Anne Bronte |
Love, indeed thy strength is mighty
Thus, alone, such strife to bear --
Three 'gainst one, and never ceasing --
Death, and Madness, and Despair!
'Tis not my own strength has saved me;
Health, and hope, and fortitude,
But for love, had long since failed me;
Heart and soul had sunk subdued.
Often, in my wild impatience,
I have lost my trust in Heaven,
And my soul has tossed and struggled,
Like a vessel tempest-driven;
But the voice of my beloved
In my ear has seemed to say --
'O, be patient if thou lov'st me!'
And the storm has passed away.
When outworn with weary thinking,
Sight and thought were waxing dim,
And my mind began to wander,
And my brain began to swim,
Then those hands outstretched to save me
Seemed to call me back again --
Those dark eyes did so implore me
To resume my reason's reign,
That I could not but remember
How her hopes were fixed on me,
And, with one determined effort,
Rose, and shook my spirit free.
When hope leaves my weary spirit --
All the power to hold it gone --
That loved voice so loudly prays me,
'For my sake, keep hoping on,'
That, at once my strength renewing,
Though Despair had crushed me down,
I can burst his bonds asunder,
And defy his deadliest frown.
When, from nights of restless tossing,
Days of gloom and pining care,
Pain and weakness, still increasing,
Seem to whisper 'Death is near,'
And I almost bid him welcome,
Knowing he would bring release,
Weary of this restless struggle --
Longing to repose in peace,
Then a glance of fond reproval
Bids such selfish longings flee
And a voice of matchless music
Murmurs 'Cherish life for me!'
Roused to newborn strength and courage,
Pain and grief, I cast away,
Health and life, I keenly follow,
Mighty Death is held at bay.
Yes, my love, I will be patient!
Firm and bold my heart shall be:
Fear not -- though this life is dreary,
I can bear it well for thee.
Let our foes still rain upon me
Cruel wrongs and taunting scorn;
'Tis for thee their hate pursues me,
And for thee, it shall be borne!
Anne Bronte |
While on my lonely couch I lie,
I seldom feel myself alone,
For fancy fills my dreaming eye
With scenes and pleasures of its own.
Then I may cherish at my breast
An infant's form beloved and fair,
May smile and soothe it into rest
With all a Mother's fondest care.
How sweet to feel its helpless form
Depending thus on me alone!
And while I hold it safe and warm
What bliss to think it is my own!
And glances then may meet my eyes
That daylight never showed to me;
What raptures in my bosom rise,
Those earnest looks of love to see,
To feel my hand so kindly prest,
To know myself beloved at last,
To think my heart has found a rest,
My life of solitude is past!
But then to wake and find it flown,
The dream of happiness destroyed,
To find myself unloved, alone,
What tongue can speak the dreary void?
A heart whence warm affections flow,
Creator, thou hast given to me,
And am I only thus to know
How sweet the joys of love would be?
Anne Bronte |
A prisoner in a dungeon deep
Sat musing silently;
His head was rested on his hand,
His elbow on his knee.
Turned he his thoughts to future times
Or are they backward cast?
For freedom is he pining now
Or mourning for the past?
No, he has lived so long enthralled
Alone in dungeon gloom
That he has lost regret and hope,
Has ceased to mourn his doom.
He pines not for the light of day
Nor sighs for freedom now;
Such weary thoughts have ceased at length
To rack his burning brow.
Lost in a maze of wandering thoughts
He sits unmoving there;
That posture and that look proclaim
The stupor of despair.
Yet not for ever did that mood
Of sullen calm prevail;
There was a something in his eye
That told another tale.
It did not speak of reason gone,
It was not madness quite;
It was a fitful flickering fire,
A strange uncertain light.
And sooth to say, these latter years
Strange fancies now and then
Had filled his cell with scenes of life
And forms of living men.
A mind that cannot cease to think
Why needs he cherish there?
Torpor may bring relief to pain
And madness to despair.
Such wildering scenes, such flitting shapes
As feverish dreams display:
What if those fancies still increase
And reason quite decay?
But hark, what sounds have struck his ear;
Voices of men they seem;
And two have entered now his cell;
Can this too be a dream?
'Orlando, hear our joyful news:
Revenge and liberty!
Your foes are dead, and we are come
At last to set you free.
So spoke the elder of the two,
And in the captive's eyes
He looked for gleaming ecstasy
But only found surprise.
'My foes are dead! It must be then
That all mankind are gone.
For they were all my deadly foes
And friends I had not one.
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Anne Bronte |
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:
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.
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!
Anne Bronte |
A dreadful darkness closes in
On my bewildered mind;
O let me suffer and not sin,
Be tortured yet resigned.
Through all this world of whelming mist
Still let me look to Thee,
And give me courage to resist
The Tempter till he flee.
Weary I am -- O give me strength
And leave me not to faint;
Say Thou wilt comfort me at length
And pity my complaint.
I've begged to serve Thee heart and soul,
To sacrifice to Thee
No niggard portion, but the whole
Of my identity.
I hoped amid the brave and strong
My portioned task might lie,
To toil amid the labouring throng
With purpose pure and high.
But Thou hast fixed another part,
And Thou hast fixed it well;
I said so with my breaking heart
When first the anguish fell.
For Thou hast taken my delight
And hope of life away,
And bid me watch the painful night
And wait the weary day.
The hope and the delight were Thine;
I bless Thee for their loan;
I gave Thee while I deemed them mine
Too little thanks, I own.
Shall I with joy Thy blessings share
And not endure their loss?
Or hope the martyr's crown to wear
And cast away the cross?
These weary hours will not be lost,
These days of passive misery,
These nights of darkness anguish tost
If I can fix my heart on Thee.
Weak and weary though I lie,
Crushed with sorrow, worn with pain,
Still I may lift to Heaven mine eyes
And strive and labour not in vain,
That inward strife against the sins
That ever wait on suffering;
To watch and strike where first begins
Each ill that would corruption bring,
That secret labour to sustain
With humble patience every blow,
To gather fortitude from pain
And hope and holiness from woe.
Thus let me serve Thee from my heart
Whatever be my written fate,
Whether thus early to depart
Or yet awhile to wait.
If Thou shouldst bring me back to life
More humbled I should be;
More wise, more strengthened for the strife,
More apt to lean on Thee.
Should Death be standing at the gate
Thus should I keep my vow;
But, Lord, whate'er my future fate
So let me serve Thee now.
Anne Bronte |
Brightly the sun of summer shone,
Green fields and waving woods upon,
And soft winds wandered by;
Above, a sky of purest blue,
Around, bright flowers of loveliest hue,
Allured the gazer's eye.
But what were all these charms to me,
When one sweet breath of memory
Came gently wafting by?
I closed my eyes against the day,
And called my willing soul away,
From earth, and air, and sky;
That I might simply fancy there
One little flower -- a primrose fair,
Just opening into sight;
As in the days of infancy,
An opening primrose seemed to me
A source of strange delight.
Sweet Memory! ever smile on me;
Nature's chief beauties spring from thee,
Oh, still thy tribute bring!
Still make the golden crocus shine
Among the flowers the most divine,
The glory of the spring.
Still in the wall-flower's fragrance dwell;
And hover round the slight blue bell,
My childhood's darling flower.
Smile on the little daisy still,
The buttercup's bright goblet fill
With all thy former power.
For ever hang thy dreamy spell
Round mountain star and heather bell,
And do not pass away
From sparkling frost, or wreathed snow,
And whisper when the wild winds blow,
Or rippling waters play.
Is childhood, then, so all divine?
Or Memory, is the glory thine,
That haloes thus the past?
Not all divine; its pangs of grief,
(Although, perchance, their stay be brief,)
Are bitter while they last.
Nor is the glory all thine own,
For on our earliest joys alone
That holy light is cast.
With such a ray, no spell of thine
Can make our later pleasures shine,
Though long ago they passed.
Anne Bronte |
Severed and gone, so many years!
And art thou still so dear to me,
That throbbing heart and burning tears
Can witness how I cling to thee?
I know that in the narrow tomb
The form I loved was buried deep,
And left, in silence and in gloom,
To slumber out its dreamless sleep.
I know the corner where it lies,
Is but a dreary place of rest:
The charnel moisture never dries
From the dark flagstones o'er its breast,
For there the sunbeams never shine,
Nor ever breathes the freshening air,
- But not for this do I repine;
For my beloved is not there.
O, no! I do not think of thee
As festering there in slow decay: -
'Tis this sole thought oppresses me,
That thou art gone so far away.
For ever gone; for I, by night,
Have prayed, within my silent room,
That Heaven would grant a burst of light
Its cheerless darkness to illume;
And give thee to my longing eyes,
A moment, as thou shinest now,
Fresh from thy mansion in the skies,
With all its glories on thy brow.
Wild was the wish, intense the gaze
I fixed upon the murky air,
Expecting, half, a kindling blaze
Would strike my raptured vision there, --
A shape these human nerves would thrill,
A majesty that might appal,
Did not thy earthly likeness, still,
Gleam softly, gladly, through it all.
False hope! vain prayer! it might not be
That thou shouldst visit earth again.
I called on Heaven -- I called on thee,
And watched, and waited -- all in vain.
Had I one shining tress of thine,
How it would bless these longing eyes!
Or if thy pictured form were mine,
What gold should rob me of the prize?
A few cold words on yonder stone,
A corpse as cold as they can be -
Vain words, and mouldering dust, alone -
Can this be all that's left of thee?
O, no! thy spirit lingers still
Where'er thy sunny smile was seen:
There's less of darkness, less of chill
On earth, than if thou hadst not been.
Thou breathest in my bosom yet,
And dwellest in my beating heart;
And, while I cannot quite forget,
Thou, darling, canst not quite depart.
Though, freed from sin, and grief, and pain
Thou drinkest now the bliss of Heaven,
Thou didst not visit earth in vain;
And from us, yet, thou art not riven.
Life seems more sweet that thou didst live,
And men more true that thou wert one:
Nothing is lost that thou didst give,
Nothing destroyed that thou hast done.
Earth hath received thine earthly part;
Thine heavenly flame has heavenward flown;
But both still linger in my heart,
Still live, and not in mine alone.
Anne Bronte |
Music I love - but never strain
Could kindle raptures so divine,
So grief assuage, so conquer pain,
And rouse this pensive heart of mine -
As that we hear on Christmas morn,
Upon the wintry breezes borne.
Though Darkness still her empire keep,
And hours must pass, ere morning break;
From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,
That music kindly bids us wake:
It calls us, with an angel's voice,
To wake, and worship, and rejoice;
To greet with joy the glorious morn,
Which angels welcomed long ago,
When our redeeming Lord was born,
To bring the light of Heaven below;
The Powers of Darkness to dispel,
And rescue Earth from Death and Hell.
While listening to that sacred strain,
My raptured spirit soars on high;
I seem to hear those songs again
Resounding through the open sky,
That kindled such divine delight,
In those who watched their flocks by night.
With them, I celebrate His birth -
Glory to God, in highest Heaven,
Good-will to men, and peace on Earth,
To us a Saviour-king is given;
Our God is come to claim His own,
And Satan's power is overthrown!
A sinless God, for sinful men,
Descends to suffer and to bleed;
Hell must renounce its empire then;
The price is paid, the world is freed,
And Satan's self must now confess,
That Christ has earned a Right to bless:
Now holy Peace may smile from heaven,
And heavenly Truth from earth shall spring:
The captive's galling bonds are riven,
For our Redeemer is our king;
And He that gave his blood for men
Will lead us home to God again.
Anne Bronte |
Eternal Power, of earth and air!
Unseen, yet seen in all around,
Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
Though silent, heard in every sound.
If e'er thine ear in mercy bent,
When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
To save lost sinners such as me:
Then hear me now, while, kneeling here,
I lift to thee my heart and eye,
And all my soul ascends in prayer,
Oh, give me - give me Faith! I cry.
Without some glimmering in my heart,
I could not raise this fervent prayer;
But, oh! a stronger light impart,
And in Thy mercy fix it there.
While Faith is with me, I am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast,
I often feel it slide away.
Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
To see my light of life depart;
And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
Enjoys the anguish of my heart.
What shall I do, if all my love,
My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
And if there be no God above,
To hear and bless me when I pray?
If this be vain delusion all,
If death be an eternal sleep,
And none can hear my secret call,
Or see the silent tears I weep!
Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe.
Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
And make me know, that Thou art God!
A faith, that shines by night and day,
Will lighten every earthly load.
If I believe that Jesus died,
And, waking, rose to reign above;
Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love.
And all the blessed words He said
Will strength and holy joy impart:
A shield of safety o'er my head,
A spring of comfort in my heart.
Anne Bronte |
I love the silent hour of night,
For blissful dreams may then arise,
Revealing to my charmed sight
What may not bless my waking eyes!
And then a voice may meet my ear
That death has silenced long ago;
And hope and rapture may appear
Instead of solitude and woe.
Cold in the grave for years has lain
The form it was my bliss to see,
And only dreams can bring again
The darling of my heart to me.
Anne Bronte |
I'm buried now; I've done with life;
I've done with hate, revenge and strife;
I've done with joy, and hope and love
And all the bustling world above.
Long have I dwelt forgotten here
In pining woe and dull despair;
This place of solitude and gloom
Must be my dungeon and my tomb.
No hope, no pleasure can I find:
I am grown weary of my mind;
Often in balmy sleep I try
To gain a rest from misery,
And in one hour of calm repose
To find a respite from my woes,
But dreamless sleep is not for me
And I am still in misery.
I dream of liberty, 'tis true,
But then I dream of sorrow too,
Of blood and guilt and horrid woes,
Of tortured friends and happy foes;
I dream about the world, but then
I dream of fiends instead of men;
Each smiling hope so quickly fades
And such a lurid gloom pervades
That world -- that when I wake and see
Those dreary phantoms fade and flee,
Even in my dungeon I can smile,
And taste of joy a little while.
And yet it is not always so;
I dreamt a little while ago
That all was as it used to be:
A fresh free wind passed over me;
It was a pleasant summer's day,
The sun shone forth with cheering ray,
Methought a little lovely child
Looked up into my face and smiled.
My heart was full, I wept for joy,
It was my own, my darling boy;
I clasped him to my breast and he
Kissed me and laughed in childish glee.
Just them I heard in whisper sweet
A well known voice my name repeat.
His father stood before my eyes;
I gazed at him in mute surprise,
I thought he smiled and spoke to me,
But still in silent ecstasy
I gazed at him; I could not speak;
I uttered one long piercing shriek.
Alas! Alas! That cursed scream
Aroused me from my heavenly dream;
I looked around in wild despair,
I called them, but they were not there;
The father and the child are gone,
And I must live and die alone.
Anne Bronte |
My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring,
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For, above, and around me, the wild wind is roaring
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.
The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.
I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray,
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing
And hear the wild roar of their thunder today!
Anne Bronte |
We know where deepest lies the snow,
And where the frost-winds keenest blow,
O'er every mountain's brow,
We long have known and learnt to bear
The wandering outlaw's toil and care,
But where we late were hunted, there
Our foes are hunted now.
We have their princely homes, and they
To our wild haunts are chased away,
Dark woods, and desert caves.
And we can range from hill to hill,
And chase our vanquished victors still;
Small respite will they find until
They slumber in their graves.
But I would rather be the hare,
That crouching in its sheltered lair
Must start at every sound;
That forced from cornfields waving wide
Is driven to seek the bare hillside,
Or in the tangled copse to hide,
Than be the hunter's hound.
Anne Bronte |
O, let me be alone a while,
No human form is nigh.
And may I 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!
Anne Bronte |
You may rejoice to think yourselves secure,
You may be grateful for the gift divine,
That grace unsought which made your black hearts pure
And fits your earthborn souls in Heaven to shine.
But is it sweet to look around and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness,
Which they deserve at least as much as you,
Their faults not greater nor their virtues less?
And wherefore should you love your God the more
Because to you alone his smiles are given,
Because He chose to pass the many o'er
And only bring the favoured few to Heaven?
And wherefore should your hearts more grateful prove
Because for all the Saviour did not die?
Is yours the God of justice and of love
And are your bosoms warm with charity?
Say does your heart expand to all mankind
And would you ever to your neighbour do,
-- The weak, the strong, the enlightened and the blind -
As you would have your neighbour do to you?
And, when you, looking on your fellow men
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then?
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!
That none deserve eternal bliss I know:
Unmerited the grace in mercy given,
But none shall sink to everlasting woe
That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.
And, O! there lives within my heart
A hope long nursed by me,
(And should its cheering ray depart
How dark my soul would be)
That as in Adam all have died
In Christ shall all men live
And ever round his throne abide
Eternal praise to give;
That even the wicked shall at last
Be fitted for the skies
And when their dreadful doom is past
To life and light arise.
I ask not how remote the day
Nor what the sinner's woe
Before their dross is purged away,
Enough for me to know
That when the cup of wrath is drained,
The metal purified,
They'll cling to what they once disdained,
And live by Him that died.