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 |
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 |
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.
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 |
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 |
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 |
Fair was the evening and brightly the sun
Was shining on desert and grove,
Sweet were the breezes and balmy the flowers
And cloudless the heavens above.
It was Arabia's distant land
And peaceful was the hour;
Two youthful figures lay reclined
Deep in a shady bower.
One was a boy of just fourteen
Bold beautiful and bright;
Soft raven curls hung clustering round
A brow of marble white.
The fair brow and ruddy cheek
Spoke of less burning skies;
Words cannot paint the look that beamed
In his dark lustrous eyes.
The other was a slender girl,
Blooming and young and fair.
The snowy neck was shaded with
The long bright sunny hair.
And those deep eyes of watery blue,
So sweetly sad they seemed.
And every feature in her face
With pensive sorrow teemed.
The youth beheld her saddened air
And smiling cheerfully
He said, 'How pleasant is the land
Of sunny Araby!
'Zenobia, I never saw
A lovelier eve than this;
I never felt my spirit raised
With more unbroken bliss!
'So deep the shades, so calm the hour,
So soft the breezes sigh,
So sweetly Philomel begins
Her heavenly melody.
'So pleasant are the scents that rise
From flowers of loveliest hue,
And more than all -- Zenobia,
I am alone with you!
Are we not happy here alone
In such a healthy spot?'
He looked to her with joyful smile
But she returned it not.
'Why are you sorrowful?' he asked
And heaved a bitter sigh,
'O tell me why those drops of woe
Are gathering in your eye.
'Gladly would I rejoice,' she said,
'But grief weighs down my heart.
'Can I be happy when I know
Tomorrow we must part?
'Yes, Alexander, I must see
This happy land no more.
At break of day I must return
To distant Gondal's shore.
'At morning we must bid farewell,
And at the close of day
You will be wandering alone
And I shall be away.
'I shall be sorrowing for you
On the wide weltering sea,
And you will perhaps have wandered here
To sit and think of me.
'And shall we part so soon?' he cried,
'Must we be torn away?
Shall I be left to mourn alone?
Will you no longer stay?
'And shall we never meet again,
Hearts that have grown together?
Must they at once be rent away
And kept apart for ever?'
'Yes, Alexander, we must part,
But we may meet again,
For when I left my native land
I wept in anguish then.
'Never shall I forget the day
I left its rocky shore.
We thought that we had bid adieu
To meet on earth no more.
'When we had parted how I wept
To see the mountains blue
Grow dimmer and more distant -- till
They faded from my view.
'And you too wept -- we little thought
After so long a time,
To meet again so suddenly
In such a distant clime.
'We met on Grecia's classic plain,
We part in Araby.
And let us hope to meet again
Beneath our Gondal's sky.
'Zenobia, do you remember
A little lonely spring
Among Exina's woody hills
Where blackbirds used to sing,
'And when they ceased as daylight faded
From the dusky sky
The pensive nightingale began
Her matchless melody?
'Sweet bluebells used to flourish there
And tall trees waved on high,
And through their ever sounding leaves
The soft wind used to sigh.
'At morning we have often played
Beside that lonely well;
At evening we have lingered there
Till dewy twilight fell.
'And when your fifteenth birthday comes,
Remember me, my love,
And think of what I said to you
In this sweet spicy grove.
'At evening wander to that spring
And sit and wait for me;
And 'ere the sun has ceased to shine
I will return to thee.
'Two years is a weary time
But it will soon be fled.
And if you do not meet me -- know
I am not false but dead.
* * *
Sweetly the summer day declines
On forest, plain, and hill
And in that spacious palace hall
So lonely, wide and still.
Beside a window's open arch,
In the calm evening air
All lonely sits a stately girl,
Graceful and young and fair.
The snowy lid and lashes long
Conceal her downcast eye,
She's reading and till now I have
Passed unnoticed by.
But see she cannot fix her thoughts,
They are wandering away;
She looks towards a distant dell
Where sunny waters play.
And yet her spirit is not with
The scene she looks upon;
She muses with a mournful smile
On pleasures that are gone.
She looks upon the book again
That chained her thoughts before,
And for a moment strives in vain
To fix her mind once more.
Then gently drops it on her knee
And looks into the sky,
While trembling drops are shining in
Her dark celestial eye.
And thus alone and still she sits
Musing on years gone by.
Till with a sad and sudden smile
She rises up to go;
And from the open window springs
On to the grass below.
Why does she fly so swiftly now
Adown the meadow green,
And o'er the gently swelling hills
And the vale that lies between?
She passes under giant trees
That lift their arms on high
And slowly wave their mighty boughs
In the clear evening sky,
And now she threads a path that winds
Through deeply shaded groves
Where nought is heard but sighing gales
And murmuring turtle doves.
She hastens on through sunless gloom
To a vista opening wide;
A marble fountain sparkles there
With sweet flowers by its side.
At intervals in the velvet grass
A few old elm trees rise,
While a warm flood of yellow light
Streams from the western skies.
Is this her resting place? Ah, no,
She hastens onward still,
The startled deer before her fly
As she ascends the hill.
She does not rest till she has gained
A lonely purling spring,
Where zephyrs wave the verdant trees
And birds in concert sing.
And there she stands and gazes round
With bright and searching eye,
Then sadly sighing turns away
And looks upon the sky.
She sits down on the flowery turf
Her head drooped on her hand;
Her soft luxuriant golden curls
Are by the breezes fanned.
A sweet sad smile plays on her lips;
Her heart is far away,
And thus she sits till twilight comes
To take the place of day.
But when she looks towards the west
And sees the sun is gone
And hears that every bird but one
To its nightly rest is flown,
And sees that over nature's face
A sombre veil is cast
With mournful voice and tearful eye
She says, 'The time is past!
'He will not come! I might have known
It was a foolish hope;
But it was so sweet to cherish
I could not yield it up.
'It may be foolish thus to weep
But I cannot check my tears
To see in one short hour destroyed
The darling hope of years.
'He is not false, but he was young
And time rolls fast away.
Has he forgotten the vow he made
To meet me here today?
If he lives he loves me still
And still remembers me.
If he is dead -- my joys are sunk
In utter misery.
'We parted in the spicy groves
Beneath Arabia's sky.
How could I hope to meet him now
Where Gondal's breezes sigh?
'He was a shining meteor light
That faded from the skies,
But I mistook him for a star
That only set to rise.
'And with a firm yet trembling hand
I've clung to this false hope;
I dared not surely trust in it
Yet would not yield it up.
'And day and night I've thought of him
And loved him constantly,
And prayed that Heaven would prosper him
Wherever he might be.
'He will not come; he's wandering now
On some far distant shore,
Or else he sleeps the sleep of death
And cannot see me more!
'O, Alexander, is it thus?
Did we but meet to part?
Long as I live thy name will be
Engraven on my heart.
'I shall not cease to think of thee
While life and thought remain,
For well I know that I can never
See thy like again!'
She ceases now and dries her tears
But still she lingers there
In silent thought till night is come
And silver stars appear.
But lo! a tall and stately youth
Ascends the grassy slope;
His bright dark eyes are glancing round,
His heart beats high with hope.
He has journyed on unweariedly
From dawn of day till now,
The warm blood kindles in his cheek,
The sweat is on his brow.
But he has gained the green hill top
Where lies that lonely spring,
And lo! he pauses when he hears
Its gentle murmuring.
He dares not enter through the trees
That veil it from his eye;
He listens for some other sound
In deep anxiety.
But vainly -- all is calm and still;
Are his bright day dreams o'er?
Has he thus hoped and longed in vain,
And must they meet no more?
One moment more of sad suspense
And those dark trees are past;
The lonely well bursts on his sight
And they are met at last!
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 |
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.