I have lingered but an hour, 

It well had paid a week of toil ; 
But Truth has banished Fancy's power ; 

Restraint and heavy task recoil. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 53 

Even as I stood with raptured eye, 
Absorbed in bliss so deep and dear, 

My hour of rest had fleeted by, 
And back came labour, bondage, care. 



54 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



II 
THE BLUEBELL 

THE Bluebell is the sweetest flower 

That waves in summer air : 
Its blossoms have the mightiest power 

To soothe my spirit's care. 

There is a spell in purple heath 

Too wildly, sadly dear ; 
The violet has a fragrant breath, 

But fragrance will not cheer. 

The trees are bare, the sun is cold, 

And seldom, seldom seen ; 
The heavens have lost their zone of gold, 

And earth her robe of green. 

And ice upon the glancing stream 

Has cast its sombre shade ; 
And distant hills and valleys seem 

In frozen mist arrayed. 

The Bluebell cannot charm me now, 
The heath has lost its bloom ; 

The violets in the glen below, 
They yield no sweet perfume. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 55 

But, though I mourn the sweet Bluebell, 

'Tis better far away ; 
I know how fast my tears would swell 

To see it smile to-day. 

For, oh ! when chill the sunbeams fall 

Adown that dreary sky, 
And gild yon dank and darkened wall 

With transient brilliancy, 

How do I weep, how do I pine 

For the time of flowers to come, 
And turn me from that fading shine, 

To mourn the fields of home 1 



56 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



in 



LOUD without the wind was roaring 

Through th' autumnal sky ; 
Drenching wet, the cold rain pouring, 
Spoke of winter nigh. 

All too like that dreary eve, 
Did my exiled spirit grieve. 

Grieved at first, but grieved not long, 
Sweet how softly sweet ! it came ; 

Wild words of an ancient song, 
Undefined, without a name. 

' It was spring, and the skylark was singing * ; 

Those words they awakened a spell ; 
They unlocked a deep fountain, whose springing, 

Nor absence, nor distance can quell. 

In the gloom of a cloudy November 

They uttered the music of May ; 
They kindled the perishing ember 

Into fervour that could not decay. 

Awaken, o'er all my dear moorland, 
West-wind, in thy glory and pride ! 

Oh ! call me from valley and lowland, 
To walk by the hill-torrent's side ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 57 

It is swelled with the first snowy weather ; 

The rocks they are icy and hoar, 
And sullenly waves the long heather, 

And the fern leaves are sunny no more. 

There are no yellow stars on the mountain ; 

The bluebells have long died away 
From the brink of the moss-bedded fountain 

From the side of the wintry brae. 

But lovelier than corn-fields all waving 
In emerald, and vermeil, and gold, 

Are the heights where the north-wind is raving, 
And the crags where I wandered of old. 

It was morning : the bright sun was beaming ; 

How sweetly it brought back to me 
The time when nor labour nor dreaming 

Broke the sleep of the happy and free ! 

But blithely we rose as the dawn-heaven 

Was melting to amber and blue, 
And swift were the wings to our feet given, 

As we traversed the meadows of dew. 

For the moors ! For the moors, where the short 

grass 

Like velvet beneath us should lie ! 
For the moors ! For the moors, where each high 

pass 
Rose sunny against the clear sky ! 



58 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

For the moors, where the linnet was trilling 
Its song on the old granite stone ; 

Where the lark, the wild skylark, was filling 
Every breast with delight like its own ! 

What language can utter the feeling 
Which rose, when in exile afar, 

On the brow of a lonely hill kneeling, 
I saw the brown heath growing there ? 

It was scattered and stunted, and told me 
That soon even that would be gone : 

It whispered, * The grim walls enfold me, 
I have bloomed in my last summer's sun.' 

But not the loved music, whose waking 
Makes the soul of the Swiss die away, 

Has a spell more adored and heartbreaking 
Than, for me, in that blighted heath lay. 

The spirit which bent 'neath its power, 
How it longed how it burned to be free ! 

If I could have wept in that hour, 
Those tears had been heaven to me. 

Well well ; the sad minutes are moving, 
Though loaded with trouble and pain ; 

And some time the loved and the loving 
Shall meet on the mountains again I 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 59 



THE following little piece has no title ; but in it the genius 
of a solitary region seems to address his wandering and way- 
ward votary, and to recall within his influence the proud mind 
which rebelled at times even against what it most loved 



IV 



SHALL earth no more inspire thee, 
Thou lonely dreamer now? 

Since passion may not fire thee, 
Shall nature cease to bow ? 

Thy mind is ever moving, 
In regions dark to thee ; 

Recall its useless roving, 

Come back, and dwell with me. 

I know my mountain breezes 
Enchant and soothe thee still, 

I know my sunshine pleases, 
Despite thy wayward will. 

When day with evening blending, 
Sinks from the summer sky, 

I Ve seen thy spirit bending 
In fond idolatry. 



60 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

I 've watched thee every hour ; 

I know my mighty sway : 
I know my magic power 

To drive thy griefs away. 

Few hearts to mortals given, 
On earth so wildly pine ; 

Yet few would ask a heaven 
More like this earth than thine. 

Then let my winds caress thee ; 

Thy comrade let me be : 
Since nought beside can bless thee, 

Return and dwell with me. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 61 

HERE again is the same mind in converse with a like 
abstraction. 'The Night- Wind,' breathing through an open 
window, has visited an ear which discerned language in its 
whispers. 

V 

THE NIGHT-WIND 

IN summer's mellow midnight, 
A cloudless moon shone through 

Our open parlour window, 
And rose-trees 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 ! 

4 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. 



62 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

1 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 heed me ; 

Its kiss grew warmer still. 
1 come ! ' it sighed so sweetly ; 

' 1 '11 win thee 'gainst thy will. 

6 Were we not friends from childhood ? 

Have I not loved thee long? 
As long as thou, the solemn night, 

Whose silence wakes my song. 

' And when thy heart is resting 
Beneath the church-aisle stone, 

/ shall have time for mourning, 
And thou for being alone.' 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 63 

IN these stanzas a louder gale has roused the sleeper on her 
pillow : the wakened soul struggles to blend with the storm by 
which it is stayed. 



VI 



' AYE there it is ! it wakes to-night 

Deep feelings I thought dead ; 
Strong in the blast quick gathering light 

The heart's flame kindles red. 

1 Now I can tell by thine altered cheek, 

And by thine eyes' full gaze, 
And by the words thou scarce dost speak, 

How wildly fancy plays. 

' Yes I could swear that glorious wind 

Has swept the world aside, 
Has dashed its memory from thy mind 

Like foam-bells from the tide : 

1 And thou art now a spirit pouring 

Thy presence into all : 
The thunder of the tempest's roaring, 

The whisper of its fall : 

' An universal influence, 
From thine own influence free ; 

A principle of life intense 
Lost to mortality. 



64 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

1 Thus truly, when that breast is cold, 

Thy prisoned soul shall rise ; 
The dungeon mingle with the mould 

The captive with the skies. 
Nature's deep being, thine shall hold, 
Her spirit all thy spirit fold, 

Her breath absorb thy sighs. 
Mortal ! though soon life's tale is told : 

Who once lives, never dies ! ' 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 65 



VII 

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP 

LOVE is like the wild rose-brier ; 

Friendship like the holly-tree. 
The holly is dark when the rose-brier blooms, 

But which will bloom most constantly ? 

The wild rose-brier is sweet in spring, 
Its summer blossoms scent the air ; 

Yet wait till winter comes again, 

And who will call the wild-brier fair ! 

Then, scorn the silly rose-wreath now, 
And deck thee with the holly's sheen, 

That, when December blights thy brow, 
He still may leave thy garland green. 



66 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

VIII 

THE ELDER'S REBUKE 

' LISTEN ! When your hair, like mine, 

Takes a tint of silver grey ; 
When your eyes, with dimmer shine, 

Watch life's bubbles float away : 

When you, young man, have borne like 

me 

The weary weight of sixty-three, 
Then shall penance sore be paid 

For those hours so wildly squandered ; 
And the words that now fall dead 

On your ear, be deeply pondered 
Pondered and approved at last : 
But their virtue will be past ! 

* Glorious is the prize of Duty, 
Though she be "a serious power" ; 

Treacherous all the lures of Beauty, 
Thorny bud and poisonous flower ! 

< Mirth is but a mad beguiling 

Of the golden-gifted time ; 
Love a demon-meteor, wiling 

Heedless feet to gulfs of crime. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 67 

' Those who follow earthly pleasure, 
Heavenly knowledge will not lead ; 

Wisdom hides from them her treasure, 
Virtue bids them evil-speed ! 

' Vainly may their hearts repenting*, 

Seek for aid in future years ; 
Wisdom, scorned, knows no relenting ; 

Virtue is not won by fears.' 

Thus spake the ice-blooded elder grey ; 
The young man scoffed as he turned away, 
Turned to the call of a sweet lute's measure, 
Walked by the lightsome touch of pleasure : 
Had he ne'er met a gentler teacher, 
Woe had been wrought by that pitiless 
preacher. 



68 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

IX 

THE WANDERER FROM THE FOLD 

How few, of all the hearts that loved, 

Are grieving for thee now ; 
And why should mine to-night be moved 

With such a sense of woe ? 

Too often thus, when left alone, 
Where none my thoughts can see, 

Comes back a word, a passing tone 
From thy strange history. 

Sometimes I seem to see thee rise, 

A glorious child again ; 
All virtues beaming from thine eyes 

That ever honoured men : 

Courage and truth, a generous breast 

Where sinless sunshine lay : 
A being whose very presence blest 

Like gladsome summer-day. 

O, fairly spread thy early sail, 
And fresh, and pure, and free, 

Was the first impulse of the gale 
Which urged life's wave for thee ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 69 

Why did the pilot, too confiding, 

Dream o'er that ocean's foam, 
And trust in Pleasure's careless guiding 

To bring his vessel home? 

For well he knew what dangers frowned, 

What mists would gather, dim ; 
What rocks and shelves, and sands lay round 

Between his port and him. 

The very brightness of the sun, 

The splendour of the main, 
The wind which bore him wildly on 

Should not have warned in vain. 

An anxious gazer from the shore 

I marked the whitening wave, 
And wept above thy fate the more 

Because I could not save. 

It recks not now, when all is over : 

But yet my heart will be 
A mourner still, though friend and lover 

Have both forgotten thee ! 



70 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



WARNING AND REPLY 

IN the earth the earth thou shalt be laid, 
A grey stone standing over thee ; 

Black mould beneath thee spread, 
And black mould to cover thee. 

' Well there is rest there, 

So fast come thy prophecy ; 
The time when my sunny hair 

Shall with grass roots entwined be.* 

But cold cold is that resting-place, 

Shut out from joy and liberty, 
And all who loved thy living face 

Will shrink from it shudderingly. 

' Not so. Here the world is chill, 
And sworn friends fall from me : 

But there they will own me still, 
And prize my memory.' 

Farewell, then, all that love, 

All that deep sympathy : 
Sleep on ; Heaven laughs above, 

Earth never misses thee. 

Turf-sod and tombstone drear 

Part human company ; 
One heart breaks only here, 

But that heart was worthy thee ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 71 



XI 

LAST WORDS 

I KNEW not 'twas so dire a crime 

To say the word, ' Adieu ' ; 
But this shall be the only time 

My lips or heart shall sue. 

The wild hillside, the winter morn, 
The gnarled and ancient tree, 

If in your breast they waken scorn, 
Shall wake the same in me. 

I can forget black eyes and brows, 

And lips of falsest charm, 
If you forget the sacred vows 

Those faithless lips could form. 

If hard commands can tame your love, 

Or strongest walls can hold, 
I would not wish to grieve above 

A thing so false and cold. 

And there are bosoms bound to mine 
With links both tried and strong ; 

And there are eyes whose lightning shine 
Has warmed and blest me long : 

Those eyes shall make my only day, 

Shall set my spirit free, 
And chase the foolish thoughts away 

That mourn your memory. 



72 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XII 



THE LADY TO HER GUITAR 

FOR him who struck thy foreign string, 
I ween this heart has ceased to care ; 

Then why dost thou such feelings bring 
To my sad spirit old Guitar ? 

It is as if the warm sunlight 

In some deep glen should lingering stay, 
When clouds of storm, or shades of night, 

Have wrapt the parent orb away. 

It is as if the glassy brook 
Should image still its willows fair, 

Though years ago the woodman's stroke 
Laid low in dust their Dryad-hair. 

Even so, Guitar, thy magic tone 

Hath moved the tear and waked the sigh ; 
Hath bid the ancient torrent moan 

Although its very source is dry. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 73 

XIII 

THE TWO CHILDREN 

HEAVY hangs the rain-drop 

From the burdened spray ; 
Heavy broods the damp mist 
On uplands far way. 

Heavy looms the dull sky, 

Heavy rolls the sea ; 
And heavy throbs the young heart 

Beneath that lonely tree. 

Never has a blue streak 

Cleft the clouds since morn ; 
Never has his grim fate 

Smiled since he was born. 

Frowning on the infant, 

Shadowing childhood's joy, 
Guardian-angel knows not 

That melancholy boy. 

Day is passing swiftly 

Its sad and sombre prime ; 
Boyhood sad is merging 

In sadder manhood's time : 



74 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

All the flowers are praying 
For sun, before they close, 

And he prays too unconscious 
That sunless human rose. 

Blossom that the west-wind 
Has never wooed to blow, 

Scentless are thy petals, 
Thy dew is cold as snow ! 

Soul where kindred kindness, 
No early promise woke, 

Barren is thy beauty, 
As weed upon a rock. 

Wither soul and blossom ! 

You both were vainly given : 
Earth reserves no blessing 

For the unblest of heaven I 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 75 



XIV 



CHILD of delight, with sun-bright hair, 

And sea-blue, sea-deep eyes ! 
Spirit of bliss ! what brings thee here, 

Beneath these sullen skies? 

Thou shouldst live in eternal spring, 

Where endless day is never dim ; 
Why, Seraph, has thine erring wing 

Wafted thee down to weep with him ? 

4 Ah ! not from heaven am I descended, 

Nor do I come to mingle tears ; 
But sweet is day, though with shadows 

blended ; 

And, though clouded, sweet are youthful 
years. 

1 1 the image of light and gladness 
Saw and pitied that mournful boy, 

And I vowed if need were to share his 

sadness, 
And give to him my sunny joy. 

* Heavy and dark the night is closing ; 

Heavy and dark may its bidding be : 
Better for all from grief reposing, 

And better for all who watch like me 



76 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

' Watch in love by a fevered pillow, 
Cooling the fever with pity's balm ; 

Safe as the petrel on tossing billow, 
Safe in mine own soul's golden calm ! 

( Guardian-angel he lacks no longer ; 

Evil fortune he need not fear : 
Fate is strong, but love is stronger ; 

And my love is truer than angel-care.' 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 77 



xv 
THE VISIONARY 

SILENT is the house : all are laid asleep : 
One alone looks out o'er the snow-wreaths deep, 
Watching every cloud, dreading every breeze 
That whirls the wildering drift, and bends the 
groaning trees. 

Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor ; 

Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or 

door; 
The little lamp burns straight, its rays shoot 

strong and far : 
I trim it well, to be the wanderer's guiding-star. 

Frown, my haughty sire ! chide, my angry dame ; 
Set your slaves to spy ; threaten me with shame : 
But neither sire nor dame, nor prying serf shall 

know, 
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen 

snow. 

What I love shall come like visitant of air, 
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare ; 
What loves me, no word of mine shall e'er betray, 
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit 
pay. 



78 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Burn, then, little lamp ; glimmer straight and 

clear 

Hush ! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air : 
He for whom I wait, thus ever comes to me ; 
Strange Power ! I trust thy might ; trust thou my 

constancy. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 79 



XVI 

ENCOURAGEMENT 

I DO not weep ; I would not weep ; 

Our mother needs no tears : 
Dry thine eyes, too ; 'tis vain to keep 

This causeless grief for years. 

What though her brow be changed and cold, 

Her sweet eyes closed for ever ? 
What though the stone the darksome mould 

Our mortal bodies sever? 

What though her hand smooth ne'er again 

Those silken locks of thine? 
Nor, through long hours of future pain, 

Her kind face o'er thee shine ? 

Remember still, she is not dead ; 

She sees us, sister, now ; 
Laid, where her angel spirit fled, 

'Mid heath and frozen ynow. 

And from that world of heavenly light 

Will she not always bend 
To guide us in our lifetime's night, 

And guard us to the end ? 

Thou know'st she will ; and thou mayst mourn 

That we are left below : 
But not that she can ne'er return 

To share our earthly woe. 
F 



8o POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

XVII 

STANZAS 

OFTEN rebuked, yet always back returning 
To those first feelings that were born with me, 

And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning 
For idle dreams of things which cannot be : 

To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region ; 

Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear ; 
And visions rising, legion after legion, 

Bring the unreal world too strangely near. 

I '11 walk, but not in old heroic traces, 

And not in paths of high morality, 
And not among the half-distinguished faces, 

The clouded forms of long-past history. 

I '11 walk where my own nature would be leading : 
It vexes me to choose another guide : 

Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding ; 
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain-side. 

What have those lonely mountains worth reveal- 



More glory and more grief than I can tell : 
The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling 
Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 81 



THE following are the last lines my sister Emily ever wrote. 
XVIII 

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 idle 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. 



82 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Though earth and man were gone, 
And suns and universes ceased to be, 

And Thou were 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. 



PRIVATELY PRINTED POEMS 



Of these 67 poems, the copyright of the Editors, 1 10 copies 

were Privately Printed by Dodd, Mead and Company 

of New York in 1902. 



PRIVATELY PRINTED POEMS 



O GOD of heaven ! The dream of horror, 
The frightful dream is over now ; 
The sickened heart, the blasting sorrow, 
The ghastly night, the ghastlier morrow, 
The aching sense of utter woe. 

The burning tears that would keep welling, 
The groan that mocked at every tear, 
That burst from out their dreary dwelling, 
As if each gasp were life expelling, 
But life was nourished by despair. 

The tossing and the anguished pining, 
The grinding teeth and starting eye ; 
The agony of still repining, 
When not a spark of hope was shining 
From gloomy fate's relentless sky. 

The impatient rage, the useless shrinking 
From thoughts that yet could not be borne ; 
The soul that was for ever thinking, 
Till nature maddened, tortured, sinking, 
At last refused to mourn. 

86 



86 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

It 's over now and I am free, 
And the ocean wind is caressing me, 
The wild wind from that wavy main 
I never thought to see again. 

Bless thee, bright Sea, and glorious dome, 
And my own world, my spirit's home ; 
Bless thee, bless all I cannot speak ; 
My voice is choked, but not with grief, 
And salt drops from my haggard cheek 
Descend like rain upon the heath. 

How long they Ve wet a dungeon floor, 
Falling on flagstones damp and grey : 
I used to weep even in my sleep ; 
The night was dreadful like the day. 

I used to weep when winter's snow 
Whirled through the grating stormily ; 
But then it was a calmer woe, 
For everything was drear to me. 

The bitterest time, the worst of all, 
Was that in which the summer sheen 
Cast a green lustre on the wall 
That told of fields of lovelier green. 

Often I 've sat down on the ground, 
Gazing up to the flush scarce seen, 
Till, heedless of the darkness round, 
My soul has sought a land serene. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 87 

It sought the arch of heaven divine, 
The pure blue heaven with clouds of gold ; 
It sought thy father's home and mine 
As I remembered it of old. 

Oh, even now too horribly 
Come back the feelings that would swell, 
When with my face hid on my knee, 
I strove the bursting groans to quell. 

I flung myself upon the stone ; 
I howled, and tore my tangled hair ; 
And then, when the first gust had flown, 
Lay in unspeakable despair. 

Sometimes a curse, sometimes a prayer, 
Would quiver on my parched tongue ; 
But both without a murmur there 
Died in the breast from whence they sprung. 

And so the day would fade on high, 
And darkness quench that lonely beam, 
And slumber mould my misery 
Into some strange and spectral dream, 
Whose phantom horrors made me know 
The worst extent of human woe. 

But this is past, and why return 
O'er such a path to brood and mourn ? 
Shake off the fetters, break the chain, 
And live and love and smile again. 



88 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The waste of youth, the waste of years, 
Departed in that dungeon thrall ; 
The gnawing grief, the hopeless tears, 
Forget them oh, forget them all 1 

August 7, 1834,^.7. A 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 89 

ii 
SONG 

LORD of Elbe, on Elbe hill 

The mist is thick and the wind is chill ; 

And the heart of thy friend from the dawning of 

day 
Has sighed for sorrow that thou wert away. 

Lord of Elbe, how pleasant to me 
The sound of thy blithesome step would be, 
Rustling the heath that only now 
Moans as the night gusts over it blow. 

Bright are the fires in thy noble home ; 
I see them far off, and it deepens the gloom ; 
Shining like stars through the high forest boughs, 
Gladder they glow in the park's repose. 

O Alexander ! when I return, 

Warm as those hearths thy heart would burn ; 

Light as thine own my step would fall, 

If I might hear thy voice in the hall. 

But thou art now on the desolate sea, 
Thinking of Gondal and grieving for me ; 
Longing to be in sweet Elbe again, 
Thinking and grieving and longing in vain. 

August 19, 1834, 



90 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



in 



COLD, clear, and blue the morning heaven 

Expands its arch on high ; 

Cold, clear, and blue Lake Werna's water 

Reflects that winter sky : 

The moon has set, but Venus shines, 

A silent, silvery star. 



Will the day be bright or cloudy ? 
Sweetly has its dawn begun ; 
But the heaven may shake with thunder 
Ere the setting of the sun. 

Lady, watch Apollo's journey ; 
Thus thy first hour's course shall be : 
If his beams through summer vapours 
Warm the earth all placidly, 
Her days shall pass like a pleasant dream in 
sweet tranquillity. 

If it darken, if a shadow 
Quench his rays and summon rain, 
Flowers may open, buds may blossom, 
Bud and flower alike are vain ; 
Her days shall pass like a mournful story in 
care and tears and pain. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 91 

If the wind be fresh and free, 
The wide skies clear and cloudless blue, 
The woods and fields and golden flowers 
Sparkling in sunshine and in dew, 
Her days shall pass in Glory's light the world's 
drear desert through. 

July 12, 1836. 



92 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



IV 

TELL me, tell me, smiling child, 
What the past is like to thee? 
An Autumn evening, soft and mild, 
With a wind that sighs mournfully. 

Tell me what is the present hour? 

A green and flowery spray, 

Where a young bird sits gathering its power 

To mount and fly away. 

And what is the future, happy one? 
A sea beneath a cloudless sun ; 
A mighty, glorious, dazzling sea, 
Stretching into infinity. 

The inspiring music's thrilling sound, 
The glory of the festal day, 
The glittering splendour rising round, 
Have passed like all earth's joys away. 

Forsaken by that lady fair, 

She glides unheeding through them all ; 

Covering her brow to hide the tear 

That still, though checked, trembles to fall. 

She hurries through the outer hall, 
And up the stairs through galleries dim, 
That murmur to the breezes' call 
The night-wind's lonely vesper hymn. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 93 



HIGH waving heather 'neath stormy blasts bending, 
Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars ; 
Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending, 
Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending ; 
Man's spirit away from the drear dungeon sending, 
Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars. 

All down the mountain-sides wild forests lending 
The mighty voice to the life-giving wind ; 
Rivers their banks in the jubilee bending, 
Fast through the valleys a reckless course wending, 
Wilder and deeper their waters extending, 
Leaving a desolate desert behind. 

Shining and lowering, and swelling and dying, 
Changing for ever from midnight to noon ; 
Roaring like thunder, like soft music sighing, 
Shadows on shadows advancing and flying ; 
Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying, 
Coming as swiftly and fading as soon. 

Woods, you need not frown on me ; 
Spectral trees, that so dolefully 
Shake your heads in the dreary sky, 
You need not mock so bitterly. 

December 13, 1836. 



94 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



VI 



THE night of storms has past ; 
The sunshine bright and clear 
Gives glory to the verdant waste, 
And warms the breezy air. 

And I would leave my bed, 

Its cheering smile to see, 

To chase the visions from my head, 

Whose forms have troubled me, 

In all the hours of gloom 
My soul was rapt away ; 
I stood by a marble tomb 
Where royal corpses lay. 

It was just the time of eve, 
When parted ghosts might come, 
Above their prisoned dust to grieve 
And wail their woeful doom. 

And truly at my side 

I saw a shadowy thing, 

Most dim, and yet its presence there 

Curdled my blood with ghastly fear 

And ghastlier wondering. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 95 

My breath I could not draw, 

The air seemed uncanny ; 

But still my eyes with maddening gaze 

Were fixed upon its fearful face, 

And its were fixed on me. 

I fell down on the stone, 

But could [not] turn away ; 

My words died in a voiceless moan 

When I began to pray. 

And still it bent above, 

Its features full in view ; 

It seemed close by and yet more far 

Than this world from the farthest star 

That tracks the boundless blue. 

Indeed 'twas not the space 
Of earHroFlIme between, V 

But the sea of deep eternity, 
The gulf o'er which mortality 
Has never, never been. 

Oh, bring not back again 
The horror of that hour ! 
When its lips opened and a sound 
Awoke the stillness reigning round, 
Faint as a dream, but the earth shrank, 
And heaven's lights shivered 'neath its 
power. 

G 



96 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Woe for the day ! Regina's pride, 
Regina's hope is in the grave ; 
And who shall rule my land beside, 
And who shall save ? 

Woe for the day ! with gory tears 
My countless sons this day shall rue ; 
Woe for the day ! a thousand years 
Cannot repair what one shall do. 

Woe for the day ! 'twixt rain and wind 
That sad lament was ringing ; 
It almost broke my heart to hear 
Such dreamy, dreary singing. 

June 10, 1837, E.J. Bronte. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 97 



VII 



I SAW thee, child, one summer day 
Suddenly leave thy cheerful play, 
And in the green grass lowly lying 
I listened to thy mournful sighing. 

I knew the wish that waked that wail, 

I knew the source whence sprung those tears 

You longed for fate to raise the veil 

That darkened over coming years. 

The anxious prayer was heard, and power 
Was given me in that silent hour 
To open to an infant's eye 
The portals of futurity. 

But, child of dust, the fragrant flowers, 
The bright blue flowers and velvet sod, 
Were strange conductors to the bowers 
Thy daring footsteps must have trod. 

I watched my time, and summer passed, 
And autumn waning fleeted by, 
And doleful winter nights at last 
In cloudy morning clothed the sky. 



98 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And now it's come. This evening fell 
Not stormily, but stilly drear ; 
A sound sweeps o'er thee like a knell 
To banish joy and welcome care. 

A fluttering blast that shakes the leaves 
And whistles round the gloomy wall, 
And lingering long, and thinking grieves, 
For 'tis the spectre's call. 

He hears me : what a sudden start 
Sent the blood icy to the heart ; 
He wakens, and how ghastly white 
That face looks in the dim lamp-light. 

Those tiny hands in vain essay 
To brush the shadowy fiend away ; 
There is a horror on his brow, 
An anguish in his bosom now ; 

A fearful anguish in his eyes, 
Fixed strainedly on the vacant air ; 
Hoarsely bursts in long-drawn sighs, 
His panting breath enchained by fear. 

Poor child ! if spirits such as I 
Could weep o'er human misery, 
A tear might flow, ay, many a tear, 
To see the head that lies before, 
To see the sunshine disappear ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 99 

And hear the stormy waters roar, 

Breaking upon a desolate shore, 

Cut off from hope in early day, 

From earth and glory cut away. 

But it is doomed, and Morning's light 

Must image forth the scowl of night, 

And childhood's flower must waste its bloom 

Beneath the shadow of the tomb. 



July 1837. 



ioo POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



VIII 

THE battle had passed from the height, 
And still did evening fall ; 
While heaven with its restful night 
Gloriously canopied all. 

The dead around were sleeping 

On heath and granite grey, 

And the dying their last watch were keeping 

In the closing of the day. 

How golden bright from earth and heaven 

The summer day declines ! 

How gloriously o'er land and sea 

The parting sunbeam shines ! 

There is a voice in the wind that waves 

Those bright rejoicing trees. 



Not a vapour had stained the breezeless blue, 
Not a cloud had dimmed the sun, 
From the time of morning's earliest dew 
Till the summer day was done. 

And all as pure and all as bright 
The sun of evening died, 
And purer still its parting light 
Shone on Lake Elnor's tide. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 101 

Waveless and calm lies that silent deep 
In its wilderness of moors, 
Solemn and soft the moonbeams sleep 
Upon its heathy shores. 

The deer are gathered to their rest, 
The wild sheep seek the fold. 

Only some spires of bright green grass 
Transparently in sunshine quivering. 



The sun has set, and the long grass now 

Waves dreamily in the evening wind ; 

And the wild bird has flown from that old 

grey stone, 
In some warm nook a couch to find. 

In all the lonely landscape round 
I see no light and hear no sound, 
Except the wind that far away 
Comes sighing o'er the heathy sea. 



Lady, in thy palace hall, 
Once perchance thy face was seen ; 
Can no memory now recall 
Thought again to what has been ? 

August 1837. 



102 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



IX 

ALONE I sat ; the summer day 

Had died in smiling light away ; 

I saw it die, I watched it fade 

From the misty hill and breezeless glade. 

And thoughts in my soul were rushing, 
And my heart bowed beneath their power ; 
And tears within my eyes were gushing 
Because I could not speak the feeling, 
The solemn joy around me stealing, 
In that divine, untroubled hour. 

I asked myself, O why has Heaven 
Denied the precious gift to me, 
The glorious gift to many given, 
To speak their thoughts in poetry ? 

Dreams have encircled me, I said, 
From careless childhood's sunny time ; 
Visions by ardent fancy fed 
Since life was in its morning prime. 

But now, when I had hoped to sing, 
My fingers strike a tuneless string ; 
And still the burden of the strain 
I strive no more, 'tis all in vain. 
i 

August 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 103 



THE night is darkening round me, 
The wild winds coldly blow ; 

But a tyrant spell has bound me, 
And I cannot, cannot go. 

The giant trees are bending 

Their bare boughs weighed with snow, 
And the storm is fast descending, 

And yet I cannot go. 

Clouds beyond clouds above me, 
Wastes beyond wastes below ; 

But nothing dread can move me 
I will not, cannot go. 



November 1837. 



104 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XI 

I 'LL come when thou art saddest, 
Bring light to the darkened room, 
When the rude day's mirth has vanished, 
And the smile of joy is banished 
From evening's chilly gloom. 

I '11 come when the heart's worst feeling 
Has entire, unbiassed sway, 
And my influence o'er thee stealing, 
Grief deepening, joy congealing, 
Shall bear thy soul away. 

Listen ! 'tis just the hour, 
The awful time for thee. 
Dost thou not feel upon thy soul 
A flood of strange sensations roll, 
Forerunners of a sterner power, 
Heralds of me? 



November 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 105 



XII 

I WOULD have touched the heavenly key 
That spoke alike of bliss and thee ; 
I would have woke the evening song, 
But its words died upon my tongue. 
But then I knew that he stood free, 
Would never speak of joy again, 
And then I felt . . . \unfinished\. 



November 1837, 



io6 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XIII 

Now trust a heart that trusts in you, 
And firmly say the word adieu ; 
Be sure, wherever I may roam, 
My heart is with your heart at home ; 

Unless there be no truth on earth, 
And vows most true are nothing worth, 
And mortal man have no control 
Over his own unhappy soul ; 

Unless I change in every thought, 
And memory will restore me nought, 
And all I have of virtue die 
Beneath far Gondal's foreign sky. 

The mountain peasant loves the heath 
Better than richest plains beneath ; 
He would not give one moorland wild 
For all the fields that ever smiled. 

And whiter brows than yours may be, 
And rosier cheeks my eyes may see, 
And lightning looks from orbs divine 
About my pathway burn and shine. 

But that pure light, changeless and strong, 
Cherished and watched and nursed so long ; 
That love that first its glory gave, 
Shall be my pole-star to the grave. 

November 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 107 



XIV 

SLEEP brings no joy to me, 
Remembrance never dies, 

My soul is given to mystery, 
And lives in sighs. 

Sleep brings no rest to me ; 

The shadows of the dead, 
My wakening eyes may never see, 

Surround my bed. 

Sleep brings no hope to me, 
In soundest sleep they come, 

And with their doleful imag'ry 
Deepen the gloom. 

Sleep brings no strength to me, 
No power renewed to brave ; 

I only sail a wilder sea, 
A darker wave. 

Sleep brings no friend to me 
To soothe and aid to bear ; 

They all gaze on how scornfully, 
And I despair. 

Sleep brings no wish to fret 
My harassed heart beneath ; 

My only wish is to forget 
In endless sleep of death. 



November 1837. 



io8 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



xv 



STRONG I stand, though I have borne 
Anger, hate, and bitter scorn ; 
Strong I stand, and laugh to see 
How mankind have fought with me. 

Shade of history, I condemn 
All the puny ways of men ; 
Free my heart, my spirit free, 
Beckon, and I '11 follow thee. 

False and foolish mortal know, 
If you scorn the world's disdain, 
Your mean soul is far below 
Other worms, however vain. 

Thing of Dust, with boundless pride, 
Dare you ask me for a guide ? 
With the humble I will be ; 
Haughty men are naught to me. 



November 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 109 



XVI 

MOTHER ! I am not regretting 
To leave this wretched world below, 
If there be nothing but forgetting 
In that dark land to which I go. 

Yet though 'tis wretched now to languish, 
Deceived and tired and hopeless here, 
No heart can quite repress the anguish 
Of leaving things that once were dear. 

Twice twelve short years and all is over, 
And day and night to rise no more, 
And never more to be a rover 
Along the fields, the woods, the shore. 

And never more at early dawning 
To watch the stars of midnight wane, 
To breathe the breath of summer morning, 
And see its sunshine ne'er again. 

1 hear the abbey bells are ringing ; 
Methinks their chime sounds faint and drear, 
Or else the wind is adverse winging, 

And wafts its music from my ear. 

The wind the winter night is speaking 
Of thoughts and things that should not stay : 
Mother, come near, my heart is breaking ; 
I cannot bear to go away. 



io POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And I must go whence no returning 
To soothe your grief or calm your care ; 
Nay, do not weep ; that bitter mourning 
Tortures my soul with wild despair. 

No ; tell me that when I am lying 

In the old church beneath the stone, 

You '11 dry your tears and check your sighing, 

And soon forget the spirit gone. 

You Ve asked me long to tell what sorrow 
Has blanched my cheek and quenched my eye ; 
And we shall never cry to-morrow, 
So I '11 confess before I die. 



Ten years ago in last September 
Fernando left his home and you, 
And still I think you must remember 
The anguish of that last adieu. 

And well you know how wildly pining 
I longed to see his face again, 
Through all the Autumn drear deceiving 
Its stormy nights and days of rain. 

Down on the skirts of Areon's Forest 
There lies a lone and lovely glade, 
And there the hearts together nourished, 
Their first, their fatal parting made. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE in 

The afternoon in softened glory 
Bathed each green swell and waving tree, 
And the broad park spread before me 
Stretched towards the boundless sea. 

And there I stood when he had left me, 
With ashy cheek and tearless eye, 
Watching the ship whose sail bereft me 
Of life and hope, and love and joy. 

It past : that night I sought a pillow 
Of sleepless woe and grieving lone ; 
My soul still bounded o'er the billow, 
And mourned a love for ever flown. 

Yet smiling bright in recollection 
One blissful hour returns to me ; 
The letter told of firm affection, 
Of safe deliverance from the sea. 

But not another ; fearing, hoping, 
Spring, winter, harvest glided o'er ; 
And time at length brought power for coping 
With thoughts I could not once endure. 

And I would seek in summer evening 
The place that saw our last farewell, 
And there a chain of visions weaving, 
I 'd linger till the curfew bell. 

December 14, 1837. 



ii2 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XVIT 

AWAKE, awake ! how loud the stormy morning 
Calls up to life the nation's resting round ; 

Arise, arise ! it is the voice of mourning 

That breaks our slumber with so wild a sound. 

The voice of mourning ; listen to its pealing ; 

That shout of triumph drowns the sigh of woe ; 
Each tortured heart forgets its wonted feeling, 

Each faded cheek resumes its long lost glow. 

Our souls are full of gladness ; God has given 
Our arms to victory, our foes to death ; 

The crimson ensign waves its sheet in heaven, 
The sea-green standard lies in dust beneath. 

Patriots, the stain is on your country's glory ; 

Soldiers, preserve that glory bright and free ; 
Let Almedore in peace and battle gory 

Be still another name for victory. 

December 1837. 

This poem in the original manuscript is entitled ' Song by 
Julius Angora.' 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE u, 



XVIII 

O WANDER not so far away ! 

love, forgive this selfish tear ; 
It may be sad for thee to stay, 

But how can I live lonely here? 

The still May morn is warm and bright, 

Young flowers are fresh, and grass is green, 

And in the haze of glorious light 
Our long low hills are scarcely seen. 

Our woods e'en now their young leaves hide 
Where blackbird and the throstle dwell ; 

And high in heaven so blue and wide 
A thousand strains of Music swell. 

He looks on all with eyes that speak 

So deep, so drear a woe to me ! 
There is a faint red on his cheek 

Unlike the bloom I like to see. 

Call Death yes Death he is mine own, 

The grave must close those limbs around, 
And hush, for ever hush the tone, 

1 loved above all earthly sound. 

Well ! pass away with the other flowers ; 

Too dark for them, too dark for thee 
Are the hours to come, the joyless hours, 

That time is treasuring up for me. 



ii4 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

If thou hast sinned in this world of woe, 
'Twas but the dust of thy drear abode ; 

Thy soul was pure when it entered here 
And pure it will go again to God. 

February 20, 1838. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 115 



XIX 



WHY do I hate that lone green dell ? 

Buried in moors and mountains wild, 
That is a spot I had loved too well, 

Had I but seen it when a child. 

There are bones whitening there in the 
summer heat ; 

But it is not for that, and none can tell, 
None but one can the secret repeat, 

Why I hate that lone green dell. 

Noble foe, I pardon thee 

All thy cold and scornful pride, 
For thou wast a priceless friend to me 

When my sad heart had none beside. 

And leaning on thy generous arm, 
A breath of old times over me came ; 

The earth shone round with a long-lost charm : 
Alas ! I forgot I was not the same. 

Before a day, an hour, passed by, 
My spirit knew itself once more ; 

I saw the gilded visions fly 
And leave me as I was before. 

May 9, 1838. 



ii6 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

xx 
GLENEDEN'S DREAM 

TELL me, whether is it winter? 
Say how long my sleep has been ? 
Have the woods, I left so lovely, 
Lost their robes of tender green ? 

Is the morning slow in coming? 
Is the night-time loth to go? 
Tell me, are the dreary mountains 
Drearier still with drifted snow? 

1 Captive, since thou sawest the frost, 
All its leaves have died away ; 
And another March has woven 
Garlands for another May. 

1 Ice has barred the Arctic waters, 
Soft southern winds have set it free ; 
And once more to deep green valley 
Golden flowers might welcome thee.' 

Watching in this lonely prison, 
Shut from joy and kindly air, 
Heaven, descending in a vision, 
Taught my soul to do and bear. 

It was night, a night of winter ; 
I lay on the dungeon floor, 
And all other sounds were silent, 
All, except the river's roar. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 117 

Over Death, and Desolation, 
Fireless hearths, and lifeless homes ; 
Over orphans' heartsick sorrows, 
Patriot fathers' bloody tombs ; 

Over friends, that my arms never 
Might embrace in love again ; 
Memory pondered until madness 
Struck its poniard in my brain. 

Deepest slumbers followed raving, 
Yet, methought, I brooded still ; 
Still I saw my country bleeding, 
Dying for a tyrant's will. 

Not because my bliss was blasted, 
Burned within the avenging flame : 
Not because my scattered kindred 
Died in woe, or lived in shame. 

God doth know I would have given 
Every bosom dear to me, 
Could that sacrifice have purchased 
Tortured Gondal's liberty ! 

But that at Ambition's bidding, 
All her cherished hopes should wane, 
That her noblest sons should muster, 
Strive and fight and fall in vain ; 

Hut and castle, hall and cottage, 
Roofless, crumbling to the ground ; 
Mighty heaven, a glad avenger 
Thy eternal Justice found ! 



ii8 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Yes, the arm that once would shudder, 

Even to grieve a wounded deer, 

I beheld it, unrelenting, 

Clothe in blood its sovereign's prayer. 

Glorious Dream ! I saw the city, 
Blazing in imperial shine ; 
And among adoring thousands 
Stood a man of form divine. 

None need point the princely victim, 
Now he smiles with royal pride ! 
Now his glance is bright as lightning, 
Now the knife is in his side ! 

Ha ! I saw how death could darken, 
Darken that triumphant eye ! 
His red heart's blood drenched my dagger ; 
My ear drank his dying sigh. 

Shadows came ! what means this midnight? 
O my God, I know it all ! 
Know the fever-dream is over, 
Unavenged, the Avenger's fall ! 

May 21, 1838. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 119 



XXI 



IT *s over now ; I Ve known it all ; 
I '11 hide it in my heart no more, 
But back again that night recall, 
And think the fearful vision o'er. 

The evening sun in cloudless shine 
Has passed from summer's heaven divine, 
And dark the shades of twilight grew, 
And stars were in the depth of blue, 
And in the heath or mountain far 
From human eye and human care, 
With thoughtful thought and tearful eye, 
I sadly watched that solemn sky. 

The wide cathedral Isles are lone, 
The vast crowds vanished every one ; 
There can be naught beneath that dome 
But the cold tenants of the tomb. 

O look again, for still on high 
The lamps are burning gloriously ; 
And look again, for still beneath 
A thousand thousand live and breathe. 

All mute as death beyond the shrine 
That gleams in lustre so divine 



120 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Were Gondal's monarchs bending low, 
After the hour of silent prayer, 
Take in heaven's sight their awful vow, 
And never-dying union swear. 

King Julius lifts his impious eye 

From the dark marble to the sky, 

Blasts with that oath his perjured soul, 

And changeless is his cheek the while, 

Though burning thoughts that spurn control, 

Kindle a short and bitter smile, 

As face to face the King's men stand, 

His false hand clasped in Gerald's hand. 

May 22, 1838. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 121 



XXII 

SONG 

THIS shall be thy lullaby, 

Rocking on the stormy sea ; 

Though it roar in thunder wild, 

Sleep, stilly sleep, thou bright-haired child, 

When our shuddering boat was crossing 
Eldern's lake so rudely tossing, 
Then 'twas first my nursling smiled ; 
Sleep, softly sleep, my fair-browed child. 

Waves above thy cradle break, 
Foamy tears are on thy cheek, 
Yet the ocean's self grows mild 
When it bears my slumbering child. 



May 1838. 



122 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXIII 

'TWAS one of those dark, cloudy days 
That sometimes come in summer blaze, 
When heaven drops not, when earth is still, 
And deeper green is on the hill. 

Lonely at her window sitting 
While the evening steals away, 
Fitful winds foreboding, flitting 
Through a sky of cloudy grey. 



There are two trees in a lonely field, 
They breathe a spell to me ; 
A dreary thought their dark boughs yield, 
All waving solemnly. 

What is that smoke that ever still 
ComesTrolling down the dark brown hill ? 



Still as she spoke the ebon clouds 
Would part and sunlight shone between, 
lut dreary, strange, and pale and cold. 


Away, away, resign thee now 
To scenes of gloom and thoughts of fear ; 
I trace the figure on thy brow, 
Welcome at last, though once so drear. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 123 

It will not shine again, 
Its sad course is done ; 
I have seen the last ray wane 
Of the cold, bright sun. 



None but me beheld him dying, 
Parting with the parting day ; 
Wind of evening, sadly sighing, 
Bore his soul from earth away. 



Coldly, bleakly, dreamily 
Evening died on Elbe's shore ; 
Winds were in the cloudy sky, 
Sighing, mourning ever more. 



Old hall of Elbe, ruined, lonely now, 

Home to which the voice of life shall never more 
return ; 

Chambers roofless, desolate, where weeds and ivy 
grow; 

Windows through whose broken panes the night- 
winds coldly mourn 

Home of the departed, the long-departed dead. 



June 1838. 




i2 4 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXTV 

DOUGLAS RIDE 

WELL narrower draw the circle round, 
And hush that music's solemn sound, 
And quench the lamp and stir the fire, 
To rouse its flickering radiance higher ; 
Toss up the window's velvet veil, 
That we may hear the night-wind wail, 
For wild those gusts, and well their chimes 
Blend with a song of troubled times. 

July II, 1838. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 125 



xxv 
SONG 

WHAT rider up Gobeloin's glen 
Has spurred his straining steed, 

And fast and far from living men 
Has passed with maddening speed? 

I saw his hoof-prints mark the rock, 
When swift he left the plain ; 

I heard deep down the echoing shock 
Re-echo back again. 

From cliff to cliff, thro' rock and heath, 
That coal-black courser bounds ; 

Nor heeds the river pent beneath, 
Nor marks how fierce it sounds. 

With streaming hair, and forehead bare 

And mantle waving wide 
His master rides ; the eagle there 

Soars up on every side ; 

The goats fly by with timid cry, 

Their realm rashly won ; 
They pause he still ascends on high 

They gaze, but he is gone. 



126 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

O gallant horse, hold on thy course ; 

The road is tracked behind. 
Spur, rider, spur or vain thy force 

Death comes on every wind. 

Roared thunder loud from that pitchy cloud ? 

From it the torrents flow ? 
Or wakes the breeze in the swaying trees 

That frown so dark below? 

He breathes at last, when the valley is past, 
He rests on the grey rock's brow ; 

What ails thee, steed ? At thy master's need, 
Wilt thou prove faithless now ? 

No ; hardly checked, with ears erect, 

The charger champed his rein ; 
Ere his quivering limbs, all foam-flecked, 

Were off like light again. 

Hark ! through the pass with threatening 
crash 

Comes on the increasing roar ! 
But what shall brave the deep, deep waves 

The deadly pass before ? 

Their feet are dyed in a darker tide, 

Who dare those dangers drear. 
Their breasts have burst through the battle's 
worst, 

And why should they tremble here ? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 12; 

Strong hearts they bear and arms as good, 

To conquer or to fall ; 
They dash into the boiling flood, 

They gain the rock's steep wall. 

4 Now, my brave men, this one pass more, 

This narrow chasm of stone, 
And Douglas for our sovereign's gore 

Shall yield us back his own.* 

I hear their ever-rising tread 
Sound through the granite glen ; 

There is a tall pine overhead 
Held by the mountain men. 

That dizzy bridge which no horse could track 

Has checked the outlaw's way ; 
There like a wild beast turns he back, 

And grimly stands at bay. 

Why smiles he so, when far below 

He spies the toiling chase? 
The pond'rous tree sways heavily, 

And totters from its place. 

They raise their eyes, for the sunny skies 

Are lost in sudden shade ; 
But Douglas neither shrinks nor flies, 

He need not fear the dead. 



128 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

XXVI 

SONG 

GERALDINE, the moon is shining 
With so soft, so bright a ray ; 

Seems it not that eve's declining 
Ushered in a fairer day ? 

While the wind is whispering only, 
Fair across the water borne ; 

Let us in this silence lonely 
Sit beneath the ancient thorn. 

Wild the road, and rough and dreary ; 

Barren all the moorland round ; 
Rude the couch that rests us weary ; 

Mossy stone and heathy .ground. 

But when winter storms were meeting 
In the moonless midnight dome, 

Did we heed the tempests beating, 
Howling round our spirits' home? 

No ; that tree with branches riven 
Whitening in the whirl of snow, 

As it tossed against the heaven, 
Sheltered happy hearts below. 

And at Autumn's mild returning 
Shall our feet forget the way ? 

And in Cynthia's silvan morning, 
Geraldine, wilt thou delay? 

October 17, 1838. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 129 

XXVII 

WHERE were ye all ? and where wert thou ? 
1 saw an eye that shone like thine, 
But dark curls waved around his brow, 
And his star-glance was strange to mine. 

And yet a dreamlike comfort came 
Into my heart and anxious eye, 
And trembling yet to hear his name, 
I bent to listen watchfully. 

This voice, though never heard before, 
Still spoke to me of years gone by ; 
It seemed a vision to restore, 
That brought the hot tears to my eye. 

I paused on the threshold, I turned to the sky; 
I looked to the heaven and the dark mountains 

round ; 
The full moon sailed bright through that ocean 

on high, 
And the wind murmured past with a wild eerie 

sound. 

And I entered the walls of my dark prison-house ; 
Mysterious it rose from the billowy moor. 

O come with me, thus ran the song, 
The moon is bright in Autumn's sky, 
And thou hast toiled and laboured long, 
With aching head and weary eye. 

October 1838. 



130 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXVIII 

LIGHT up thy halls ! Tis closing day ; 

I 'm drear and lone and far away. 

Cold blows on my breast the Northwind's bitter 

sigh, 
And, oh ! my couch is bleak, beneath the rainy 

sky ! 

Light up thy halls ! think not of me ; 

Absent is that face which thou hast hated so to 

see ; 
Bright be thine eyes, undimmed their dazzling 

shine, 
For never, never more shall they encounter mine ! 

The desert moor is dark, there is tempest in the 

air; 
I have breathed my only wish in one last, one 

burning prayer ; 
A prayer that would come forth altho' it lingered 

long; 

That set on fire my heart, but froze upon my 
V^ tongue. 

And now, it shall be done before the morning rise ; 
I will not watch the sun arise in yonder skies. 
One task alone remains thy pictured face to view, 
And then I go to prove if God, at least, be true ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 131 

Do I not see thee now? Thy black resplendent 

hair ; 
The glory-beaming brow ; and smile how heavenly 

fair! 
I Thine eyes are turned away those eyes I would 

not see ; 
Their dark, their deadly ray would more than 

madden me. 

Then, go, deceiver, go ! My hair is streaming 

wet ; 
My heart's blood flows to buy the blessing to 

forget ! 
Oh ! could that heart give back give back again 

to thine, 
One tenth part of the pain that clouds my dark 

decline. 



Oh ! could I see thy lids weighed down in cheer- 
less woe ; 

Too full to hide their tears, too stern to overflow ; 

Oh ! could I know thy soul with equal grief was 
torn, 

This fate might be endured this anguish might 
be borne. 



L 



How gloomy grows the night ! Tis Gondal's 

wind that blows ; 
I shall not tread again the deep glens where it 

rose. 



132 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

I feel it on my face Where, wild blast ! dost 

thou roam? 
What do we, wanderer ! here, so far away from 

home? 

I do not need thy breath to cool my death-cold 

brow ; 

But go to that far land, where she is shining now ; 
Tell her my latest wish, tell her my dreary doom ; 
Say that my pangs are past, but hers are yet to 

come. 

Vain words, vain, frenzied thoughts ! No ear can 

hear my call. 

Lost in the desert air my frantic curses fall. 
And could she see me now, perchance her lip 

would smile, 
Would smile in careless pride and utter scorn the 

while ! 

But yet for all her hate, each parting glance would 

tell 
A stronger passion breathed, burned in this last 

farewell 

Unconquered in my soul the Tyrant rules me still : 
Life bows to my control, but Love I cannot kill ! 

November I, 1838. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 133 



XXIX 

DREAM, where art thou now ? 
Long years have passed away 

Since cast from off thine angel brow 
I saw the light decay. 

Alas ! alas for me ! 

Thou wert so bright and fair, 

1 could not think thy memory 
Would yield me nought but care ! 

The moonbeam and the storm, 

The summer eve divine, 
The silent night of solemn calm, 

The full moon's cloudless shine, 

Were once entwined with thee, 
But now with weary pain. 

Lost vision ! 'tis enough for me 
Thou canst not shine again. 



November 3, 1838. 



134 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXX 

How still, how happy ! These are words 
That once would scarce agree together ; 

I loved the splashing of the surge, 

The changing heaven, the breezy weather, 

More than smooth seas and cloudless skies 
And solemn, soothing, softened airs, 

That in the forest woke no sighs 

And from the green spray shook no tears. 

How still, how happy ! now I feel 
Where silence dwells is sweeter far 

Than laughing mirth with joyous swell, 
However pure its raptures are. 

Come, sit down on this sunny stone ; 

'Tis wintry light o'er flowless moors ; 
But sit, for we are all alone, 

And clear expand heaven's breathless shores. 

I could think in the withered grass 

Spring's budding wreaths we might discern ; 
The violet's eye might shyly flash, 

And young leaves shoot among the fern. 

It is but thought full many a night 
The snow shall clothe these hills afar, 

And storms shall add a drearier blight 
And winds shall wage a wilder war, 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 135 

Before the lark may herald in 

Fresh foliage twined with blossoms fair, 
And summer days again begin 

Their glory-haloed crown to wear. 

Yet my heart loves December's smile 
As much as July's golden gleam \ 

Then let me sit and watch the while 
The blue ice curdling on the stream. 



December 7, 1838. 



136 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXXI 

THE night was dark, yet winter breathed 
With softened sighs on Gondal's shore ; 
And though its wind repining grieved, 
It chained the snow-swollen streams no more. 

How deep into the wilderness 
My horse had strayed, I cannot say ; 
But neither morsel nor caress 
Would urge him farther on the way. 

So loosening from his neck the rein, 
I set my worn companion free, 
And billowy hill and boundless plain 
Full soon divided him from me. 

The sullen clouds lay all unbroken 
And blackening round the horizon drear, 
But still they gave no certain token 
Of heavy rain or tempest near. 

I paused, confounded and distracted, 
Down in the heath my limbs I threw ; 
But wilder as I longed for rest, 
More wakeful heart and eyelids grew. 

It was about the middle night 
And under such a starless dome, 
When gliding from the mountains height, 
I saw a shadowy spirit come. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 137 

Her wavy hair on her shoulders bare, 
It shone like soft clouds round the moon ; 
Her noiseless feet, like melting sleet, 
Gleamed white a moment, then were gone. 

* What seek you now on this bleak moor brow, 
Where wanders that form from heaven descend- 
ing?' 

It was thus I said as her graceful head 
The spirit above my couch was bending. 

4 This is my home where whirlwinds blow, 
Where snowdrifts round my path are swelling ; 
'Tis many a year, 'tis long ago, 
Since I beheld another dwelling. 

1 When thick and fast the smothering blast 
I Ve welcomed the winter on the plain, 
If my cheek grew pale in its loudest gale, 
May I never tread the hills again. 

1 The shepherd had died on the mountain-side, 
But my ready aid was near him then ; 
I led him back o'er the hidden track 
And gave him to his native glen. 



' When tempests roar on the lonely shore 
I light my beacon with seaweeds dry, 
And it flings its fire through the darkness dire 
And gladdens the sailor's hopeless eye. 



i 3 8 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

' And the sea-birds noisy I love to keep, 
Their timid forms to guard from harm ; 
I have a spell, and they know it well, 
And I save them with a powerful charm. 

' Thy own good steed on his friendless bed 
A few hours since you left to die ; 
But I knelt by his side and the saddle untied, 
And life returned to his glazing eye. 

< To a silent home thy feet may come, 
And years may follow of toilsome pain ; 
But yet I swear by that burning tear, 
The loved shall meet on its hearth again.' 

January 12, 1839. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 139 



XXXII 

THE ABSENT ONE 

FROM our evening fireside now 

Merry laugh and cheerful tone, 

Smiling eye and cloudless brow, 

Mirth and music all are flown. 

Yet the grass before the door 

Grows as green in April rain, 

And as blithely as of yore 

Larks have poured their daylong strain. 

Is it fear or is it sorrow 
Checks the frequent stream of joy? 
Do we tremble that to-morrow 
May our present peace destroy ? 

For past misery are we weeping? 
What is past can hurt no more ; 
And the gracious heavens are keeping 
Aid for that which lies before. 

One is absent, and for one, 
Cheerless, chill is our hearthstone. 
One is absent, and for him 
Cheeks are pale and eyes are dim. 



140 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Arthur, brother, Gondal's shore 
Rested from the battle's roar ; 
Arthur, brother, we returned 
Back to Desmond lost and mourned. 

Thou didst purchase by thy fall 
Home for us and peace for all ; 
Yet, how darkly dawned that day ! 
Dreadful was the price to pay ! 

Just as once, through sun and mist 
I have climbed the mountain's breast, 
Still my gun with certain aim 
Brought to earth the fluttering game : 

But the very dogs repined ; 
Though I called with whistle shrill, 
Tay and Carlo lagged behind, 
Looking backward o'er the hill. 

Sorrow was not vocal then ; 
Mute their woe and my despair ; 
But the joy of life was flown 
He was gone, and we were lone. 

So it is by morn and eve ; 
So it is in field and hall ; 
For the absent one we grieve ; 
One being absent, saddens all. 

April 19, 1839. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 141 



XXXIII 

TO A BLUEBELL 

SACRED watcher, wave thy bells ! 

Fair hill flowers and woodland child, 
Dear to me in deep green dells, 

Dearest on the mountains wild. 

Bluebell, even as all divine 
I have seen my darling shine ; 
Bluebell, even as fair and frail 
I have seen my darling fail. 
Lift thy head and speak to me, 
Soothing thoughts are breathed by thee. 
Thus they whisper, ' Summer's sun 
Lights me till my life is done ; 
Would I rather choose to die 
Under winter's stormy sky ? 

Glad I bloom, and calm I fade, 
Dews of heaven are round me staid \ 
Mourner, mourner, dry thy tears, 
Sorrow comes with lengthened years.' 



May 7, 1839. 




142 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



xxxiv 

THE busy day has hurried by, 

And hearts greet kindred hearts once more ; 

And swift the evening hours should fly, 

But, what turns every gleaming eye 

So often to the door ? 

And then so quick away ? And why 
Does sudden silence chill the room ? 
And laughter sink into a sigh, 
And merry words to whispers die, 
And gladness change to gloom ? 

Oh, we are listening for a sound, 
We know, shall ne'er be heard again ; 
Sweet voices in the halls resound, 
Fair forms, fond faces gather round, 
But all in vain, in vain. 

Their feet shall never waken more 
The echoes in those galleries wide, 
Nor dare the snow on mountain's brow, 
Nor skim the river's frozen flow, 
Nor wander down its side. 

They who have been our life, our soul, 
Through summer youth from childhood's 

spring, 

Who bound us in one vigorous whole 
To stand 'gainst Tyranny's control 
For ever triumphing : 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 143 

Who bore the brunt of battle's fray, 
The first to fight, the last to fall, 
Whose mighty minds with kindred lay, 
Still led the van in glory's way 
The idol chiefs of all. 

They, they are gone ! Not for a while, 
As golden suns at night decline, 
And e'en in death our grief beguile, 
Foretelling with a rose-red smile 
How bright the morn will shine. 

No ; these dark towers are lone and lorn 
This very crowd is vacancy ; 
And we must watch and wait and mourn 
And half look out for their return ; 
And think their forms we see. 

And fancy music in our ear, 
Such as their lips could only pour, 
And think we feel their presence near, 
And start to find they are not here ; 
And never shall be more ! 




June 14, 1839. 



144 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXXV 

AND now the house-dog stretched once more 

His limbs upon the glowing floor ; 

The children half resume their play, 

Though from the warm hearth scared away ; 

The goodwife left her spinning-wheel 

And spread with smiles the evening meal ; 

The shepherd placed a seat and pressed 

To their poor fare his unknown guest, 

And he unclasped his mantle now, 

And raised the covering from his brow, 

Said, voyagers by land and sea 

Were seldom feasted daintily, 

And cheered his host by adding stern 

He'd no refinement to unlearn. 

A silence settled on the room, 

The cheerful welcome sank to gloom ; 

But not those words, though cold or high, 

So froze their hospitable joy. 

No there was something in his face, 

Some nameless thing which hid not grace, 

And something in his voice's tone 

Which turned their blood as chill as stone. 

The ringlets of his long black hair 

Fell o'er a cheek most ghastly fair. 

Youthful he seemed but worn as they 

Who spend too soon their youthful day. 

When his glances dropped, 'twas hard to quell 

Unbidden feelings' hidden swell ; 



M.S 



A IK I I 'i I y se.lf'ee ln'i lea i :. eon Id hide, 
So .sweet fh.'il hrow with all its pride. 

I >nl when ii i >i .1 1 :.((! In-, rye would il.ul 
An n y shnddei lhi..n;;h ihe lic.nl, 
Compassion i ham'ed to honor I hen, 
A nil fear lo meel lli.il r.a/e a^ain. 

It w;i.s nol halrnl's lii'ci rj.irc, 

Nor the wild anguish of despair ; 

I 1 w.r, nol cither IIM:,CI y 

Whirh (|nn l.cir. I MCIK I'.li 1 1 )'. syinp;ith\'; 

N(> 1 1 ; ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 : .ill iMic.iillilv '.liiiiic 
!)rc|) in lli.il il. ilk ( \'c''. ( lu Inn; /one, 
!>ih 1 1 \v 1 1 1 n i 1 1 1 i ' I n r Ill in ii i ' .is \vr (lee in 

None but a spirit s look may beam j 

And r.l-i'l were ..II when lie (in neil ;iw,iy 

Anil wi.i|>l him in hi:, ni.inl! ;;iry, 

And hid hi:, lie. id npon hi:, arm, 

And veiled horn view hi-, ki:,dr.k ch.ii in. 

July i a, 1839, M,/. Mronti. 






146 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



xxxvi 

COME hither, child ; who gifted thee 
With power to touch that string so well ? 
How daredst thou wake thoughts in me, 
Thoughts that I would but cannot quell 

Nay, chide not, lady ; long ago 
I heard those notes in Elbe Hall, 
And had I known they 'd waken woe, 
I 'd weep their music to recall. 

But thus it was one festal night, 
When I was hardly six years old, 
I stole away from crowds and light 
And sought a chamber dark and cold. 

I had no one to love me there, 
I knew no comrade and no friend, 
And so I went to sorrow where 
Heaven only heaven could me fend. 

Loud blew the wind. 'Twas sad to stay 
From all that splendour round away. 
I imaged in the lonely room 
A thousand forms, a fearful gloom ; 

And with my wet eyes raised on high, 
I prayed to God that I might die. 
Suddenly in the silence drear 
A sound of music reached my ear : 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 147 

And then a voice I hear it yet- 
So full of soul, so deeply sweet ; 
I thought that Gabriel's self had come 
To take me to my father's home. 

Three times it rose, that solemn strain, 
Then died away, nor came again ; 
And still the words and still the tone 
Dwell in their might when all alone. 



July 19, 1839. 



148 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXXVII 

How long will you remain? The midnight hour 
Has tolled its last stroke from the minster tower. 
Come, come ; the fire is dead, the lamp burns low ; 
Your eyelids droop, a weight is on your brow ; 
Your cold hands hardly hold the weary pen : 
Come ; morn will give recovered strength again. 

No ; let me linger ; leave me, let me be 

A little longer in this reverie : 

I 'm happy now ; and would you tear away 

My blissful thought that never comes with day. 

A vision dear, though false, for well my mind 
Knows what a bitter waking waits behind. 
Can there be pleasure in this shadowy room, 
With windows yawning on intenser gloom, 
And such a dreary wind so bleakly sweeping 
Round walls where only you are vigil keeping? 
Besides, your face has not a sign of joy, 
And more than tearful sorrow fills your eye. 
Look on those woods, look on that mountain lorn, 
And think how changed they '11 be to-morrow morn : 
The doors of heaven expanding bright and blue ; 
The leaves, the green grass, sprinkled with the dew ; 
And white mists rising on the river's breast, 
And wild birds bursting from their songless nest, 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 149 

And your own children's merry voices chasing 
The phantom ghost that pleasure has been raising. 
Aye speak of these ; but can you tell me why 
Day breathes such beauty over earth and sky, 
And waking sounds revive, restore again 
To hearts that all night long have throbbed with 

pain? 

Is it not that the sunshine and the wind 
Lure from itself the woe-worn mind, 
And all the joyous music breathing by, 
And all the splendours of that cloudless sky, 
Regive him shadowy gleams of infancy 
And draw his tired gaze from futurity ? 

August 12, 1839. 



150 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXXVIII 

FAIR sinks the summer evening now 

In scattered glory round ; 

The sky upon its holy brow 

Wears not a cloud that speaks of gloom. 

The old tower, shrined in golden light, 
Looks down on the descending sun ; 
So softly evening blends with night, 
You scarce can say when day is done. 

And this is just the joyous hour 
When we were wont to burst away 
T' escape from labour's tyrant power 
And cheerfully go out to play. 

Then why is all so sad and lone? 
No merry footstep on the stair, 
No laugh, no heart-awaking tone, 
But voiceless silence everywhere. 

I Ve wandered round our garden ground, 1 
And still it seemed at every turn 
That I should greet approaching feet, 
And words upon the breezes hung. 

Stanzas 5 and 6 have been crossed out in the manuscript. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 151 

In vain, they will not come to-day, 

And morning's beams will rise as drear. 

Then tell me, are they gone for aye, 

Or gleams the sun amongst the mists of care? 

Be still, reviving hope doth say, 
Departed joys 'tis fond to mourn, 
Think every storm that rides its way 
Prepared a more divine return. 

August 30, 1839. 



152 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXXIX 

THE wind I hear it sighing 

With autumn's saddest sound ; 

Withered leaves all thick are lying 
As spring-flowers on the ground. 

This dark night has won me 

To wander far away ; 
Old feelings gather fast upon me, 

Like vultures round their prey. 

Kind were they once and cherished, 

But cold and cheerless now. 
I would their lingering shades had perished 

When their light left my brow. 

'Tis like old age pretending 

The softness of a child, 
My altered, hardened spirit bending 

To meet their fancies wild. 

Yet could I with past pleasures 

Past woe's oblivion buy, 
That by the death of my dearest treasures 

My deadliest pains might die ; 

O then another daybreak 

Might haply dawn above ; 
Another summer gild my cheek, 

My soul, another love. 

October 23, 1839. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 153 



XL 



THAT wind, I used to hear it swelling 
With joy divinely deep ; 
You might have seen my hot tears welling, 
But rapture made me weep. 

I used to love on winter nights 
To lie and dream alone 
Of all the rare and real delights 
My lonely years had known. 

And oh ! above the best of those 

That coming time should bear, 

Like heaven's own glorious stars they rose, 

Still beaming bright and fair. 

November 28, 1839. 



154 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XLI 



THY sun is near meridian height, 
And my sun sinks in endless night ; 
But if that night bring only sleep, 
Then I shall rest, while thou wilt weep. 

And say not that my early tomb 
Will give me to a darker doom ; 
Shall these long agonising years 
Be punished by eternal tears ? 

No : that I feel can never be ; 
A God of hate could hardly bear 
To watch through all eternity, 
His own creation's dread despair ! 

The pangs that wring my mortal breast, 
Must claim from Justice lasting rest ; 
Enough, that this departing breath 
Will pass in anguish worse than death. 

If I have sinned ; long, long ago 
That sin was purified by woe. 
I have suffered on thro' night and day ; 
I 've trod a dark and frightful way. 

Earth's wilderness was round me spread, 
Heaven's tempests beat my naked head ; 
I did not kneel ; in vain would prayer 
Have sought one gleam of mercy there ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 155 

How could I ask for pitying love, 
When that grim concave frowned above, 
Hoarding its lightnings to destroy 
My only and my priceless joy ? 

They struck and long may Eden shine 
Ere I would call its glories mine ; 
All Heaven's undreamt felicity 
Could never blot the past from me. 

No ! Years may cloud and death may sever, 
But what is done, is done for ever. 
And thou false friend and treacherous guide 
Go sate thy cruel heart with pride. 

Go, load my memory with shame ; 
Speak but to curse my hated name ; 
My tortured limbs in dungeons bind, 
And spare my life to kill my mind. 

Leave me in chains and darkness now, 
And when my very soul is worn, 
When reason's light has left my brow, 
And madness cannot feel thy scorn, 

Then come again ; thou wilt not shrink 
I know thy soul is free from fear 
The last full cup of triumph drink, 
Before the blank of death be there. 



156 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The raving, dying victim see, 
Lost, cursed, degraded all for thee ! 
Gaze on the wretch recall to mind 
His golden days left long behind. 

Does Memory sleep in Lethean rest? 
Or wakes its whisper in thy breast ? 
O Memory wake ! Let scenes return, 
That e'en her haughty heart must mourn ! 



Reveal ; where o'er a lone green wood 
The moon of summer pours 
Far down from heaven its silver flood 
On deep Eldenna's shores ; 

There, lingering in the wild embrace 
Youth's warm affections gave, 
She sits and fondly seems to trace 
His features in the wave. 

And while on that reflected face 
Her eyes intently dwell ; 
' Fernando, sing to-night,' she says, 
4 The lays I love so well.' 



He smiles and sings, through every air 
Betrays the faith of yesterday ; 
His soul is glad to cast for her 
Virtue and faith and Heaven away. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 157 

Well, thou hast paid me back my love ! 
But, if there be a God above, 
Whose arm is strong, whose word is true, 
This hell shall wring thy spirit too 1 

January 6, 1840. 



158 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XLII 

FAR, far is mirth withdrawn ; 

'Tis three long hours before the morn, 

And I watch lonely, drearily ; 

So come, thou shade, commune with me. 

Deserted one ! thy corpse lies cold 
And mingled with a foreign mould. 
Year after year the grass grows green 
Above the dust where thou hast been. 

I will not name thy blighted name, 
Tarnished by unforgotten shame, 
Though not because my bosom torn 
Joins the mad world in all its scorn. 

Thy phantom face is dark with woe, 
Tears have left ghastly traces there, 
These ceaseless tears ! I wish their flow 
Could quench thy wild despair. 

They deluge my heart like the rain 
On cursed Zamornah's howling plain. 
Yet when I hear thy foes deride, 
I must cling closely to thy side. 

Our mutual foes ! They will not rest 
From trampling on thy buried breast. 
Glutting their hatred with the doom, 
They picture thine beyond the tomb. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 159 

But God is not like human kind, 
Man cannot read the Almighty mind ; 
Vengeance will never torture thee, 
Nor hurt thy soul eternally. 

Then do not in this night of grief, 
This time of overwhelming fear, 
O do not think that God can leave, 
Forget, forsake, refuse to hear ! 

What have I dreamt? He lies asleep, 
With whom my heart would vainly weep ; 
He rests, and / endure the woe, 
That left his spirit long ago. 



March 1840. 



ibo POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XLIII 

IT is too late to call thee now, 

I will not nurse that dream again ; 

For every joy that lit my brow 
Would bring its after-storm of pain. 

Besides the mist is half withdrawn, 
The barren mountain-side lies bare, 

And sunshine and awaking morn 
Paint no more golden visions there. 

Yet ever in my grateful breast 

Thy darling shade shall cherished be ; 
For God alone doth know how blessed 

My early years have been in thee i 



April 1840. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 161 



XLIV 

IF grief for grief can touch thee, 
If answering woe for woe, 

If any ruth can melt thee, 
Come to me now ! 

I cannot be more lonely, 
More drear I cannot be ! 

My worn heart throbs so wildly 
Twill break for thee. 

And when the world despises, 
When heaven repels my prayer, 

Will not mine angel comfort? 
Mine idol hear? 

Yes, by the tears I Ve poured, 
By all my hours of pain, 

O I shall surely win thee, 
Beloved, again. 

May 1 8, 1840. 



1 62 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

XLV 

GERALDINE 

'TWAS night, her comrades gathered all 
Within their city's rocky wall ; 
When flowers were closed and day was o'er 
Their joyous hearts awoke the more. 

But lonely in her distant cave 
She heard the river's restless wave 
Chafing its banks with dreamy flow, 
Music for mirth and wail for woe. 

Palm trees and cedars towering high 
Deepened the gloom of evening's sky, 
And thick did raven ringlets veil 
Her forehead, drooped like lily pale. 

Yet I could hear my lady sing ; 
I knew she did not mourn ; 
For never yet from sorrow's spring 
Such witching notes were born. 

Thus poured she in that cavern wild 
The voice of feelings warm, 
As bending o'er her beauteous child 
She clasped its sleeping form. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 163 

' Why sank so soon the summer sun 
From our Zedona's skies? 
I was not tired, my darling one, 
Of gazing in thine eyes. 

' Methought the heaven, whence thou hast 

come, 

Was lingering there awhile ; 
And earth seemed such an alien home 
They did not dare to smile. 

< Methought each moment, something strange 
Within their circles shone, 
And yet, through every magic change, 
They were my darling's own. 

' Methought what thought I not, sweet love ? 
My whole heart centred there ; 
I breathed not but to send above 
One gush of ardent prayer. 

' Bless it ! My gracious God ! ' I cried. 
1 Preserve Thy mortal shrine, 
For Thine own sake, be Thou its guide, 
And keep it still divine 

* Say, sin shall never blanch that cheek, 
Nor suffering change that brow. 
Speak, in Thy mercy, Maker, speak, 
And seal it safe from woe. 



1 64 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

1 Why did I doubt? In God's control 
Our mutual fates remain, 
And pure as now, my Angel's soul 
Must go to heaven again.' 

The revellers in the city slept, 
My lady in her woodland bed ; 
I watching o'er her slumber wept, 
As one who mourns the dead. 

August 17, 1841. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 165 



XLVI 

I SEE around me piteous tombstones grey 
Stretching their shadows far away. 
Beneath the turf my footsteps tread 
Lie low and lone the silent dead ; 
Beneath the turf, beneath the mould, 
For ever dark, for ever cold. 
And my eyes cannot hold the tears 
That memory hoards from vanished years. 
For time and Death and mortal pain 
Give wounds that will not heal again. 
Let me remember half the woes 
I 've seen and heard and felt below, 
And heaven itself, so pure and blest, 
Could never give my spirit rest. 
Sweet land of light ! Thy children fair 
Know nought akin to our despair ; 
Nor have they felt, nor can they tell 
What tenants haunt each mortal cell, 
What gloomy guests we hold within, 
Torments and madness, tear and sin ! 
Well, may they live in ecstasy 
Their long eternity of joy ; 
At least we would not bring them down 
With us to weep, with us to groan. 
No, Earth would wish no other sphere 
To taste her cup of suffering drear ; 
She turns from heaven a tearless eye 
And only mourns that we must die ! 



1 66 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Ah mother, what shall comfort thee 

In all this boundless misery? 

To cheer our eager eyes awhile 

We see thee smile, how fondly smile ! 

But who reads not through the tender glow 

Thy deep, unutterable woe? 

Indeed no darling land above 

Can cheat thee of thy children's love. 

We all in life's departing shine, 

Our last dear longings blend with thine, 

And struggle still and strive to trace 

With clouded gaze thy darling face. 

We would not leave our nature home 

For any world beyond the tomb. 

No, mother, on thy kindly breast 

Let us be laid in lasting rest, 

Or waken but to share with thee 

A mutual immortality. 

July 1841. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 167 



XLVII 

ROSINA 

WEEKS of wild delirium past, 

Weeks of fevered pain ; 
Rest from suffering comes at last ; 

Reason dawns again. 

It was a pleasant April day 
Declining to the afternoon ; 

Sunshine upon her pillow lay 
As warm as middle June. 

It told her unconsciously 

Early spring had hurried by ; 

' Ah ! Time has not delayed for me,' 
She murmured with a sigh. 

* Angora's hills have heard their tread, 

The crimson flag is planted there ; 
Eldenna's waves are rolling red, 
While I lie fettered here ! 

* Nay, rather, Gondal's shaken throne 

Is now secure and free ; 
And my king Julius reigns alone 
Debtless, alas ! to me.' 



168 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Loud was the sudden gust of woe 
From those who watch around ; 

Rosina turned and sought to know 
Why burst that boding sound. 

' What then, my dreams are false,' she said, 

1 Come, maidens, answer me ; 
Has Almadore in battle bled ! 

Have slaves subdued the free? 



' I know it all ; he could not bear 

To leave me dying far away ; 
He fondly, madly lingered here 

And we have lost the day ! 

But check those coward sobs, and bring 
My robes, and smooth my tangled hair ; 

A noble victory you shall sing 
For every hour's despair ! 

4 When will he come? 'Twill soon be night ; 

We '11 come when evening falls ; 
Oh ! I shall weary for the light 

To leave my lonely halls ! ' 

She turned her pallid face aside, 

As she would seek repose ; 
But dark Ambition's thwarted pride 

Forbade her lips to close. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 169 

And still on all who waited by 

Oppressive mystery hung ; 
And swollen with grief was every eye, 

And chained was every tongue. 

They whispered nought, but, ' Lady, sleep, 

Dear lady, slumber now ! 
Had we not bitter cause to weep 

While you were laid so low ? 

* And hope can hardly deck the cheek 

With sudden signs of cheer, 
When it has worn through many a week 

The sting of anguish drear/ 

Fierce grew Rosina's gloomy gaze ; 

She cried, ' Dissembler, own 
Erina's arms in victory blaze, 

Brenzaida's crest is down.' 



' Well, since it must be told, Lady, 
Brenzaida's crest is down ; 

Brenzaida's sun is set, Lady, 
His empire overthrown ! 

* He died beneath his palace dome, 
True heart on every side ; 

Among his guards, within his home 
Our glorious monarch died. 



170 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

* I saw him fall, I saw the gore 
From his heart's fountain swell, 

And mingling on the marble floor 
His murderer's life-blood fell. 



* And now, 'mid northern mountains lone 

His desert grave is made ; 
And, Lady, of your love alone 

Remains a mortal shade ! ' 

September 1, 1841. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 171 



XLVIII 

IN the same place, when nature wore 

The same celestial glow, 
I 'm sure I Ve seen these forms before 

But many springs ago ; 

But only he had locks of light 

And she had raven hair ; 
While now, his curls are dark as night 

And hers as morning fair. 

Besides, I Ve dreamt of tears whose traces 

Will never more depart ; 
Of agony that fast effaces 

The verdure of the heart. 

I dreamt one sunny day like this, 
In this peerless month of May, 

I saw her give th' unanswered kiss 
As his spirit passed away. 

Those young eyes that so sweetly shine 

Then looked their last adieu, 
And pale death changed that cheek divine 

To his unchanging hue. 

And earth was cast above the breast 
That once beat warm and true, 

Where her heart found a living rest 
That moved responsively. 



i;2 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Then she, upon the covered grave, 
The grass-grown grave, did lie, 

A tomb not girt by English wave 
Nor arched by English sky. 

The sod was sparkling bright with dew, 

But brighter still with tears ; 
That welled from mortal grief, I knew 

Which never heals with years. 

And if he came not for her woe, 

He would not now return ; 
He would not leave his sleep below, 

When she had ceased to mourn. 

O Innocence, that cannot live 
With heart-wrung anguish long, 

Dear childhood's innocence forgive, 
For I have done thee wrong ! 

The bright rosebuds, those hawthorn shrouds 

Within their perfumed bower, 
Have never closed beneath a cloud, 

Nor bent beneath a shower. 

Had darkness once obscured their sun 

Or kind dew turned to rain, 
No storm-cleared sky that ever shone 

Could win such bliss again. 

May 17, 1842. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 173 



XLIX 

ASPIN CASTLE 

How do I love on summer night 
To sit within this Norman door, 

Whose sombre portal hides the light, 
Thickening above me evermore. 

How do I love to hear the flow 
Of Aspin's water murmuring low, 

And hours long listen to the breeze 
That sighs in Beckden's waving trees. 

To-night there is no wind to wake 
One ripple in the lovely lake ; 

To-night the clouds, subdued and grey, 
Starlight and moonlight shut away. 

'Tis calm and still and almost drear, 

So utter is the solitude ; 
But still I love to linger here, 

And form my mood to Nature's mood. 

There 's a wild walk beneath the rocks 
Following the bend of Aspin's side, 

Tis worn by feet of mountain-flocks 
That wander down to drink the tide. 



174 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Never by cliff and gnarled tree 
Wound fairy path so sweet to me ; 

Yet of the native shepherds none, 
In open day and cheerful sun, 

Will tread its labyrinths alone. 



Far less when evening's pensive hour 
Hushes the bird and shuts the flower, 

And gives to fancy magic power 
O'er each familiar tower. 



For round their hearths they'll tell this 
tale, 

And every listener swears it true ; 
How wanders there a phantom pale 

WitlTspTrTueyes of dreamy blue. 



It always walks with head declined, 
The long curls wave not in the wind ; 

Its face is fair divinely fair ; 
But always on that angel brow 

Rests such a shade of deep despair, 
As nought divine could ever know. 

How oft in twilight lingering lone, 
I 've stood to watch that phantom rise, 

And seen in mist and moonlit stone, 
Its gleaming hair and solemn eyes. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 175 

The ancient men in secret say 
'Tis the first chief of Aspin grey 

That haunts his feudal home ; 
But why around that alien grave, 

Three thousand miles beyond the wave, 

Where his exiled ashes lie, 

Under the cope of England's sky, 

Doth he not rather roam ? 



I Ve seen his picture in the hall, 
It hangs upon an eastern wall ; 

And often when the sun declines 
That picture like an angel shines. 
And when the moonbeam still and blue 
Streams the spectral windows through 
That picture 's like a spectral too. 

The hall is full of portraits rare, 
Beauty and mystery mingle there ; 

At his right hand an infant fair 
Looks from its golden frame ; 

And just like his its ringlets bright, 
Its large dark eyes of shadowy light, 

Its cheek's pure hue, its forehead white, 
And like its noble name. 

Daughter divine ! and could his gaze 
Fall coldly on thy peerless face ? 

And did he never smile to see 
Himself restored to infancy? 

M 



176 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Never put back that golden flow 

Of curls ; and kiss that pearly brow, 

And feel no other earthly bliss 
Was equal to that parent's kiss ? 



No ; turn towards the western side. 

There stands Sidonia's deity ! 
In all her glory, all her pride ! 

And truly like a god she seems, 
Some lad of wild enthusiast's dream. 

And this is she for whom he died ! 
For whom his spirit unforgiven 

Wanders unsheltered, shut from heaven, 
An outcast for eternity. 

Those eyes are dust, those lips are clay, 
That form is mouldered all away ; 

Nor thought, nor sense, nor pulse, nor breath ; 
The whole devoured and lost in death ! 

There is no worm however mean, 

That living, is not nobler now 
Than she Lord Alfred's idol queen, 

So loved so worshipped long ago. 

O come away ! The Norman door 

Is silenced with a sudden shine ; 
Come, leave these dreams o'er things of yore, 

And turn to Nature's face divine. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 177 

O'er wood and wold o'er flood and fell, 
O'er flashing lake and gleaming dell, 

The harvest-moon looks down ; 

When Heaven smiles with love and light, 

And earth looks back so dazzling bright 
On such a scene, on such a night 

Earth's children should not frown. 

February 6, 1843. 



178 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



ON THE FALL OF ZALONA 

ALL blue and bright in golden light 
The morn comes marching on, 

And now Zalona's steeples white 
Glow golden in the sun. 

This day might be a festal day ; 

The streets are crowded all, 
And emerald flags stream broad and gay 

From turret, tower and wall. 

And hark ! how music evermore 

Is sounding in the sky ; 
The deep bells boom, the cannon roar, 

The trumpets sound on high. 

The deep bells boom, the deep bells clash, 

Upon the reeling air, 
The cannon with unceasing crash 

Make answer far and near. 

What do these brazen tongues proclaim ? 

What joyous fete begun, 
What offering to our country's fame, 

What noble victory won ? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 179 

Go, ask that solitary sire 

Laid in his house alone ; 
His silent hearth without a fire, 

His sons and daughters gone. 

Go, ask those children in the street 

Beside their mother's door ; 
Waiting to hear the lingering feet 

That they shall hear no more. 

Ask those pale soldiers round the gate 

With famine-kindled eye. 
They say, ' Zalona celebrates 

The day that she must die.' 

The charger by his manger tied 

Has wasted many a day ; 
Yet ere the spur hath touched his side, 

Behold he sinks away ! 

And hungry dogs with wolflike cry 

Unburied corpses tear, 
While their gaunt masters gaze and sigh 

And scarce the feast forbear. 



Now, look down from Zalona's wall ; 

There war the unwearied foe ; 
If ranks beneath the cannon fall, 

New ranks for ever grow. 



i8o POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And many a week, unbroken thus 
Their troops our ramparts hem ; 

And for each man that fights for us 
A hundred fights for them ! 

Courage and right and spotless Truth 
Were pitched 'gainst traitorous crime ; 

We offered all, our age, our youth, 
Our brave men in their prime. 

And all have failed ! the fervent prayers, 

The trust in heavenly aid ; 
Valour and Faith and sealed tears, 

That would not mourn the dead. 

Lips, that did breathe no murmuring 
word ; 

Hearts, that did ne'er complain ; 
Though vengeance held a sheathed sword 

And martyrs bled in vain. 

Alas, alas, the myrtle bowers 
By blighting blasts destroyed ! 

Alas, the lily's withered flowers 
That leave our garden void ! 

Unfolds o'er tower, and waves o'er height, 

A sheet of crimson sheen, 
Is it the setting sun's red light 

That stains our standard green ? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 181 

Heaven help us in this awful hour ! 

For now might Faith decay. 
Now might we doubt God's guardian 
power 

And curse instead of pray. 

He will not even let us die, 

Not let us die at home ; 
The foe must see our soldiers fly 

As they had feared the tomb ! 

Because we dare not stay to gain 
Those longed-for, glorious graves, 

We dare not shrink from slavery's chain 
To leave our children slaves ! 

But when this scene of awful woe 

Has neared its final close, 
As God forsook our armies, so 

May He forsake our foes 1 



February 24, 1843. 



182 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LI 



GRAVE IN THE OCEAN 

WHERE beams the sun the brightest 
In the hours of sweet July ? 

Where falls the snow the lightest 
From bleak December's sky ? 

Where can the weary lay his head, 

And lay it soft the while ; 
In a grave that never shuts its dead 

From heaven's benignant smile ? 

Upon the earth is sunlight ; 

Spring grass grows green and fair ; 
But beneath the earth is midnight 

Eternal midnight there. 

Then why lament that those we love 
Escape earth's dungeon tomb ? 

As if the flowers that blow above 
Could charm its undergloom. 

From morning's faintest dawning 
Till evening's deepest shade, 

Thou wilt not cease thy mourning 
To know where she is laid. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 183 

But if to weep above her grave 

Be such a priceless boon, 
Go, shed thy tears in Ocean's wave 

And they will reach it soon. 

Yet midst thy wild repining, 

Mad though that anguish be, 
Think heaven on her is shining 

Even as it shines on thee. 



With thy mind's vision pierce the deep, 

Look now she rests below, 
And tell me, why such blessed sleep 

Should cause such bitter woe? 



May I, 1843. 



184 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

LII 

A SERENADE 

THY Guardians are asleep, 
So I 'm come to bid thee rise ; 

Thou hast a holy vow to keep, 
Ere yon crescent quit the skies. 

Though clouds careering wide 
Will hardly let her gleam, 

She 's bright enough to be our guide 
Across the mountain stream. 

O waken, dearest, wake ! 

What means this long delay ? 
Say, wilt thou not for true love's sake 

Chase idol fears away ? 

Think not of future grief 

Entailed on present joy ; 
An age of woe were only brief 

Its memory to destroy. 

And neither Hell nor Heaven, 
Though both conspire at last, 

Can take the bliss that has been given, 
Can rob us of the past. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 185 

Then waken, Mary, wake, 

How canst thou linger now ? 
For true love's and for honour's sake 

Arise and keep thy vow. 



May 4, 1843- 



1 86 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LIII 

AT such a time, in such a spot, 
The world seems made of light, 

Our blissful hearts remember not 
How surely follows night. 

I cannot, Alfred, dream of aught, 

That casts a shade of woe ; 
That heaven is reigning in my thought, 
Which wood and wave and earth have caught 

From skies that ever flow. 

That heaven which my sweet lover's brow 

Has won me to adore, 
Which from his blue eyes beaming now 
Reflects a still intenser glow 

Than Native's heaven can pour. 

I know our souls are all divine, 

I know that when we die 
What seems the vilest, even like thine 
A part of God himself shall shine 

In perfect purity. 

But coldly breaks November's day ; 

Its changes, charmless all, 
Unmarked, unloved, they pass away : 
We do not wish one hour to stay 

Nor sigh at evening's fall. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 187 

And glorious is the gladsome rise 

Of June's rejoicing morn ; 
And who with unregretful eyes 
Can watch the lustre leave its skies 

To twilight's shade forlorn ? 

Then art thou not my golden June, 

All mist and tempest free? 
As shines earth's sun in summer noon 

So heaven's sun shines in thee. 

Let others seek its beams divine 

In cell and cloister drear ; 
But I have found a fairer shrine 

And happier worship here. 

By dismal rites they win their bliss, 

By penance, fasts and fears ; 
I have one rite a gentle kiss ; 

One penance tender tears. 

could it thus for ever be, 
That I might so adore ; 

1 'd ask for all eternity, 

To make a paradise for me, 
My love and nothing more. 



July 28, 1843. 



1 88 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

LIV 
RODERIC 

LIE down and rest, the fight is done, 
Thy comrades to the camp retire ; 

Gaze not so earnestly upon 

The far gleam of the beacon fire. 

O list not to the wind-born sounds, 
Of music and of soldiers' cheer ; 

Thou canst not go remember wounds 
Exhaust thy life and hold thee here. 

Had that hand power to raise the sword 
Which since this morn laid many low ; 

Had that tongue strength to speak the word, 
That urged thy followers on the foe ; 

Were that warm blood within thy veins 
Which now upon the earth is flowing, 

Splashing its sod with crimson stains, 

Redding the pale heath round thee growing ; 

Then Roderic, thou mightst still be turning 
With eager eye and anxious breast 

To where those signal lights are burning, 
To where thy war-worn comrades rest. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 189 

But never more look up and see 
The twilight fading from the skies, 

That last dim beam that sets for thee, 
Roderic, for thee shall never rise ! 



December 18, 1843. 



i 9 o POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LV 

TWAS yesterday at early dawn 

I watched the falling snow ; 
A drearier scene on winter morn 

Was never stretched below. 

I could not see the mountains round, 
But I knew by the wind's wild roar, 

How every drift in their glens profound 
Was deepening ever more. 

And then I thought of Ula's bowers, 

Beyond the southern sea, 
Her tropic prairies bright with flowers, 

And rivers wandering free. 

I thought of many a happy day 

Spent in her Eden Isle 
With my dear comrades young and gay, 
All scattered now so far away, 

But not forgot the while ! 

Who, that has breathed that heavenly air, 
To northern climes would come, 

To Gondal's mists and moorlands drear, 
And sleet and frozen gloom ? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 191 

Spring brings the swallow and the lark, 

But what will winter bring? 
Its twilight hours and evenings dark 

To match the gift of spring? 

No, look with me o'er that swollen main ; 

If my spirit's eye can see, 
There are brave ships floating back again 
That no calm southern port can chain 

From Gondal's stormy sea. 

Oh ! how the hearts of voyagers beat 

To feel the frost-wind blow ! 
What follows in Ula's garden sweet 

Is worth one flake of snow. 

The blast which almost rends their sail 

Is welcome as a friend ; 
It brings them home, that thundering gale. 

Home to their journey's end ; 

Home to our souls whose wearying sighs 

Lament their absence drear ; 
And oh, how bright even winter skies 

Would shine if they were here ! 



December 19, 1843. 



N 



192 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 



LVI 

THIS summer wind with thee and me 
Roams in the dawn of day ; 

But thou must be, when it shall be, 
Ere evening far away. 

The farewell's echo from thy soul 

Should not depart before 
Hills rise and distant rivers roll 

Between us evermore. 

I know that I have done thee wrong, 
Have wronged both thee and Heaven ; 

And I may mourn my lifetime long 
And may not be forgiven. 

Repentant tears will vainly fall 

To cover deeds untrue, 
For by no grief can I recall 

The dreary word adieu ! 

Yet thou a future peace shalt win, 

Because thy soul is clear ; 
And I who had the heart to sin 

Will find a heart to bear. 

Till far beyond earth's frenzied strife, 
That makes destruction joy, 

Thy perished faith shall spring to life, 
And my remorse shall die. 

March 2, 1844. 






POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 193 



LVII 

WERE they shepherds, who sat all day 
On that brown mountain's side? 

But neither staff nor dog had they, 
Nor woolly flock to guide. 

They were clothed in savage attire ; 

Their locks were dark and long ; 
And at each belt a weapon dire, 

Like bandit-knife was hung. 

One was a woman tall and fair ; 

A princess she might be 
From her stately form and her features rare, 

And her look of Majesty. 



But, oh ! she had a sullen frown, 

A lip of cruel scorn ; 
As sweet tears never melted down 

Her cheeks since she was born. 

Twas well she had no sceptre to wield, 

No subject land to sway ; 
Fear might have made her vassals yield, 

But love had been far away. 



i 9 4 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Yet love was ever at her feet 
In his most burning mood ; 

That love, which will the wicked greet 
As kindly as the good. 

And he was noble too, who bowed 

So humbly by her side ; 
Entreating, till his eyes o'erflowed, 

Her spirits icy proud. 

* Angelica, from my very birth 

I have been nursed in strife ; 
And lived upon this weary Earth 
A wanderer, all my life. 

* The baited tiger could not be 

So much athirst for gore, 
For men and laws have tortured me, 
Till I can bear no more. 



' The guiltless blood upon my hands 
Will shut me out from heaven, 

And here, and even in foreign lands, 
I cannot find a haven. 

' And in all space and in all clime, 

And through eternity, 
To aid a spirit lost in crime, 

I have no hope but thee. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 195 

* Yet I will swear, no saint on high 

A truer faith could prove ; 
No angel from that holy sky 
Could give thee purer love. 

* For thee thro' never-ending years 

I 'd suffer endless pain ; 
But only give me back my tears, 
Return my love again ! ' 

Many a time, unheeded, thus 

The reckless man would pray ; 
But something woke an answering flush 

On his lady's brow to-day ; 
And her eye flashed flame, as she turned to 

speak 
In concord with her reddening cheek. 

' I 've known a hundred kinds of love ; 

All made the loved one rue ; 
And what is thine that it should prove 

Than other love, more true? 

4 Listen ! I Ve known a burning heart, 

To which my own was given ; 

Nay, not with passion, do not start, 

Our love was love from heaven : 

At least if heavenly love be born 

In the pure light of childhood's morn, 

Long ere the poison-tainted air 

From this world's plague few rises there ; 



196 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

That heart was a tropic sun, 
That kindles all it shines upon ; 
And never Fejian devotee 
Gave worship half so warm as I ; 
And never radiant bow could be 
So welcome in a stormy sky. 

* My soul dwelt with me day and night, 
She was my all-sufficient light ; 
My childhood's mate, my girlhood's guide, 
My only blessing, only Pride. 

' But cursed be the very earth 

That gave that friend her fatal birth ! 

With her own hand she bent the bow, 

That laid my best affections low, 

Then mocked my grief and scorned my 

prayers, 

And drowned my bloom of youth in tears. 
Warnings, reproaches, both were vain ; 
What recked she of another's pain ? 
My dearer self she would not spare ; 
From Honour's voice she turned his ear ; 
First made her love his only stay, 
And then snatched the treacherous prop 

away. 

* Douglas, he pleaded bitterly, 
He pleaded, as you plead to me, 
For lifelong chains, or timeless tomb, 
Or any, but an exile's doom. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 197 

We both were scorned, both sternly driven 
To shelter 'neath a foreign heaven ; 
And darkens o'er that dreary time 
A wildering dream of frenzied crime. 

* I would not now those days recall ; 
The oath within that caverned hall, 
And its fulfilment ; these you know, 
We both together struck the blow ; 
But you can never know the pain 
That my lost heart did then sustain, 
When, severed wide by guiltless gore, 
I felt that one could live no more ! 

Back maddening thought ! the grave is 

deep 

Where my Amedeus lies asleep, 
And I have long forgot to weep. 

4 Now hear me ; in these regions wild 

I saw to-day my enemy. 

Unarmed, as helpless as a child, 

She slumbered on a sunny lea ; 

Two friends ; no other guard had she ; 

And they were wandering on the braes ; 

And chasing, in regardless glee, 

The wild goat o'er his dangerous ways. 

* My hand was raised, my knife was bare ; 
With stealthy tread I stole along, 

But a wild bird sprang from his hidden lair, 
And woke her with a sudden song ; 



igS POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

4 Yet moved she not ; she only raised 
Her lids and on the bright sun gazed, 
And uttered such a dreary sigh ; 
I thought just then she should not die, 
Since misery was such misery. 

* Now Douglas, for our hunted band, 
For future joy and former woe, 
Assist me with thy heart and hand 
To send to hell my mortal foe. 
Her friends fade first, that she may drain 
A deeper cup of bitterer pain ; 
Yonder they stand and watch the waves 
Dash in among the echoing caves. 
Their farewell sight of earth and sea ; 
Come, Douglas, rise and go with me. ' 

The lark sang clearly overhead, 
And sweetly hummed the bee ; 
And softly round their dying bed 
The wind blew from the sea. 

Fair Surry would have raised her eyes 
To see that water shine ; 
To see once more in mountain skies 
The summer sun decline ; 

But ever on her fading cheek 

The languid lid would close, 

As weary that such sight should break 

Its much-desired repose. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 199 

And she was waning fast away 
Even Memory's voice grew dim ; 
Her former life's eventful day 
Had dwindled to a dream ; 

And hardly could her mind recall 
The thought of joy or pain ; 
That cloud was gathering over all 
Which never clears again ; 

In vain in vain you need not gaze 
Upon those features now ! 
That sinking head you need not raise, 
Nor kiss that pulseless brow. 

Let out the grief that shakes your breath ; 
Lord Lesley, let it free ; 
The sternest eye for such a death 
Might fill with sympathy. 

The tresses, o'er her bosom spread, 
Were by a faint breeze blown ; 
* Her heart is beating,' Lesley said, 
'She is not really gone.' 

And still that form he fondly pressed, 

And still of hope he dreamed, 

Nor marked how from his own young 

breast 
Life's crimson current streamed. 



200 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

At last the sunshine left the ground, 
The laden bee flew home, 
The deep-down sea with sudden sound 
Impelled its waves to foam. 

The corse grew heavy on his arm, 
The starry heaven grew dim, 
The summer night so mild and warm 
Felt wintry chill to him. 

A troubled shadow o'er his eye 
Came down, and rested there ; 
The moors and sky went swimming by, 
Confused and strange and drear. 

He faintly prayed, < O Death, delay 
Thy last fell dart to throw, 
Till I can hear my sovereign say 
The traitors' heads are low ! 

* God ! guard her life, since not to me 
That dearest boon was given ; 
God ! bless her sun with victory, 
Or bless not me with heaven ! * 

Then came the cry of agony, 
The pang of parting pain ; 
And he had overpassed the sea, 
That none can pass again. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 201 

Douglas leaned above the well ; 
Heather banks around him rose ; 
Bright and warm the sunshine fell 
On that spot of sweet repose. 

With the blue heaven bending o'er 
And the soft wind singing by, 
And the clear stream evermore 
Mingling harmony. 

On the shady side reclined 

He watched its waters play, 

And sound and sight had well combined 

To banish gloom away. 

A voice spoke near. ' She'll come,' it said, 
And, Douglas ! thou shalt be 
My love, altho' the very dead 
Should rise to rival thee ! 

* Now only let thine arm be true, 
And nerved, like mine, to kill ; 
And Gondal's royal race shall rue 
This day on Elmor Hill ! ! ! ' 

They wait not long, the rustling heath 
Betrays their royal foe ; 
With hurried step and panting breath, 
And cheek almost as white as death, 
Augusta sprang below. 



202 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Yet marked she not where Douglas lay, 
She only saw the well ; 
The tiny fountain, churning spray 
Within its mossy cell. 

4 Oh ! I have wrongs to pay,' she said ; 
' Give life, give vigour now.' 
And stooping by the water's side 
She drank the crystal flow. 

And brightly with that draught came back 
The glory of her matchless eye 
As glancing o'er the moorland track, 
She shook her head impatiently. 

Nor shape nor shade the mountain flocks 
Quietly fed in grassy dells ; 
Nor sound, except the distant rocks 
Echoing to their bells. 

She turns she meets the murderer's gaze ; 

Her own is scorched with a sudden blaze. 

The blood streams down her brow ; 

The blood streams through her coal-black hair, 

She strikes it off with little care ; 

She scarcely feels the flow ; 

For she has marked and known him too, 

And his own heart's ensanguined dew 

Must slake her vengeance now ! 

False friend ! no tongue save thine can tell 
The mortal strife that then befell ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 20; 

But, ere night darkened down 
The stream in silence sang once more 
And on its green bank, bathed in gore, 
Augusta lay alone ! 

False Love ! no earthly eye did see, 
Yet heaven's pure eye regarded thee, 
Where thy own Douglas bled ; 
How thou didst turn in mockery 
From his last hopeless agony, 
And leave the hungry hawk to be 
Sole watcher of the dead ! 

Was it a deadly swoon ? 

Or was her spirit really gone? 

And the cold corse beneath the moon 

Laid like another mass of dust and stone? 

The moon was full that night, 
The sky was almost light like day ; 
You might have seen the pulses play 
Upon her forehead white ; 

You might have seen the dear, dear light of life 
In her uncovered eye ; 

And her cheek changing in the mortal strife 
Betwixt the pain to live and agony to die. 

But nothing mutable was there ! 
The face, all deadly fair, 



204 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Showed a fixed impress of keen suffering past, 

And the raised lids did show 

No wandering gleam below 

But a dark anguish, self-destroyed at last. 



Long he gazed and held his breath, 
Kneeling on the blood-stained heath 
Long he gazed those lids beneath, 
Looking into Death ! 

Not a word from his followers fell ; 
They stood by mute and pale ; 
That black treason uttered well 
Its own heart-harrowing tale. 

But earth was bathed in other gore ; 
There were crimson drops across the moor, 
And Lord Eldred glancing round, 
Saw those tokens on the ground. 

* Bring him back ! ' he hoarsely said ; 

* Wounded is the traitor fled ; 
Vengeance may hold but minutes brief 
And you have all your lives for grief.' 

He is left alone he sees the stars 
Their quiet course continuing : 
And, far away, down Elmor scars 
He hears the stream its waters fling ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 205 

That lulling monotone did sing 
Of broken rock and shaggy glen ; 
Of welcome for the moorcock's wing, 
But not of wail for men ! 

Nothing of heaven or earth to show 

One sign of sympathising woe, 

And nothing but that agony 

In her now unconscious eye, 

To weigh upon the labouring breast 

And prove she did not pass at rest. 

But he who watched in thought had gone, 

Retracing back her lifetime flown ; 

Like sudden ghosts, to memory came 

Full many a face, and many a name, 

Full many a heart, that in the tomb, 

He almost deemed, might have throbbed again 

Had they but known her dreary doom, 

Had they but seen their idol then, 

A wreck of desolate despair, 

Left to the wild birds of the air, 

And mountain winds and rain ! 

For him no tear his stern eye shed 

As he looked down upon the dead. 

' Wild morn,' he thought, ' and doubtful noon ; 

But yet it was a glorious sun, 

Though comet-like its course was run ; 

That sun should never have been given 

To burn and dazzle in the heaven 

Or night has quenched it far too soon ! 



206 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

1 And thou art gone with all thy pride ; 
Thou, so adored, so dignified ! 
Cold as the earth, unweeting now 
Of love, or joy, or mortal woe. 

* For what thou wert I would not grieve, 
But much for what thou wert to be ; 
That life so stormy and so brief, 
That death has wronged us more than thee. 

1 Thy passionate youth was nearly past, 
The opening sea seemed smooth at last ; 
Yet vainly flowed the calmer wave 
Since fate had not decreed to save. 

1 And vain too must the sorrow be 
Of those who live to mourn for thee ; 
But GondaPs foe shall not complain 
That thy dear blood was poured in vain.' 

May 1844. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 207 



LVIII 

ROSINA, this had never been 
Except for you, my dearest queen ! 
Except for you the billowy sea 
Would now be tossing under me. 
The wind's wild voice my bosom thrill 
And my glad heart bound wilder still. 

Flying before the rapid gale, 
Those wondrous southern Isles to hail, 
Which wait for my companions free, 
But thank your passion not for me ! 

You know too well and so do I, 
Your naughty beauty's sovereignty, 
Yet have I read these falcon eyes, 
Have dived into their mysteries, 
Have studied long their glance and feel 
It is not love those eyes reveal. 

They flash, they beam with lightning shine, 
But not with such fond fire as mine ; 
The tender star fades faint and wan 
Before Ambition's scorching sun. 
So deem I now and time will prove 
If I have wronged Rosina's love. 

November II, 1844. 



ao8 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LIX 



I KNOW that to-night the wind it is sighing, 
The soft August wind, over forest and moor ; 
While I in a grave-like chill am lying 
On the damp black flags of my dungeon floor. 

I know that the harvest-moon is shining ; 
She neither will soar nor wane for me ; 
Yet I weary, weary, with vain repining, 
One gleam of her heaven-bright face to see. 

For this constant darkness is wasting the gladness, 
Fast wasting the gladness of life away ; 
It gathers up thoughts akin to madness, 
That never would cloud the world of day. 

I chide with my soul I bid it cherish 
The feelings it lived on when I was free, 
But sighing it murmurs, * Let memory perish, 
Forget, for my friends have forgotten me.' 

Alas ! I did think that they were weeping 
Such tears as I weep it is not so ! 
Their careless young eyes are closed in sleeping ; 
Their brows are unshadowed, undimmed by woe. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 209 

Might I go to their beds, I 'd rouse that slumber, 
My spirit should startle their rest and tell, 
How hour after hour, I wakefully number, 
Deep buried from light in my lonely cell ! 

Yet let them dream on ; tho' dreary dreaming 
Would haunt my pillow if they were here ; 
And / were laid warmly under the gleaming 
Of that guardian moon and her comrade star. 

Better that I my own fate mourning, 
Should pine alone in this prison gloom ; 
Then waken free on the summer morning 
And feel they were suffering this awful doom. 

August 1845. 



210 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LX 



A THOUSAND sounds of happiness 
And only one of real distress, 
One hardly uttered groan ; 
But that has hushed all vocal joy, 
Eclipsed the glory of the sky, 
And made me think that misery 
Rules in our world alone ! 



About his face the sunshine glows, 
And in his hair the south wind blows, 
And violet and wild woodrose 
Are sweetly breathing near ; 
Nothing without suggests dismay, 
If he could force his mind away 
From tracking farther day by day, 
The desert of despair. 

Too truly agonised to weep, 

His eyes are motionless as sleep ; 

His frequent sighs, long-drawn and deep, 

Are anguish to my ear. 

And I would soothe but can I call 

The cold corpse from its funeral pall, 

And cause a gleam of hope to fall 

With my consoling tear? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 211 

O Death ! So many spirits driven 
Through this false world, their all had 

given 

To win the everlasting haven 
For sufferers so divine : 
Why didst thou smite the loved, the blest, 
The ardent, and the happy breast, 
That full of life desired not rest, 
And shrank appalled from thine? 

At least, since thou wilt not restore, 
In mercy launch one arrow more ; 
Life's conscious death it wearies sore, 
It tortures worse than thee. 
Enough if storms have bowed his head, 
Grant him at last a quiet bed 
Beside his early stricken dead ; 
Even where he yearns to be I 

April 22, 1845. 



212 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LXI 



COME walk with me, 
There 's only thee, 

To bless my spirit now. 
We used to love on winter nights 

To wander through the snow. 
Can we not woo back old delights ? 

The clouds rush dark and wild ; 
They fleck with shade our mountains bright 

The same as long ago, 
And on the horizon rest at last 

In looming masses piled ; 
While moonbeams fleet and fly so fast 

We scarce can say they smiled. 

Come walk with me, come walk with me, 

We were not once so few ; 
But death has stolen our company, 

As sunshine steals the dew. 
He took them one by one, and we 

Are left, the only two ; 
So closer would my feelings twine 
Because they have no stay but thine. 

* Nay, call me not ; it may not be ; 

Is human love so true ? 
Can friendship's flower droop for years 

And then revive anew? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 21 

No ; though the soil be wet with tears, 

How fair soe'er it grew ; 
The vital sap once perished 

Will never flow again. 
And surer than that dwelling dread, 
The narrow dungeon of the dead, 

Time parts the heart of men. 



214 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LXII 

I 'M standing in the forest now, 

The place, the hour the same ; 
And here the green leaves shed a glow, 
And there, down in that lake below, 
The tiny ripples flame. 

The breeze sings like a summer breeze 
Should sing in summer skies, 

And heavenlike wide and tentlike trees 
In mingled glory rise. 

The murmur of their boughs and leaves 
Speaks pride as well as bliss, 

And that blue heaven expanding seems 
The circling hills to kiss. 

But where is he to-day, to-day? 

No whisper, not to me ; 
I will not question, only say 

Where may thy lover be ? 

Is he upon some distant shore, 

Or is he on the sea? 
Or is the heart thou dost adore 

A faithless heart to thee ? 

The heart I love and you deride 

Is changeless as the grave, 
And neither foreign lands divide, 

Nor yet the ocean's wave. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 215 

Then why should trouble cloud that brow 

And tears those eyes bedim ? 
Reply this once is it that thou 

Hast faithless been to him ? 



I dreamt one dark and stormy night 
When winter winds were wild . 



2i6 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LXIII 

HINDER me by no delay ! 
My horse is weary of the way, 

And still his breast must stem the tide 
Whose waves are foaming far and wide. 
Leagues off I heard their thundering roar, 
As fast they burst upon the shore ; 
A stronger steed than mine might dread 
To brave them in their boiling bed. 

Thus spoke the traveller, but in vain ; 

The stranger would not turn away, 
Still clung she to his bridle rein 

And still entreated him to stay. 

Here with my knee upon the stone 

1 bid adieu to feelings gone ; 

I leave with thee my tears and pain, 
And rush into the world again. 

O come again ! what chains withhold 
The steps that used so fleet to be ? 

Come, leave thy dwelling dark and cold, 
Once more to visit me. 

Was it with the fields of green, 
Blowing flower and budding tree, 

With the summer heaven serene, 
That thou didst visit me? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 217 

No ; 'twas not the flowery plain : 

No ; 'twas not the fragrant air : 
Summer skies will come again, 

But thou wilt not be there. 



How loud the storm sounds round the hall ! 

From arch to arch, from door to door, 
Pillar and roof and granite wall 

Rock like a cradle in its roar. 

The elm-tree by the haunted well 
Greets no returning summer skies ; 

Down with a rush the giant fell 
And stretched across the path it lies. 

Hardly had passed the funeral train, 
So long delayed by wind and snow ; 

And how they '11 reach the house again 
To-morrow's sun perhaps will show. 

What use is it to slumber here, 

Though the heart be sad and weary ? 

What use is it to slumber here, 

Though the day rise dark and dreary ? 

For that mist may break when the sun is high, 

And this soul forget its sorrow, 
And the rosy ray of the closing day 

May promise a brighter morrow. 



2i8 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

O evening, why is thy light so sad ? 

Why is the sun's last ray so cold ? 
Hush ! our smile is as ever glad, 

But my heart is growing old. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 219 



LXIV 

IT was night, and on the mountains 
Fathoms deep the snowdrifts lay ; 

Streams and waterfalls and fountains 
Down the darkness stole away. 

Long ago the hopeless peasant 
Left his sheep all buried there, 

Sheep that through the summer pleasant 
He had watched with tend'rest care. 

Now no more a cheerful ranger 
Following pathways known of yore 

Sad he stood, a wild-eyed stranger, 
On his own unbounded moor. 



220 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LXV 

AND first an hour of mournful musing, 
And then a gush of bitter tears ; 
And then a dreary calm diffusing 
Its deadly mist o'er joys and cares. 

And then a throb and then a lightening, 
And then a wakening from above ; 
And then a star in heaven brightening 
The star, the glorious star of love. 



Wind, sink to rest in the heather, 
Thy wild voice suits not me ; 
I would have dreary weather, 
But all devoid of thee. 

Sun set from that evening heaven, 
Thy glad smile wins not mine ; 
If light at all is given, 
O give me Cynthia's shine ! 



Long neglect has worn away 
Half the sweet, the haunting smile ; 
Time has turned the bloom to grey, 
Mould and damp the face defile. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 221 

But that lock of silky hair, 
Still beneath the picture twined, 
Tells what once those features were, 
Paints her image on the mind. 

Fair the hand that traced that line, 
' Dearest, ever deem me true ' ; 
Swiftly flew the fingers fine 
When the pen that motto drew. 

Awaking morning laughs from heaven 
On golden summer's forests green, 
And what a gust of song is given 
To welcome in that light serene ! 

A fresh wind waves the clustering roses 
And through the open window sighs 
Around the couch where she reposes, 
The lady with the dovelike eyes ; 

With dovelike eyes and shining hair, 
And velvet cheek so sweetly moulded ; 
And hands so white and soft and fair 
Above her snowy bosom folded. 



Her sister's and her brother's feet 
Are brushing off the scented dew, 
And she springs up in haste to greet 
The grass and flowers and sunshine too. 



222 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LXVI 

HAD there been falsehood in my breast 
No doubt had marr'd my word ; 

This spirit had not lost its rest, 
These tears had never flowed. 

I gazed upon the cloudless moon 
And loved her all the night, 

Till morning came and radiant noon, 
And I forgot her light. 

No, not forgot eternally 

Beneath its mighty glare : 
But could the day seem dark to me 

Because the night was fair? 



July 26, 1843. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 223 



LXVII 

YES, holy be thy resting-place 

Wherever thou mayst lie ; 
The sweetest winds breathe on thy face 

The softest of the sky. 

And will not guardian angels send 
Kind dreams and thoughts of love, 

Though I no more may watchful bend 
Thy loved repose above ? 

And will not heaven itself bestow 

A beam of glory there, 
That summer's grass more green may 
grow, 

And summer's flowers more fair? 

Farewell, farewell ; 'tis hard to part, 

Yet, loved one, it must be : 
I would not rend another heart, 

Not even with blessing thee. 

Go ! we must break affection's chain, 

Forget the hopes of years : 
Nay, grieve not wouldest thou remain 

To waken wilder tears ? 

This heart burns with thee and me, 

Loves it the dreaming day : 
But thou shouldst be where it shall be 

Ere evening, far away, 
p 



UNPUBLISHED POEMS 



These Poems, the copyright of the Editors, have 
never before been printed. 






UNPUBLISHED POEMS 



GODS of the old mythology 

Arise in gloom and storm ; 
Adramalec, bow down thy head, 

Reveal, dark fiend, thy form, 
The giant sons of Anakim 

Bowed lowest at thy shrine, 
And thy temple rose in Argola, 

With its hallowed groves of vine ; 
And there was eastern incense burnt, 

And there were garments spread, 
With the fine gold decked and broidered, 

And tinged with radiant red, 
With the radiant red of furnace flames 

That through the shadows shone 
As the full moon when on Sinai's top 

Her rising light is thrown. 



227 



228 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



ii 

ITS faded buds already lie 
To deck my coffin when I die. 
Bring them here 'twill not be long, 
'Tis the last line of the woeful song ; 
And the final and dying words are sung 
To the discord of lute-strings all unstrung. 

Adrian, do not harshly sweep 

The chords that are quivering to voiceless sleep. 
No ; but I'd string them once more to a sound 
That should startle the nations that rest around. 

1 'd call forth the glorious chorus again 
Which flooded the earth with a bloody main. 
Have I crushed you, Percy ? I 'd raise once more 
The beacon-light on the rocky shore. 

Percy, my love is so true and deep, 

That though kingdoms should wail and worlds 

should weep, 

I 'd fling the brand in the hissing sea, 
The brand that must burn unquenchably. 
Your rose is mine ; when the sweet leaves fade, 
They must be the chaplet to wreathe my head, 
The blossoms to deck my home with the dead. 
I repent not that which my hand has done 
Is as fixed as the orb of the burning sun ; 
But I swear by Heaven and the mighty sea 
That wherever I wander, my heart is with thee. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 229 



in 



BITTERLY, deeply I 've drunk of thy woe ; 
When thy stream was troubled, did mine calmly 

flow? 

And yet I repent not ; I 'd crush thee again 
If our vessels sailed adverse on life's stormy main. 
But listen ! The earth is our campaign of war, 
Her children are rank and her kingdom's spread far. 
Who shall say Hah ! to the mingling star? 
Is there not havoc and carnage for thee 
Unless thou couchest thy lance at me ? 
The heart in my bosom beats high at the thought 
Of the deeds which by blended strength may be 

wrought. 

Then might thy Mary bloom blissfully still, 
This hand should ne'er work her sorrow or ill, 
No fear of grief in her bright eyes should quiver ; 
I 'd love her and guard her for ever and ever. 
What ! shall Zamorna go down to the dead 
With blood on his hand that he wept to have shed ? 
What ! shall they carve on his tomb with the sword 
The slayer of Percy, the scourge of the Lord? 
Bright flashed the fire in the young Duke's eye 
As he spoke in the tones of the trumpet swelling ; 
Then he stood still and watched earnestly 
How these tones were on Percy's spirit telling ; 



230 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Nothing was heard but his quick short breath 
And his fiery heart aroused panting. 
The dark wood lay as hushed as death, 
Nor drum nor murmur its valley haunting ; 
Then the low voice of Percy woke, 
And thus in strange response he spoke. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 231 



IV 

COMPANIONS all day long we 've stood 
The wild winds restless blowing, 

All day we Ve watched the darkened flood 
Around our vessel flowing. 

Sunshine has never smiled since morn, 
And clouds have gathered drear, 

And heavier hearts would feel forlorn 
And weaker minds would fear. 

But look in each young shipmate's eyes 

Lit by the evening flame, 
And see how little stormy skies 

Our joyous blood can tame. 

No face one same expression wears, 

No lip the same soft smile ; 
Yet kindness warms and courage cheers, 

Nerves every breast the while. 

It is the hour of dreaming now, 
With blue and ghostly gleams, 

And sweetest in a reddened glow 
The hour of dreaming seems. 

I may not trace the thoughts of all, 

But some I read so well, 
As I can hear the ocean's fall 

And sudden surging swell. 



232 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The swifter soul is gone before, 

It treads a forest wide, 
Where bowers are bending to the shore 

And gazing on the tide. 

And one is there I know the voice, 
The thrilling, stirring tone, 

That makes his bounding pulse rejoice, 
Yet makes not his alone. 

Mine own hand longs to clasp her hand, 

Mine eye to meet her eye ; 
The white sails win Zorayda's strand, 

And flout against her sky. 

September 17, 1840, E.J. Bronte. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 233 



OH, all the cares these noontide airs 

Might seem to drive away, 
So glad and bright each sight appears, 

Each sound so soft and gay ; 
And through the shade of yonder glade, 

Where thick the leaves are dancing, 
While jewels rare and flow'rets rare 

A hundred plumes are glancing. 
For there the palace portals rise 

Beyond its myrtle grove, 
Catching the whitest, brightest dyes 

From the deep blue dome above. 
But has this little lonely spot, 

No place among its trees, 
By all unknown, by all forgot, 

Save sunshine and the breeze ? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



VI 



THERE 's something in this glorious hour 

That fills the soul with heavenly power, 

And dims our eyes with sudden tears 

That centre all the joys of years. 

For we feel at once that there lingers still, 

Like summer's sunshine o'er a hill, 

A glory round life's pinnacle ; 

And we know, though we be yet below, 

That we may not always linger so, 

For still Ambition beckons on, 

Is this a height that may be won ? 

And Hope still whispers in our ear, 

* Others have been thou mayst be there. ' 



Land of the west ! Thy glorious skies, 

Their dreamy depths of azure blue, 
Their sunlit isles of paradise, 

That float in golden glory through. 
These depths of azure o'er my sight 

Their musing moments seem to expand, 
Revealing all their radiance bright 

In cloud and gorgeous land. 
Land of the west ! thine evening sun 

Brings thousand voiceless thoughts to mind 
Of what I 've said and seen and done 

In years by time long left behind ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 235 

And forms and faces lost for ever 

Seem arising round me now 

As if to bid farewell for ever 

Before my spirit go. 

Oh ! how they gush upon my heart 

And overflow my eyes. 
I must not keep, I cannot part 

With such wild sympathies. 
I know it J s called a sin and shame 

To mourn o'er what I mourn. 

Aware her last hour approaching fast, 
Upon her dying bed she lies ; 
Are her wild dreams of western skies, 
The shallow wrecks of memories 

That glitter through the gloom 
Cast o'er them in the cold decay 
Which signs the sickening soul away 

To meet its early tomb ? 
What pleasant airs upon her face 

With freshening fondness play, 
As they would kiss each transient grace 

Before it fades away ! 
And backward rolled each deep red fold, 
Begilt with tasselled cords of gold, 

The open arch displays ; 
O'er bower and trees that orb divine 
His own unclouded lights decline 

Before her glistening gaze. 



236 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



VII 



SLEEP, mourner, sleep ! I cannot sleep, 
My weary mind still wanders on ; 

Then silent weep J cannot weep, 

For eyes and tears are turned to stone. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 237 



VIII 

O MIGHT my footsteps find a rest ! 

might my eyes with tears run o'er ! 

could the wound but leave my breast 
To lapse in days that are no more ! 

And if I could in silence mourn 
Apart from lying sympathy, 
And man's remarks or sighs or scorn, 

1 should be where I wish to be. 
For nothing nearer paradise 

Ought for a moment to be mine : 

1 've far outlived such real joys 

I could not bear so bright a shine ; 
For I Ve been consecrate to grief 

I should not be if that were gone 
And all my prospect of relief 

On earth would be to grieve alone ! 
To live in sunshine now would be 

To live in every sweetest thought ; 
What I have been and seen below 

Must first be utterly forgot. 
And I can not forget the years 

Gone by as if they 'd never been ; 
Yet if I will remember tears 

Must always dim the dreary scene. 
So there 's no choice. However bright 

May beam the blaze of July's sun, 
' Twill only yield another sight 

Of scenes and times for ever gone. 



238 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

However young and lovely round 

Fair forms may meet my cheerless eye, 
They '11 only hover o'er the ground 

Where fairer forms in darkness lie ; 
And voices tuned to music's thrill, 

And laughter light as marriage strain, 
Will only wake a ghostly chill, 

As if the buried spoke again. 
All all is over, friend or lover 

Cannot awaken gladness here ; 
Though sweep the strings their music 
over, 

No sound will rouse the stirless air. 
I am dying away in dull decay, 

I feel and know the sands are down, 
And evening's latest, lingering ray 

And last from my wild heaven is 

flown. 
Not now I speak of things whose forms 

Are hid by intervening years, 
Not now I fear departed storms 

For bygone griefs and dried-up tears. 
I cannot weep as once I wept 

Over my western beauty's grave, 
Nor wake the word that long has slept 

By Gambier's towers and trees and 

wave. 
I am speaking of a later stroke, 

A death the dream of yesterday ; 
I am thinking of my latest shock, 

A noble friendship torn away. 



\ 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 239 

I feel and say that I am cast 

From hope, and peace, and power, and 

pride 
A withered leaf on Autumn blast ; 

A shattered wreck on ocean's tide, 
Without a voice to speak to you 

Save that deep gong which tolled my 

doom 
And made my dread iniquity 

Look darker than my deepest gloom ; 
Without companion save the light, 

For ever present to my eye, 
Of that tempestuous winter's night 

That saw my angel Mary die. 







2 4 o POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



IX 

How Edenlike seem palace walls 

When youth and beauty join 
To waken up their lighted Halls 

With looks and smiles divine ! 

How free from care the perfumed air 

About them seems to play ! 
How glad and bright appears each sight, 

Each sound how soft and gay ! 

Tis like the heaven which parting days 

In summer's pride imbue 
With beams of such impartial blaze, 

And yet so tender too. 

Oh, memory brings a scene to mind 

Beneath whose noble dome 
Rank, beauty, wealth, and power combine 

To light their lordly home. 

Yet parting day, however bright, 

It still is parting day 
The herald of approaching night, 

The trappings of decay. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 241 



Now but one moment let me stay 

One moment, ere I go 
To join the ranks whose bugles play 

On Eversham's woody brow. 

One calm hour on the brink of life 
Before I dash amid the strife 

That sounds upon my ear ; 
That sullen sound whose sullen roll 
Bursts over many a parting soul 

That deep-mouthed voice of war ! 

Here am I standing lonely 'neath 

The shade of quiet trees, 
That scarce can catch a single breath 

Of this sweet evening breeze. 
And nothing in the twilight sky 
Except its veil of clouds on high, 

All sleeping calm and grey ; 
And nothing on the summer gale 
But the sweet trumpet's solemn wail 

Slow sounding far away. 

That and the strange, uncertain sound 
Scarce heard, yet heard by all ; 

A trembling through the summer ground, 
A murmuring round the wall. 



242 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XI 

RETIREMENT 

O LET me be alone awhile ! 

No human form is nigh ; 
And I may sing and muse aloud, 

No mortal ear is by. 

Away ! ye dreams of earthly bliss, 

Ye earthly cares begone ! 
Depart ! ye restless, wandering thoughts, 

And let me be alone ! 

One hour, my spirit, stretch thy wings 

And quit this joyless sod ; 
Bask in the sunshine of the sky, 

And be alone with God ! 

Sunday, December 13, 1840. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 243 



XII 

DESPONDENCY 

I HAVE gone backward in the work, 

The labour has not sped, 
Drowsy and dark my spirit lies, 

Heavy and dull as lead. 

How can I rouse my sinking soul 

From such a lethargy ? 
How can I break these iron chains, 

And set my spirit free ? 

There have been times when I have mourned, 

In anguish o'er the past ; 
And raised my suppliant hands on high, 

While tears fell thick and fast. 

And prayed to have my sins forgiven, 

With such a fervent zeal, 
An earnest grief a strong desire 

That now I cannot feel ! 

And vowed to trample on my sins, 

And called on Heaven to aid 
My spirit in her firm resolves 

And hear the vows I made. 



244 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And I have felt so full of love, 

So strong in spirit then, 
As if my heart would never cool, 

Or wander back again. 

And yet, alas ! how many times 
My feet have gone astray ; 

How oft have I forgot my God, 
How greatly fallen away ! 

My sins increase, my love grows cold, 
And Hope within me dies, 

And Faith itself is wavering now ; 
O how shall I arise ! 

I cannot weep, but I can pray, 
Then let me not despair ; 

Lord Jesus, save me lest I die, 
And hear a wretch's prayer. 

December 20, 1841. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 245 



XIII 

IN MEMORY OF 
A HAPPY DAY IN FEBRUARY 

BLESSED be Thou for all the joy 
My soul has felt to-day ! 

let its memory stay with me 
And never pass away ! 

1 was alone, for those I loved 

Were far away from me ; 
The sun shone on the withered grass, 
The wind blew fresh and free. 

Was it the smile of early spring 
That made my bosom glow ? 

'Twas sweet, but neither sun nor wind 
Could raise my spirit so. 

Was it some feeling of delight, 

All vague and undefined ? 
No, 'twas a rapture deep and strong. 

Expanding in my mind I 

Was it a sanguine view of life 
And all its transient bliss 

A hope of bright prosperity ? 
O no, it was not this ! 



246 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

It was a glimpse of truths divine 

Unto my spirit given, 
Illumined by a ray of light 

That shone direct from Heaven ! 



I knew there was a God on high 
By whom all things were made ; 

I saw His wisdom and His power 
In all His works displayed. 

But most throughout the moral world 

I saw His glory shine ; 
I saw His wisdom infinite, 

His mercy all divine. 

Deep secrets of His Providence 
In darkness long concealed, 

Were brought to my delighted eyes 
And graciously revealed. 

And while I wondered and adored 

His wisdom so divine, 
I did not tremble at His power 

I felt that God was mine. 

I knew that my Redeemer lived, 

I did not fear to die ; 
I felt that I should rise again 

To immortality. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 247 

I longed to view that bliss divine 
Which eye hath never seen, 

To see the glories of His face 
Without the veil between. 

Begun in Februaryfinished November 10, 1842. 



248 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

XIV 

A PRAYER 

MY God ! O let me call Thee mine ! 

Weak, wretched sinner though I be, 
My trembling soul would fain be Thine, 

My feeble faith still clings to Thee. 

Not only for the past I grieve, 
The future fills me with dismay ; 

Unless Thou hasten to relieve, 
I know my heart will fall away. 

I cannot say my faith is strong, 
I have not hope my love is great ; 

But strength and love to Thee belong : 
O do not leave me desolate ! 

I know I owe my all to Thee ; 

O take the heart I cannot give ; 
Do Thou my Strength, my Saviour be, 

And make me to Thy glory live ! 

October 13, 1844. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 249 



xv 
CONFIDENCE 

OPPRESSED with sin and woe, 

A burdened heart I bear, 
Opposed by many a mighty foe ; 

But I will not despair. 

With this polluted heart, 

I dare to come to Thee, 
Holy and mighty as Thou art ; 

For Thou wilt pardon me. 

I feel that I am weak, 

And prone to every sin ; 
But Thou who giv'st to those who seek, 

Wilt give me strength within. 

Far as this earth may be 

From yonder starry skies, 
Remoter still am I from Thee j 

Yet Thou wilt not despise. 

I need not fear my foes, 

I need not yield to care, 
I need not sink beneath my woes ; 

For Thou wilt answer prayer. 



250 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

In my Redeemer's name 
I give myself to Thee ; 

And all unworthy as I am, 
My God will cherish me. 

O make me wholly Thine ! 

Thy love to me impart, 
And let Thy holy Spirit shine 

For ever on my heart ! 

June I, 1845. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 251 



XVI 

THERE let thy bleeding branch atone 

For every torturing tear. 
Shall my young sins, my sins alone, 

Be everlasting here ? 

Who bade thee keep that carved name 

A pledge for memory ? 
As if oblivion ever came 

To breathe its bliss on me ; 

As if through all the 'wildering maze 

Of mad hours left behind 
I once forgot the early days 

That thou wouldst call to mind. 



252 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XVII 

I AM the only being whose doom 

No tongue would ask, no eye would mourn ; 
I've never caused a thought of gloom, 

A smile of joy, since I was born. 

In secret pleasure, secret tears, 
This changeful life has slipped away, 

As friendless after eighteen years, 
As lone as on my natal day. 

There have been times I cannot hide, 

There have been times when this was drear, 

When my sad soul forgot its pride 
And longed for one to love me here. 

But those were in the early glow 
Of feelings that subdued by care, 

And they have died so long ago, 
I hardly now believe they were. 

First melted off the hope of youth, 
Then fancy's rainbow fast withdrew ; 

And then experience told me truth 
In mortal bosoms never grew. 

'Twas grief enough to think mankind 

All hollow, servile, insincere ; 
But worse to trust to my own mind 

And find the same Corruption there. 

May 17, 1839. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 253 



XVIII 



'Tis moonlight, summer moonlight, 
All soft, and still, and fair ; 

The silent time of midnight 
Shines sweetly everywhere. 

But most where trees are sending 
Their breezy boughs on high, 

Or stooping low are lending 
A shelter from the sky. 

And there in those wild bowers 

A lovely form is laid, 
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers 

Wave gently round her head. 



May 13, 1840. 



254 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XIX 

A SUDDEN chasm of ghastly light 

Yawned in the city's reeling wall, 
And a long thundering through the night 

Proclaimed our triumph Tyrdarum's fall. 

The shrieking wind sank mute and mild, 
The smothering snow-clouds rolled away ; 

And cold how cold ! wan moonlight smiled 
Where those black ruins smouldering lay. 

'Twas over all the battle's madness, 
The bursting fires, the cannon's roar, 

The yells, the groans, the frenzied gladness, 
The death the danger warmed no more. 

In plundered churches piled with dead 
The heavy charger neighed for food, 

The wounded soldier laid his head 

'Neath roofless chambers splashed with blood. 

I could not sleep through that wild siege, 
My heart had fiercely burned and bounded ; 

The outward tumult seemed to assuage 
The inward tempest it surrounded. 

But dreams like this I cannot bear, 
And silence whets the fang of pain ; 

I felt the full flood of despair 
Returning to my breast again. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 255 

My couch lay in a ruined Hall, 

Whose windows looked on the minster-yard, 
Where chill, chill whiteness covered all, 

Both stone and urn and withered sward. 



The shattered glass let in the air 

And with it came a wandering moan, 

A sound unutterably drear, 

That made me shrink to be alone. 

One black yew-tree grew just below 
I thought its boughs so sad might wail ; 

Their ghostly fingers flecked with snow, 
Rattled against an old vault's rail. 

I listened no ; 'twas life that still 
Lingered in some deserted heart : 

God ! what caused the shuddering shrill, 
That anguished, agonising start ? 

An undefined, an awful dream, 
A dream of what had been before j 

A memory whose blighting beam 
Was flitting o'er me evermore. 

A frightful feeling frenzy born 
I hurried down the dark oak stair ; 

1 reached the door whose hinges torn 
Flung streaks of moonshine here and there. 



256 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

I pondered not, I drew the bar, 
An icy glory caught mine eye, 

From that wide heaven where every star 
Stared like a dying memory. 

And there the great Cathedral rose, 
Discrowned but most majestic so, 

It looked down in serene repose 
On its own realm of buried woe. 

Tis evening now, the sun decends 
In golden glory down the sky ; 

The city's murmur softly blends 
With zephyrs breathing gently by. 

And yet it seems a dreary moor, 
A dark, October moor to me ; 

And black the piles of rain-clouds lour 
Athwart heaven's stormy canopy. 

October 14, 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 257 



xx 
AT CASTLE WOOD 

THE day is done, the winter sun 

Is setting in its sullen sky, 
And drear the course that has been run, 

And dim the hearts that slowly die. 

No star will light my coming night, 
No morn of hope for me will shine ; 

I mourn not Heaven would blast my sight 
And I never longed for joys divine. 

Through life's hard task I did not ask 

Celestial aid, celestial cheer ; 
I saw my fate without its mask, 

And met it too without a tear. 

The grief that prest my aching breast 
Was heavier far than earth can be ; 

And who would dread eternal rest 
When labour's hour was agony? 

Dark falls the fear of this despair 
On spirits born of happiness ; 

But I was bred the mate of care, 
The foster-child of sore distress. 



258 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

No sighs for me, no sympathy, 
No wish to keep my soul below ; 

The heart is dead in infancy, 
Unwept for let the body go. 

February 2, 1844. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 259 



XXI 

ON its bending stalk a bonny flower 

In a yeoman's home-close grew ; 
It had gathered beauty from sunshine and shower, 

From moonlight and silent dew, 
Till the tufted leaves of the garden bower 

Like a star it sparkled through. 

It was a little budding rose, 

Round like a fairy globe, 
And shyly did its leaves unclose 

Hid in their mossy robe, 
But sweet was the slight and spicy smell 
It breathed from its heart invisible. 

Keenly his flower the yeoman guarded, 
He watched it grow both day and night ; 

From the frost, from the wind, from the storm 

he warded 
That flush of roseate light, 

And ever it glistened bonnilie 

Under the shade of the old roof-tree. 

The morning sunshine had called him forth, 

His garden was full of dew, 
And green light slept on the happy earth, 

And the sky was calm and blue. 
The yeoman looked for his lovely flower ; 
There were leaves, but no buds, in the sheltering 
bower. 



260 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The rose was borne to another land, 

And grew in another bed ; 
It was cultured by another hand, 

And it sprung and flourished ; 
And fair it budded day by day 
Beneath a new sun's cheering ray. 

But long lies the dew on its crimson leaves, 

It almost looks like tears ; 
The flower for the yeoman's home-close grieves 

Amid a King's parterres. 
Little moss-rose, cease to weep, 
Let regret and sorrow sleep. 

The rose is blasted, withered, blighted, 

Its root has felt a worm, 
And like a heart beloved and slighted, 

Failed, faded, shrunk its form. 
Bud of beauty, bonnie flower, 
I stole thee from thy natal bower. 

I was the worm that withered thee, 

Thy tears of dew all fell for me ; 
Leaf and stalk and rose are gone, 

Exile earth they died upon. 
Yes, that last breath of balmy scent 
With alien breezes sadly blent. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 261 



XXII 

AND like myself lone, wholly lone, 
It sees the day's long sunshine glow ; 

And like myself it makes its moan 
In unexhausted woe. 

Give we the hills our equal prayer, 

Earth's breezy hills and heaven's blue sea ; 

I ask for nothing further here 
But my own heart and liberty. 

Ah ! could my hand unlock its chain, 
How gladly would I with it soar ; 

And ne'er regret and ne'er complain 
To see its shining eyes no more. 

But let me think, that if to-day 

It pines in cold captivity, 
To-morrow both shall soar away, 

Eternally, entirely free. 

Methinks this heart should rest awhile, 
So stilly round the evening falls ; 

The veiled sun shone no parting smile, 
Nor mirth, nor music wakes my halls. 

I have sat lonely all the day, 

Watching the drizzly mist descend, 

And first conceal the hills in grey, 
And then along the valleys wend. 



262 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And I have sat and watched the trees, 

And the sad flowers, how drear they blew ; 

Those flowers were formed to feel the breeze 
Wave their light heads in summer's glow. 

Yet their lives passed in gloomy woe, 
And hopeless comes its dark decline, 

And I lament because I know 

That cold departure pictures mine. 

February 27, 1841. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 263 



XXIII 

TO THE HORSE BLACK EAGLE 

WHICH I RODE AT THE BATTLE OF ZAMORNA 

SWART steed of night, thou hast charged thy last 

O'er the red war-trampled plain ; 
Now fall'n asleep is the battle blast, 

It is stilled above the slain. 

Now hushed is the clang of armour bright ; 

Thou wilt never bear me more 
To the deadliest press of the gathering fight 

Through seas of noble gore. 

And the cold eyes of midnight skies 

Shall not pour their light on thee, 
When the wearied host of the conqueror lies 

On a field of victory. 

Rest now in thy glory, noble steed ; 

Rest ! all thy wars are done ; 
True is the love and high the meed 

Thou from thy lord hast won. 

In daisied lawns sleep peacefully, 

Dwell by the quiet wave, 
Till death shall sound his signal cry, 

And call thee to thy grave. 



264 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXIV 

ALL her tresses backward strayed 

Look golden in the gleam, 
But her wan lips and sunken cheek 
And full eyes eloquently speak 

Of sorrows gathering near, 
Till those dark orbs o'erflowing fast 
Are shadowed by her hand at last 

To hide the streaming tear. 

Oh ! say not that her vivid dreams 

Are but the shattered glass 
Which but because more broken gleams 

Move brightly in the grass. 
Her spirit is the unfathomed lake 
Whose face the sudden tempests break 

To one tormented roar ; 
But as the wild winds sink in peace 
All those disturbed waves decrease 
Till each far-down reflection is 

As lifelike as before. 

She thought when that confession crossed 

Upon her dying mind, 
'Twas sense and soul and memory lost, 

Though feeling burned behind. 
But that bright heaven has touched a chord 
And that wide west has waked a word 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 265 

Can still the spirit's storm ; 
Till all the griefs that brought her here, 
Each gushing with a bitterer tear, 
Round her returning sight appear 

In more tremendous form. 

In glimpses of a spirit shore 

The strength of eyesight to restore 

Which coming death denied ; 
That while the world was lost to her 
Her soul might rove a wanderer 

Through visional wonders wide. 

And strange it is how oft in death, 

When reason leaves the brain, 
What sudden power the fancy hath 

To seize the falling rein. 
It cannot hold a firm control, 
But it can guide the parting soul, 

Half leading and half led, 
Through dreams where startling imagery 
Hide with their feigned reality 

The tossed and fevered bed. 

It seems as to the bleeding heart 

With dying torments riven 
A quickened life in every part 

By fancy's force was given. 
And all these dim, disjointed dreams 
Wherewith the failing memory beams 



266 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Are but the bright reflection 
Flashed upward from the scattered glass 
Of mirror broken on the grass, 
Which shapeless figures on each piece 

Reveals without connection. 

And is her mirror broke at last 
Who motionless is laid . . . 



1 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 267 



XXV 

THE wind was rough which tore 
That leaf from its parent tree ; 

The fate was cruel which bore 
The withering corpse to me. 

We wander and we have no rest, 

It is a dreary way. 

What shadow is it 

That ever hovers before my eyes ? 

It has a brow of ghostly whiteness. 



November 23, 1839. 



268 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXVI 

His land may burst the galling chain, 

His people may be free again, 

For them a thousand hopes remain, 

But hope is dead for him. 
Soft falls the moonlight on the sea 
Whose wild waves play at liberty, 
And Gondal's wind sings solemnly 

Its hollow midnight hymn. 

Around his prison walls it sings, 

His heart is stirred through all its strings, 

Because that sound remembrance brings 

Of scenes that once have been. 
His soul has felt the storm below, 
And walked a realm of sunless snow, 
Dire region of most mighty woe, 

Made voiceless by despair. 

And Harold's land may burst its chain, 
His subjects may be free again, 
For them a thousand hopes remain, 

But hope is dead for him. 
Set is his sun of liberty ; 
Fixed is his earthly destiny ; 
A few years of captivity, 

And then a captive's tomb. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 269 



XXVII 

START not ! upon the minster wall 
Sunshine is shed in holy calm, 

And lonely though my footsteps fall, 
The saints shall shelter thee from harm. 

Shrink not if it be summer noon, 

This shadow should night's welcome be ; 

These stairs are steep, but landed soon 
We '11 rest us long and quietly. 

What though our path be o'er the dead, 
They slumber soundly in the tomb ; 

And why should mortals fear to tread 
The pathway to their future home? 



270 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXVIII 

REDBREAST, early in the morning, 

Dark and cold and cloudy grey, 
Wildly tender is thy music, 

Chasing angry thought away. 

My heart is not enraptured now, 

My eyes are full of tears, 
And constant sorrow on my brow 

Has done the work of years. 

It was not hope that wrecked at once 

The spirit's calm in storm, 
But a long life of solitude, 
Hopes quenched, and rising thoughts subdued, 

A bleak November's calm. 

What woke it then ? A little child 
Strayed from its father's cottage door, 

And in the hour of moonlight wild 
Laid lonely on the desert moor. 

I heard it then, you heard it too, 
And seraph sweet it sang to you ; 
But like the shriek of misery 
That wild, wild music wailed to me. 

February 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 271 



XXIX 

THROUGH the hours of yesternight 
Hall and gallery blazed with light, 
Every lamp its lustre showered 
On the adorer and the adored. 
None were sad that entered there, 
All were loved and all were fair ; 
Some were dazzling like the sun ; 
Some shining down at summer noon. 
Some were sweet as amber even, 
Living in the depth of Heaven ; 
Some were soft, and kind, and gay, 
Morning's face not more divine ; 
Some were like Diana's day, 
Midnight moonlight's holy shrine. 



272 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXX 

DARKNESS was overtraced on every face, 
Around clouded with storm and ominous gloom ; 

In hut or hall smiled out no resting-place ; 
There was no resting-place but one the tomb ! 

All our hearths were the mansions of distress, 
And no one laughed, and none seemed free from 
care ; 

Our children felt their fathers' wretchedness ; 
Our homes, one, all were shadowed with despair : 

It was not fear that made the land so sad. 

May 1838. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 273 



XXXI 

HARP of wild and dream-like strain, 
When I touch thy strings, 

Why dost thou repeat again 
Long-forgotten things? 

Harp, in other earlier days 

I could sing to thee, 
And not one of all my lays 

Vexed my memory. 

But now if I awake a note 
That gave me joy before, 

Sounds of sorrow from thee float, 
Changing evermore. 

Yet still steeped in memory's dyes 

They come sailing on, 
Darkening all my summer skies, 

Shutting out my sun. 



274 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXXII 

THE old church tower and garden wall 
Are black with autumn rain, 

And dreary winds foreboding call 
The darkness down again. 

I watched how evening took the place 
Of glad and glorious day ; 

I watched a deeper gloom efface 
The evening's lingering ray ; 

And as I gazed on the cheerless sky, 
Sad thoughts rose in my mind. 

October 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 275 



XXXIII 

THERE swept adown that dreary glen 
A wider sound than mountain wind 

The thrilling shouts of fighting men, 
With something sadder far behind. 

The thrilling shouts they died away 
Before the night came greyly down, 

But closed not with the closing day 
The choking sob, the tortured moan. 

Down in a hollow sunk in shade, 
Where dark forms waved in secret gloom, 

A ruined, bleeding form was laid, 
Waiting the death that was to come. 

November 1838. 



276 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



xxxiv 



IN dungeons dark I cannot sing, 
In sorrow's thrall 'tis hard to smile ; 

What bird can soar with broken wing? 
What heart can bleed and joy the while? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 277 



XXXV 

WHEN days of beauty deck the vale, 
Or stormy nights descend, 

How well my spirit knows the path 
On which it ought to wend. 

It seeks the consecrated spot 
Beloved in childhood's years ; 

The space between is all forgot, 
Its sufferings and its tears. 



278 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



xxxvi 

STILL beside that dreary water 

Stood beneath the cold moon's ray, 

Thinking on the deed of slaughter 
On his heart that darkly lay. 

Soft the voice that broke his dreaming, 
Stealing through the silent air, 

Yet before the raven's screaming, 
He had heard regardless there. 

Once his name was sweetly uttered, 

Then the echo died away ; 
But each pulse in horror fluttered, 

As the life would pass away. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 279 



XXXVII 

THE evening sun was sinking down 
On low green hills and clustered trees ; 

It was a scene as fair and lone 
As ever felt the soothing breeze 

That cools the grass when day is gone, 
And gives the waves a brighter blue, 

And marks the soft white clouds sail on 
Like spirits of ethereal dew ; 

Which all the morn had hovered o'er 
The azure flowers where they were nursed, 

And now return to Heaven once more, 
Where their bright glories shone at first. 

September 23, 1836. 



2 8o POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XXXVIII 

FALL, leaves, fall ; die, flowers, away ; 
Lengthen night and shorten day ; 
Every leaf speaks bliss to me, 
Fluttering from the autumn tree. 
I shall smile when wreaths of snow 
Blossom where the rose should grow ; 
I shall sing when night's decay 
Ushers in a drearier day. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 281 



XXXIX 



LOUD without the wind was roaring 
Through the wan autumnal sky ; 

Drenching wet the cold rain pouring, 
Spoke of stormy winter nigh. 

All too like that dreary eve 
Sighed without repining grief, 
Sighed at first, but sighed not long ; 

Sweet, how softly sweet it came 
Wild words of an ancient song, 

Undefined, without a name. 



November iSj6. 



282 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XL 



ALL day I Ve toiled, but not with pain, 

In learning's golden wine ; 
And now at eventide again 

The moonbeams softly shine. 

There is no snow upon the ground, 

No frost on wind or wave ; 
The south wind blew with gentlest sound 

And broke their icy grave. 

'Tis sweet to wander here at night, 

To watch the winter die, 
With heart as summer sunshine light 

And warm as summer sky. 

O may I never lose the peace 

That lulls me gently now, 
Though time should change my youthful face, 

And years should shade my brow I 

True to myself, and true to all, 

May I be healthful still, 
And turn away from passion's call, 

And curb my own wild will. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 28; 



XLI 

THERE was a time when my cheek burned 
To give such scornful words the lie, 

Ungoverned nature madly spurned 
The law that bade it not defy. 

Oh, in the days of ardent youth 

I would have given my life for truth. 

For truth, for right, for liberty, 
I would have gladly, freely died ; 

And now I calmly bear and see 

The vain man smile, the fool deride, 

Though not because my heart is tame, 

Though not for fear, though not for shame. 

My soul still chokes at every tone 
Of selfish and self-clouded error ; 

My breast still braves the world alone, 
Steeled as it ever was to terror. 

Only I know, howe'er I frown, 

The same world will go rolling on. 

October 1839. 



284 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XLFf 

MILD the mist upon the hill, 
Telling not of storms to-morrow ; 

No, the day has wept its fill, 
Spent its store of silent sorrow. 

Oh, I 'm gone back to the days of youth, 

I am a child once more, 
And 'neath my father's sheltering roof 

And near the old hall door, 

I watch this cloudy evening fall, 

After a day of rain; 
Blue mists, sweet mists of summer pall 

The horizon's mountain chain. 

The damp stands in the long, green grass 
As thick as morning's tears ; 

And dreamy scents of fragrance pass 
That breathe of other years. 

Tuly 27, 1839. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 285 



XLIII 

THE starry night shall tidings bring, 

Go out upon the breezy moor ; 
Watch for a bird with sable wing, 

And beak and talons dropping gore. 

Look not around, look not beneath, 

But mutely trace its airy way, 
Mark where it lights upon the heath ; 

Then, wanderer, kneel thee down, and pray. 

What fortune may await thee there, 

I will not, and I dare not tell ; 
But Heaven is moved by fervent prayer, 

And God is mercy fare thee well ! 

It is not pride, it is not shame, 

That makes her leave the gorgeous hall ; 
And though neglect her heart might tame, 

She mourns not for her sudden fall. 

'Tis true she stands among the crowd, 
An unmarked and an unloved child, 

While each young comrade, blithe and proud, 
Glides through the maze of pleasure wild. 

And all do homage to their will, 

And all seem glad their voice to hear ; 

She heeds not that, but hardly still 
Her eye can hold the quivering tear. 



286 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

What made her weep, what made her glide 
Out to the park this dreary day, 

And cast her jewelled chains aside, 
And seek a rough and lonely way ; 

And down beneath a cedar's shade, 
On the wet grass regardless lie, 

With nothing but its gloomy head 
Between her and the showering sky? 

I saw her stand in the gallery long, 
Watching those little children there, 

As they were playing the pillars among 
And bounding down the marble stair. 

August 13, 1839. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 287 



XLIV 

THE organ swells, the trumpets sound, 

The lamps in triumph glow, 
And none of all those thousand round 

Regard who sleeps below. 

Those haughty eyes that tears should fill 

Glance clearly, cloudlessly ; 
Those bounding breasts that grief should thrill 

From thought of grief are free. 

His subjects and his soldiers there 

They blessed his rising bloom, 
But none a single sigh can spare 

To breathe above his tomb. 

Comrades in arms, I 've looked to mark 

One shade of feeling swell, 
As your feet stood above the dark 

Recesses of his cell. 

September 30, 1837. 



288 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



XLV 

WHAT winter floods, what streams of spring 
Have drenched the grass by night and day, 

And yet beneath that speeding ring 
Unmoved and undiscovered lay. 

Mute remembrancer of crime, 
Long lost, concealed, forgot for years, 

It comes at last to cancel time, 
And waken unavailing tears. 

March 27, 1832. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 289 



XLVI 

NONE of my kindred now can tell 
The features once beloved so well. 
Those dark brown locks that used to deck 
A snowy brow in ringlets small, 
Now wildly shade my sunburnt neck, 
And streaming down my shoulders fall. 

The pure, bright red of noble birth 
Has deepened to a gipsy glow, 
And care is quenched the smile of mirth, 
And tuned my heart to welcome woe. 

Yet you must know in infancy 
Full many an eye watched over me, 
Sweet voices to my slumber sung, 
My downy couch with silk was hung. 

And music soothed me when I cried, 
And when I laughed they all replied ; 
And ' rosy Blanche,' how oft was heard 
In hall and bower that well-known word. 

Through gathering summers still caress'd, 
In kingly courts a favourite guest, 
A Monarch's hand would pour for me 
The richest gifts of royalty. 



290 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

But clouds will come : too soon they came ; 
For not through age, and not through crime, 
Is Blanche a now forgotten name ; 
True heart and brow unmarked by time, 
These treasured blessings still are mine. 

June 1838. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 291 



XLVII 

LADYBIRD ! ladybird ! fly away home, 
Night is approaching, and sunset is come ; 
The Herons are flown to their trees by the Hall ; 
Felt, but unseen, the damp dewdrops fall. 
This is the close of a still summer day ; 
Ladybird ! ladybird ! haste ! fly away ! 

The grand old Hall is wrapped in shade, 
The woodland park around it spread, 
In gathering gloom in every glade, 
This is the moment, this the hour, 
To feel romance in all her power. 
Is there not something in a name? 
In noble blood, and ancient fame, 
Something in that ancestral pride 
Which brings the memory of the dead 
Sailing adown times hoary tide, 
With sacred halos round it shed ? 
Halos ! O far too bright to shine 
Round ought whose home is still below, 
The starlight thoughts, the dreams divine, 
From man's creative soul that flow, 
And stream upon the Idols bright 
He forms through all his earthly way, 
As if grown weary of the light 
That smiles upon his own dull clay, 



292 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

That clay he feels will not for ever 
'Cumber the spirit that would soar 
To that deep and swelling river 
Which bears the life tree on its shore ; 
And he the hour would still foresee 
That sets his inward angel free. 

This Hall and park might wake such dreams, 
They speak of pride, of ancestry ; 

Yes ! every fading ray which gleams 
On antique roof and hoary tree, 

Shows in gnarled bough and mossy slate 

The grand remains of ancient state. 

And thinks he of Patrician pride, 

He who sits lonely there, 
Where oaks and elms spread dark and wide 

Their huge arms in the air? 

He wanders in the world of thought, 

He 's left this world behind ; 
On that high brow are clearly wrought 

A thousand dreams of mind. 

And are they dreams of bliss or bale, 

Of happiness or woe? 
Methinks that face is all too pale 

For pleasure's rosy glow. 

Methinks the mellowing haze of years 

Is over that tall form spread, 
And time has poured her smiles and tears 

Full freely round that head. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 293 

He must have once been beautiful, 

The relics still remain ; 
Though wasted sore with sorrow, 

And darkened much with pain. 

At morn he sought this lone retreat, 
When the sun first crowned the hill, 

And now the twilight calm and sweet 
Beholds him lingering still. 

Yet not to reveries of woe 
Clings Percy's wounded spirit so : 
Scarce bound by its worn chains of clay, 
The soul has almost soared away. 
Lightened and soothed insensibly 
By the lone home of wind and tree, 
Where now his mental broodings dwell, 
Vainly would man divine or tell. 
His upward look, his earnest eyes, 
Seem gazing e'en beyond the skies. 
Who calls him back to earth again, 
Will bring a wild revulse of pain. 

And so thought he who glided now, 
With step as light as falling snow, 
Forth from the bowery arch of trees, 
That whispered in the gloaming breeze. 
That step he might have used before 
When stealing on to lady's bower, 
Forth at the same still twilight hour, 
For the moon now beaming mild above 
Showed him a son of war and love. 



294 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

His eye was full of that sinful fire 

Which oft unhallowed passions light. 

It spoke of quickly kindled ire, 

Of love too warm, and wild, and bright. 

Bright, but yet sullied, love which could never 

Bring good in rising, leave peace in decline, 
Woe to the gifted, crime to the giver, 

Wherever reposed all the light of its shine. 
Beauty had lavished her treasures upon him, 

Youth's early sunshine was poured on his 

brow : 

Alas ! that the magic of sin should have won 
him ; 

But he is her slave, and her chained victim 
now. 



Now from his curled and shining hair, 
Circling the brow of marble fair, 
His dark, keen eyes on Percy gaze 
With stern, and yet repenting rays. 
Sometimes they shimmer through the haze 

Of sadly gushing tears, 
And then a sudden flash of flame, 
Speaking wild feelings none could tame, 

The dim suffusion clears. 



Young savage ! how he bends above 
The object of his wrath and love, 
How tenderly his fingers press 
The hand that shrinks from their caress, 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 295 

And from his lips in Percy's ear 
Flow tones his blood congeals to hear. 
Those tones were softer than the moan 
Of echo when the sound is flown, 
And sweeter than a flute's reply 
To skylark's song, or wild wind's sigh. 
Yet Percy heard them as they fell, 
Like the dull toll of a passing bell. 
Sternly they summoned him back again 
To a dark world of woe and pain. 
The blood from his visage fell away 
And left it as pallid as coffined clay. 
Like clouds the charmed visions broke, 
From his daylong dream at once he woke ; 
He woke to feel and see at his side 

The very man who dared to roll 
This dark unsounded briny tide 

Over the Eden of his soul ; 
Who dared to pluck his last fair flower, 

To quench his last star's cheering beam, 
The last sweet drop of bliss to sour 

That mingled with his being's stream. 
Up rose he, and stretched forth his hand, 
In mingled menace and command ; 
With voice subdued and steady look, 
Thus to the man of sin he spoke : 
'What brought you hear? I called you 

not ; 

You 've tracked me to a lonely spot. 
Are you a hawk to follow the prey, 
When mangled it flutters feebly away ? 



296 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

A sleuthhound to track the deer by his blood, 
When wounded he wins to the darkest wood, 
There if he can to die alone ? ' 

Unsought by the archer whose shaft has flown 
So right and true to its living mark 
That it quenches e'en now the vital spark, 
Zamorna is this nobly done, 

To triumph o'er your Consort's sire, 
Gladly to see his gory sun 

Quench in the sea of tears its fire? 
But haply you have news to tell, 
Tidings that yet may cheer me well ; 
You 've crushed at last my rose's bloom, 
And scattered its leaves on her mother's tomb. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 297 



XLVIII 

I 'VE been wandering in the greenwoods, 
And 'mid flowery, smiling plains ; 

I 've been listening to the dark floods, 
To the thrush's thrilling strains. 

I have gathered the pale primrose, 
And the purple violet sweet ; 

I Ve been where the asphodel grows, 
And where lives the red deer fleet. 

I Ve been to the distant mountain, 

To the silver singing rill, 
By the crystal murm'ring fountain, 

And the shady, verdant hill. 

I Ve been where the poplars springing 
From the fair enamelled ground, 

While the nightingale is singing 
With a solemn, plaintive sound. 

December 14, 1839. 



298 POEMS OF EMILY BROXTE 



XLIX 

MAY flowers are opening, 
And leaves unfolding free ; 

There are bees in every blossom, 
And birds on every tree. 

The sun is gladly shining, 
The stream sings merrily ; 

And lonely I am pining, 
And all is dark to me. 

cold, cold is my heart ! 
It will not, cannot rise ; 

It feels no sympathy 
With those refulgent skies. 

Dead, dead is my joy, 
I long to be at rest ; 

1 wish the damp earth covered 
This desolated breast 

If I were quite alone, 
It might not be so drear, 

When all hope was gone ; 
At least I could not fear. 

But the glad eyes around me 
Must weep as mine have done, 

And I must see the final gloom 
Eclipse their morning sun. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 299 

If heaven would rain on me 

That future storm of care, 
So their fond hearts were free, 

I 'd be content to bear. 

Alas ! as lightning withers 

The young and aged tree, 
Both they and I shall fall beneath 

The fate we cannot flee. 

January 25, 1839, E.J. Bronte. 



300 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



THAT dreary lake, that moonlight sky, 

That wan moon struggling through the cloud, 

That sullen murmur whispering by 
As if it dared not speak aloud, 

Fall on my heart so sadly now, 
Whither my joys so lonely flow. 

Touch them not, they bloom and smile, 

But their roots are withering all the while. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 301 



LI 



HEAVEN'S glory shone where he was laid 

In life's decline ! 
I turned me from that young saint's bed 

To gaze on thine. 

It was a summer day that saw 

His spirit's flight ; 
Thine parted in a time of awe, 

A winter's night. 



Upon her soothing breast 

She lulled her little child, 
A winter sunset in the west 

A heavy glory smiled. 
I gazed within thine earnest eyes 

And read the sorrow brooding there ; 
I heard thy young breast torn with sighs, 

And envied such despair. 



Go to the grave in youth's bare woe ! 
That dream was written long ago. 

December 19, 1839. 



302 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LIT 

THAT WORD < NEVER ' 

NOT many years but long enough to see 
No ten can deal such deadly misery 

As the dear friend untimely called away ; 
And still the more beloved, the greater still 
Must be the aching void, the withering chill 

Of each dark night and dim, beclouded day. 

December 23 [1839]. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 303 



LIII 



I KNOW not how it falls on me, 

This summer evening hushed and lone ; 
Yet the faint wind comes soothingly 

With something of an olden tone. 

Forgive me if I 've shunned so long 
Your gentle greeting, earth and air ! 

But sorrow withers e'en the strong, 
And who can fight against despair ? 



The busy day has glided by, 

And hearts greet kindred hearts once more ; 

And swift the evening hour should fly, 

But what turns every gleaming eye 

So often to the unopened door? 



183: 



IT 



304 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LIV 



MONTH after month, year after year, 
My harp has poured a dreary strain ; 

At length a livelier note shall cheer, 
And pleasure tune its chords again. 

What though the stars and fair moonlight 
Are quenched in morning dull and grey? 

They are but tokens of the night, 
And this, my soul, is day. 

June 1 8, 1839. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 305 



LV 



SHE dried her tears and they did smile 
To see her cheek's returning glow ; 

Nor did discern how all the while 
That full heart throbbed to overflow. 

With that sweet look and lively tone, 
And bright eye shining all the day, 

They could not guess at midnight lone 
How she would weep the time away, 



306 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LVI 



I 'M happiest now when most away 
I can tear my soul from its mould of clay, 
On a windy night when the moon is bright, 
And my eye can wander through worlds of light. 

When I am not, and none beside, 
Nor earth, nor sea, nor cloudless sky, 

But only spirit wandering wide 
Through infinite immensity. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 307 



LVII 

WEANED from life and flown away 
In the morning of thy day, 
Bound in everlasting gloom, 
Buried in a hapless tomb. 

Yet upon thy bended knee 
Thank the power that banished thee ; 
Chain and bar and dungeon wall 
Saved thee from a deadlier thrall. 

Thank the power that made thee part 
Ere that parting broke thy heart. 
Wildly rushed the mountain spring 
From its source of fern and ling ; 
How invincible its roar, 
Had its waters worn the shore. 

February 1838. 



3 o8 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LVIT I 

ALL hushed and still within the house ; 

Without, all wind and driving rain ; 
But something whispers to my mind, 

Wrought up in rain and wailing wind : 
Never again ? Why not again ? Never again 

Memory has power as well as wind. 

But the hearts that once adored me 

Have long forgot their vow ; 
And the friends that mustered round me, 

Have all forsaken now. 

' Twas in a dream revealed to me, 

But not a dream of sleep ; 
A dream of watchful agony, 

Of guilt that would not weep. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 309 



LIX 

THE sunshine of a summer sun 
On the proud domes of Elrington 
Glows with a beam divinely bright 
In one unquenched, unvarying light, 
And high its arched windows rise, 
As if to invite the smiling skies ; 
And proud its mighty columns show 
Between them ranked in haughty row ; 
And sweet and soft the solemn shade 
By the o'erarching portals made. 
The starry halls of Elrington 
May glisten in that glorious sun, 
For fetes and feasts are given to-day 
To noble Lords and Ladies gay ; 
And that vast city of the sea 
Which round us lies so endlessly 
Has hither sent its proudest train 
To worship mirth and fly from pain. 
The sunshine of a summer's sun 
Glows o'er the graves of Elrington, 
Where city walls spread wide around 
The flower and foliage laden ground. 
All round the hot and glaring sky 
Bespeaks a mighty city nigh ; 
And through each opening in the shade 
Palace and temple crown the glade. 
So here an oasis stands 
'Mid the wide wastes of Egypt's sands. 



310 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

This glorious vision of a grove, 

With flowers beneath and fruits above, 

Lies in that city's human sea 

Whose streets stretch round so ceaselessly. 

Oh ! who could pass unnoticed by 

This scene of nature's royalty ? 

Instead of birds to warble there, 

Ethereal music fills the air, 

Breathed from these halls thrown open wide 

To admit the ever-changing tide 

Of Earth and Afric's hope and pride. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 311 



LX 

MY ancient ship upon my ancient sea 

Begins another voyage nay, they 're gone ; 
And whither wending? who is gone with thee? 

Since parted from thee I am left alone, 
Unknowing what my river's fate may be, 

Into its native world of tempests thrown. 
Lost like the spectres once my eye before, 

Which wilder visions muster'd to my mind ; 
Lost and unnoticed far away the roar 

Of southern waters breaking to the wind, 
With thunder volleys rolling on before 

As the wild gale sweeps wilder on behind, 
And every vision of old Afric's shore 

As much forgot and vanished out of mind 
As the wild track thou makest so long ago 

From those eternal waves that surge below. 

Gone ! 'tis a word which through life's troubled 

waste 

Seems always coming, and the only one 
Which can be called the present. Hope is past, 
And hate and strife, and love and peace are 

gone 

Before we think them, for their rapid haste 
Scarce gives us time for one short smile or 

groan 

Ere that thought dies and new ones come between 
It, and our senses like to fleeting suns. 



3 i2 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And yet there is or seems at least to be 
A general scheme of thought that colours all ; 

So though each one be different, all agree 
In the same melancholy shade-like pall ; 

Even as the shadows look the same to me, 

Though cast, I know, from many a varying 
wall 

In this vast city hut and temple sharing 

In the same light, and the same darkness wearing. 

Not that I deem all life a course of shade, 

Nor all the world a waste of streets like these : 
From youth to age a mighty change is made 

As from this city to the southern seas. 
For years through youthful hope our course is 
laid, 

For years in sloth a sea without a breeze, 
For years within some silent, shapeless cave, 

Changing, and still the same, yet swiftly passing. 

'Tis here 'tis there, 'tis nowhere oh ! my soul, 

Is there no rest from such a fruitless chasing 
Of the wild dreams that ever round me roll ? 

Each as it comes the parting thought defacing, 
Yet all still hurrying to the self-same goal. 

Gone ! Can I catch them ? but their path 

alone 
Stretching afar toward one for ever gone ! 

What have I now? The star that brightly 
shone 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 313 

Now seems as nothing in the single cloud 
That shadows it and long has seemed to hover 
O'er all the crossing thoughts that overflowed. 
In this wrecked spirit, oh ! my ocean, 
Well may'st thou plough the deep so free and 

proud : 

Thou bear'st the dim tie of ceaseless dreams, 
The fount, the confluence of a thousand streams. 



3H POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LXI 



I DO not see myself again 
A wanderer o'er the Atlantic main ; 
I do not backward turn my eye 
T'wards sleepless sea and stormy sky. 
Oh no ; these brighter visions vast 
To woodlands of the west have past ; 
And there shall Hesperus arise 
To watch my treasure where it lies. 
The present lands, the present clime, 
Forbid the dreams of olden time ; 
The present thoughts, the present hour, 
Are rife with deeds of sterner power : 
And who shall be my leading star 
Amid the howling storm of war? 

Hark ! listen to the distant gun 
From the battlefield of Edwordston ; 
It breaks upon the awful roar 

Which stuns my ears around, 
And makes the shout of victory 

Strike with a hollow sound. 
My struggles all are crowned with power, 
And Fortune gives a glorious hour. 
Men who hate me kneel before me, 
Men who kneel are forced t' adore me ; 
My name is on a million tongues, 
The million babble on my wrongs ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 315 

And twenty years of tyrant pride 
Which strove this modern God to hide, 
At last have vanished in the rays 
Of his unquenched, unclouded blaze, 
Oh ! is not Jesus come again 
Over his thousand saints to reign ? 
To free the world from tyrant's chain, 
While sin and hatred vainly spit 
Their venomed fury, as they sit. 
Their reign is past, their power is gone, 
For fallen is mighty Babylon. 

Through the hoarse howling of the storm 

I saw, but did I truly see 
One glimpse of that unearthly form 

Whose very form is Victory ? 
'Twas but a glance, and all seems past, 

For cares like clouds again return, 
And I '11 forget him till the blast 

For ever from my soul has flown 
That vision of a mighty host 
Crushed helpless into earth and Dust ! 

Forget him ! In the cannon's smoke 
How dense it thickens, till on high, 
By the wild storm blasts roughly broke, 
It parts in volumes through the sky 
That hurriedly are drifting by, 
'Till the dread burst breaks forth once more 
With whitening clouds which seem to fly 
Affrightened from that ceaseless roar. 



316 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And there it lightens ! Dashed with gore 
The thick of battle rends in twain, 
While their rough ranks of bristling steel 
Flashing afar, while armed men 
In mighty masses loud and vast, 
Like the wild waters of the main 
Lashed into foam. When, there again 
Behold him 1 




POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 317 



LXTI 

YET o'er his face a solemn light 

Comes smiling from the sky, 
And shows to sight the lustre bright 

Of his uplifted eye ; 
The aimless, heedless carelessness 

Of happy infancy 
O'er such a solemn fearfulness 

Commingling with his glee, 
The parted lips, the golden hair ; 

Oh who so blest as thee ! 
Memory ! how thy magic fingers, 

With a wild and passing thrill, 
Wake the cord whose spirit lingers, 

Sleeping silently and still, 
Fast asleep and almost dying, 

Through my days of changeless pain, 
Till I dream the strings are lying, 

Never to be waked again. 
Winds have blown, but all unknown ; 

Nothing could arouse a tone 
In that heart which like a stone 

Senselessly has lain. 
All seemed over friend and lover 

Strove to waken music there ; 
Flow the strings their fingers over, 

Still in silence swept the air. 



318 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Memory ! Memory comes at last, 
Memory of feelings past, 

And with an ^olian blast 

Strikes the strings resistlesslyt 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 319 

LXIII 
TO A WREATH OF SNOW 

O TRANSIENT voyager of heaven ! 

O silent sign of winter skies ! 
What adverse wind thy sail has driven 

To dungeons where a prisoner lies? 

Methinks the hands that shut the sun 
So sternly from this morning's brow 

Might still their rebel task have done 
And checked a thing so frail as thou. 

They would have done it had they known 
The talisman that dwelt in thee, 

For all the suns that ever shone 
Have never been so kind to me ! 

For many a week and many a day 

My heart was weighed with sinking gloom 

When morning rose in mourning grey 
And faintly lit my prison room. 

But angel like, when I awoke, 
Thy silvery form, so soft and fair, 

Shining through darkness, sweetly spoke 
Of cloudy skies and mountains bare ; 
x 



320 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

The dearest to a mountaineer 

Who all life long has loved the snow 

That crowned his native summits drear, 
Better than greenest plains below. 

And voiceless, soulless, messenger, 
Thy presence waked a thrilling tone 

That comforts me while thou art here, 
And will sustain when thou art gone. 

December 1837, Emily Jane Bronte* 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 321 



LXIV 

SONG 

KING JULIUS left the south country, 
His banners all bravely flying ; 

His followers went out with Jubilee, 
But they shall return with sighing. 

Loud arose the triumphal hymn, 
The drums were loudly rolling ; 

Yet you might have heard in distant din 
How a passing bell was tolling. 

The sward so bright from battles won, 
With unseen rust is fretting ; 

The evening comes before the noon, 
The scarce risen sun is setting. 

While princes hang upon his breath 
And nations round are fearing, 

Close by his side a daggered death 
With sheathless point stands sneering, 

That Death he took a certain aim, 
For Death is stony-hearted ; 

And in the zenith of his fame 
Both power and life departed. 

April 20, 1839. 



322 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

LXV 

LINES 

I DTE, but when the grave shall press 
The heart so long endeared to thee, 

When earthly cares no more distress 
And earthly joys are nought to me, 

Weep not, but think that I have passed 
Before thee o'er a sea of gloom, 

Have anchored safe, and rest at last 
Where tears and mourning cannot come. 

'Tis I should weep to leave thee here 
On that dark ocean sailing drear, 
With storms around and fears before, 
And no kind light to point the shore. 

But long or short though life may be, 
'Tis nothing to eternity : 
We part below to meet on high, 
Where blissful ages never die. 

December 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 323 

LXVI 

SONG 

BETWEEN distress and pleasure 
Fond affection cannot be ! 

Wretched hearts in vain would treasure 
Friendship's joys when others flee. 

Well I know thine eye would never 
Smile when mine grieved willingly ; 

Yet I know thine eye for ever 
Could not weep in sympathy. 

Let us part ; the time is over 

When I thought and felt like thee ; 

1 will be an ocean rover, 

I will sail the desert sea. 

Isles there are beyond its billow, 
Lands where woe may wander free ; 

And beloved, thy midnight pillow 
Will be soft unwatched by me. 

Not on each returning morrow, 
When thy heart bounds ardently, 

Needst thou then dissemble sorrow, 
Marking my despondency. 



324 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Day by day some dreary token 
Will forsake thy memory, 

Till at last, all old links broken, 
I shall be a dream to thee. 

October 15, 1839. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 325 



LXVII 

SHED no tears o'er that tomb, 
For there are angels weeping ; 

Mourn not him whose doom 
Heaven itself is mourning. 

Look how in sable gloom 

The clouds are earthward yearning ; 
And earth receives them home, 

Even darker clouds returning. 

Is it when good men die 

That sorrow wakes above ? 
Grieve Saints when other spirits fly 

To swell their choir of love ? 

Ah ! no : with louder sound 
The golden harp strings quiver 

When good men gain the happy ground 
Where they must dwell for ever. 

But he who slumbers there 
His bark will strive no more 

Across the waters of despair 
To reach that glorious shore. 

The time of grace is past, 

And mercy, scorned and tried, 

Forsakes to utter wrath at last 
The soul so steeled by pride. 



326 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

That wrath will never spare, 

Will never pity know ; 
Will mock its victims maddened prayer, 

Will triumph in his woe. 

Shut from his Maker's smile 
The accursed man shall be ; 

For mercy reigns a little while, 
But hate eternally. 1 



1 An alternative in the author's manuscript runs : 
' Compassion smiles a little while, 
Revenge eternally.' 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 327 



LXVIII 

SLEEP not, dream not ; this bright day 
Will not, cannot last for aye ; 
Bliss like thine is bought by years 
Dark with torment and with tears. 

Sweeter far than placid pleasure 
Purer higher beyond measure 
Yet, alas ! the sooner turning 
Into hopeless, endless mourning. 

I love thee, boy, for all divine, 

All full of God thy features shine. 

Darling enthusiast, holy child, 

Too good for this world's warring wild ; 

Too heavenly now, but doomed to be, 

Hell-like in heart and misery. 

And what shall change that angel brow, 
And quench that spirit's glorious glow? 
Relentless laws that disallow 
True virtue and true joy below. 

I too depart, I too decline, 
And make thy path no longer mine. 
'Tis thus that human minds will turn, 
All doomed alike to sin and mourn ; 
Yet all with long gaze fixed afar, 
Adoring virtue's distant star. 



July 26, 1837. 



328 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LXIX 

LINES BY CLAUDIA 

I DID not sleep ; 'twas noon of day ; 

I saw the burning sunshine fall, 
The long grass bending where I lay, 

The blue sky brooding over all. 

I heard the mellow hum of bees, 
And singing birds and sighing trees, 
And far away in woody dell 
The music of the Sabbath bell. 

I did not dream remembrance still 
Clasped round my heart its fetter chill ; 
But I am sure the soul is free 

To leave its clay a little while, 
Or how in exile misery 

Could I have seen my country smile ? 

In English fields my limbs were laid, 
With English turf beneath my head ; 
My spirit wandered o'er that shore 
Where nought but it may wander more. 

Yet if the soul can thus return, 
I need not, and I will not mourn ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 329 

And vainly did you drive me far 

With leagues of ocean stretched between : 
My mortal flesh you might debar, 

But not the eternal fire within. 

My monarch died to rule for ever 
A heart that can forget him never, 
And dear to me, aye doubly dear, 

Thoughts shut within the silent tomb, 
His name shall be for whoso bear 

This long sustained and hopeless doom. 

And brighter in the hour of woe 
Than in the blaze of victory's pride 

That glory-shedding star shall glow 
For which we fought and bled and died. 



May 28, 1839. 



330 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LXX 

LINES 

FAR away is the land of rest 
Thousand miles are stretched between, 

Many a mountain's stormy crest, 
Many a desert void of green. 

Wasted, worn is the traveller, 
Dark his heart and dim his eye ; 

Without hope or comforter, 

Faltering, faint, and ready to die. 

Often he looks to the ruthless sky, 
Often he looks o'er his dreary road, 

Often he wishes down to lie 

And render up life's tiresome load. 

But yet faint not, mournful man ; 

Leagues on leagues are left behind 
Since your endless course began ; 

Then go on, to toil resigned. 

If you still despair, control, 

Hush its whispers in your breast ; 

You shall reach the final goal, 
You shall win the land of rest. 

October 1837. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 331 

LXXI 

LINES 

THE soft unclouded blue of air, 
The earth as golden, green, and fair, 
And bright as Eden's used to be, 
That air and earth have rested me, 

Laid on the grass I lapsed away, 
Sank back again to childhood's day ; 
All harsh thoughts perished, memory mild 
Subdued both grief and passion wild. 

But did the sunshine even now 
That bathed his stern and swarthy brow, 
Oh did it wake I long to know 
One whisper, one sweet dream in him, 
One lingering joy that years ago 
Had faded lost in distance dim ? 

That iron man was born like me, 
And he was once an ardent boy ; 

He must have felt in infancy 
The glory of a summer sky. 

Though storms untold his mind has tossed, 
He cannot utterly have lost 
Remembrance of his early home 
So lost that not a gleam may come. 



332 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

No vision of his mother's face 
When she so fondly mild set free 

Her darling child from her embrace 
To roam till eve at liberty. 

Nor of his haunts, nor of the flowers, 
His tiny hand would grateful bear, 

Returning from the darkening bowers, 
To weave into her glossy hair. 

I saw the light breeze kiss his cheek, 
His fingers 'mid the roses twined ; 

I watched to mark one transient streak 
Of pensive softness shade his mind. 

The open window showed around 
A glowing park and glorious sky, 

And thick woods swelling with the sound 
Of nature's mingled harmony. 

Silent he sat. That stormy breast 
At length I said has deigned to rest ; 
At length above that spirit flows 
The waveless ocean of repose. 

Let me draw near, 'twill soothe to view 
His dark eyes dimmed with holy dew ; 
Remorse even now may wake within 
And half unchain his soul from sin. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 333 

Perhaps this is the destined hour 
When Hell shall lose its fatal power, 
And Heaven itself shall bend above 
To hail the soul redeemed by love. 

Unmarked I gazed, my idle thought 
Passed with the ray whose shine it caught ; 
One glance revealed how little care 
He felt for all the beauty there. 

Oh ! crime can make the heart grow old 
Sooner than years of wearing woe, 

Can turn the warmest bosom cold 
As winter wind or polar snow. 



April 28, 1839. 



Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty 
at the Edinburgh University Press 



K.ATT 



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