Poems (1850)
by the

Brontė Sisters

from the 1846 edition:

 by Anne Brontė
A Reminiscence
The Arbour
Vanitas Vanitatum, Omnia Vanitas
The Penitent
Music on Christmas Morning
If This Be All
To Cowper
The Doubter's Prrayer
A Word to the "Elect"
Past Days
The Consolation
Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day
Views of Life
The Student's Serenade
The Captive Dove

 by Emily Brontė
Faith and Despondency
The Philosopher
A Death Scene
The Prisoner
A Day Dream
How Clear She Shines
Plead for Me
Stanzas to ----
Honour's Martyr
My Comforter
The Old Stoic

 by Charlotte Brontė
Pilate's Wife's Dream
The Wife's Will
The Wood
The Letter
The Teacher's Monologue
Eveining Solace
Winter Stores
The Missionary

from the 1850 edition:

 from the "literary remains" of Emily Brontė
A Little While, A Little While
The Bluebell
Loud Without the Wind was Roaring
Shall Earth No More Inspire Thee
The Night Wind
It Wakes To-Night
Love and Friendship
The Elder's Rebuke
The Wanderer from the Fold
Warning and Reply
Last Words
The Lady to Her Guitar
The Two Children
The Visionary
No Coward Soul is Mine
 from the "literary remains" of Anne Brontė
A Prayer
In Memory of a Happy Day in February
Lines Written from Home
The Narrow Way
Domestic Peace
The Three Guides
Hoped, That With The Brave And Strong

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Poems, by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell

(Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontė)

(Originally published in 1846, this text is trom the 1850 edition,
with comments and additional selctions added by Charlotte)

The Bronte Sisters
Portrait of the sisters (Anne, Emily and Charlotte) by their brother, Branwell. He originally
included himself in the center of the portrait, but painted himself
out. A shadow of his outline remains. [ca. 1834]


. Parting

    THERE'S no use in weeping,
    Though we are condemned to part:
    There's such a thing as keeping
    A remembrance in one's heart:

    There's such a thing as dwelling
    On the thought ourselves have nursed,
    And with scorn and courage telling
    The world to do its worst.

    We'll not let its follies grieve us,
    We'll just take them as they come;
    And then every day will leave us
    A merry laugh for home.

    When we've left each friend and brother,
    When we're parted wide and far,
    We will think of one another,
    As even better than we are.

    Every glorious sight above us,
    Every pleasant sight beneath,
    We'll connect with those that love us,
    Whom we truly love till death!

    In the evening, when we're sitting
    By the fire, perchance alone,
    Then shall heart with warm heart meeting,
    Give responsive tone for tone.

    We can burst the bonds which chain us,
    Which cold human hands have wrought,
    And where none shall dare restrain us
    We can meet again, in thought.

    So there's no use in weeping,
    Bear a cheerful spirit still;
    Never doubt that Fate is keeping
    Future good for present ill!

    Charlotte Bronte


. Apostasy

    THIS last denial of my faith,
    Thou, solemn Priest, hast heard;
    And, though upon my bed of death,
    I call not back a word.
    Point not to thy Madonna, Priest,--
    Thy sightless saint of stone;
    She cannot, from this burning breast,
    Wring one repentant moan.

    Thou say'st, that when a sinless child,
    I duly bent the knee,
    And prayed to what in marble smiled
    Cold, lifeless, mute, on me.
    I did. But listen! Children spring
    Full soon to riper youth;
    And, for Love's vow and Wedlock's ring,
    I sold my early truth.

    'Twas not a grey, bare head, like thine,
    Bent o'er me, when I said,
    "That land and God and Faith are mine,
    For which thy fathers bled."
    I see thee not, my eyes are dim;
    But well I hear thee say,
    "O daughter cease to think of him
    Who led thy soul astray.

    "Between you lies both space and time;
    Let leagues and years prevail
    To turn thee from the path of crime,
    Back to the Church's pale."
    And, did I need that, thou shouldst tell
    What mighty barriers rise
    To part me from that dungeon-cell,
    Where my loved Walter lies?

    And, did I need that thou shouldst taunt
    My dying hour at last,
    By bidding this worn spirit pant
    No more for what is past?
    Priest--must I cease to think of him?
    How hollow rings that word!
    Can time, can tears, can distance dim
    The memory of my lord?

    I said before, I saw not thee,
    Because, an hour agone,
    Over my eyeballs, heavily,
    The lids fell down like stone.
    But still my spirit's inward sight
    Beholds his image beam
    As fixed, as clear, as burning bright,
    As some red planet's gleam.

    Talk not of thy Last Sacrament,
    Tell not thy beads for me;
    Both rite and prayer are vainly spent,
    As dews upon the sea.
    Speak not one word of Heaven above,
    Rave not of Hell's alarms;
    Give me but back my Walter's love,
    Restore me to his arms!

    Then will the bliss of Heaven be won;
    Then will Hell shrink away,
    As I have seen night's terrors shun
    The conquering steps of day.
    'Tis my religion thus to love,
    My creed thus fixed to be;
    Not Death shall shake, nor Priestcraft break
    My rock-like constancy!

    Now go; for at the door there waits
    Another stranger guest;
    He calls--I come--my pulse scarce beats,
    My heart fails in my breast.
    Again that voice--how far away,
    How dreary sounds that tone!
    And I, methinks, am gone astray
    In trackless wastes and lone.

    I fain would rest a little while:
    Where can I find a stay,
    Till dawn upon the hills shall smile,
    And show some trodden way?
    "I come! I come!" in haste she said,
    "'Twas Walter's voice I heard!"
    Then up she sprang--but fell back, dead,
    His name her latest word.

    Charlotte Bronte


. Winter Stores

    WE take from life one little share,
    And say that this shall be
    A space, redeemed from toil and care,
    From tears and sadness free.

    And, haply, Death unstrings his bow,
    And Sorrow stands apart,
    And, for a little while, we know
    The sunshine of the heart.

    Existence seems a summer eve,
    Warm, soft, and full of peace,
    Our free, unfettered feelings give
    The soul its full release.

    A moment, then, it takes the power
    To call up thoughts that throw
    Around that charmed and hallowed hour,
    This life's divinest glow.

    But Time, though viewlessly it flies,
    And slowly, will not stay;
    Alike, through clear and clouded skies,
    It cleaves its silent way.

    Alike the bitter cup of grief,
    Alike the draught of bliss,
    Its progress leaves but moment brief
    For baffled lips to kiss

    The sparkling draught is dried away,
    The hour of rest is gone,
    And urgent voices, round us, say,
    "Ho, lingerer, hasten on!"

    And has the soul, then, only gained,
    From this brief time of ease,
    A moment's rest, when overstrained,
    One hurried glimpse of peace?

    No; while the sun shone kindly o'er us,
    And flowers bloomed round our feet,--
    While many a bud of joy before us
    Unclosed its petals sweet,--

    An unseen work within was plying;
    Like honey-seeking bee,
    From flower to flower, unwearied, flying,
    Laboured one faculty,--

    Thoughtful for Winter's future sorrow,
    Its gloom and scarcity;
    Prescient to-day, of want to-morrow,
    Toiled quiet Memory.

    'Tis she that from each transient pleasure
    Extracts a lasting good;
    'Tis she that finds, in summer, treasure
    To serve for winter's food.

    And when Youth's summer day is vanished,
    And Age brings Winter's stress,
    Her stores, with hoarded sweets replenished,
    Life's evening hours will bless.

    Charlotte Bronte


. The Missionary

    PLOUGH vessel, plough the British main,
    Seek the free ocean's wider plain;
    Leave English scenes and English skies,
    Unbind, dissever English ties;
    Bear me to climes remote and strange,
    Where altered life, fast-following change,
    Hot action, never-ceasing toil,
    Shall stir, turn, dig, the spirit's soil;
    Fresh roots shall plant, fresh seed shall sow,
    Till a new garden there shall grow,
    Cleared of the weeds that fill it now,--
    Mere human love, mere selfish yearning,
    Which, cherished, would arrest me yet.
    I grasp the plough, there's no returning,
    Let me, then, struggle to forget.

    But England's shores are yet in view,
    And England's skies of tender blue
    Are arched above her guardian sea.
    I cannot yet Remembrance flee;
    I must again, then, firmly face
    That task of anguish, to retrace.
    Wedded to home--I home forsake;
    Fearful of change--I changes make;
    Too fond of ease--I plunge in toil;
    Lover of calm--I seek turmoil:
    Nature and hostile Destiny
    Stir in my heart a conflict wild;
    And long and fierce the war will be
    Ere duty both has reconciled.

    What other tie yet holds me fast
    To the divorced, abandoned past?
    Smouldering, on my heart's altar lies
    The fire of some great sacrifice,
    Not yet half quenched. The sacred steel
    But lately struck my carnal will,
    My life-long hope, first joy and last,
    What I loved well, and clung to fast;
    What I wished wildly to retain,
    What I renounced with soul-felt pain;
    What--when I saw it, axe-struck, perish--
    Left me no joy on earth to cherish;
    A man bereft--yet sternly now
    I do confirm that Jephtha vow:
    Shall I retract, or fear, or flee?
    Did Christ, when rose the fatal tree
    Before him, on Mount Calvary?
    'Twas a long fight, hard fought, but won,
    And what I did was justly done.

    Yet, Helen! from thy love I turned,
    When my heart most for thy heart burned;
    I dared thy tears, I dared thy scorn--
    Easier the death-pang had been borne.
    Helen, thou mightst not go with me,
    I could not--dared not stay for thee!
    I heard, afar, in bonds complain
    The savage from beyond the main;
    And that wild sound rose o'er the cry
    Wrung out by passion's agony;
    And even when, with the bitterest tear
    I ever shed, mine eyes were dim,
    Still, with the spirit's vision clear,
    I saw Hell's empire, vast and grim,
    Spread on each Indian river's shore,
    Each realm of Asia covering o'er.
    There, the weak, trampled by the strong,
    Live but to suffer--hopeless die;
    There pagan-priests, whose creed is Wrong,
    Extortion, Lust, and Cruelty,
    Crush our lost race--and brimming fill
    The bitter cup of human ill;
    And I--who have the healing creed,
    The faith benign of Mary's Son,
    Shall I behold my brother's need,
    And, selfishly, to aid him shun?
    I--who upon my mother's knees,
    In childhood, read Christ's written word,
    Received his legacy of peace,
    His holy rule of action heard;
    I--in whose heart the sacred sense
    Of Jesus' love was early felt;
    Of his pure, full benevolence,
    His pitying tenderness for guilt;
    His shepherd-care for wandering sheep,
    For all weak, sorrowing, trembling things,
    His mercy vast, his passion deep
    Of anguish for man's sufferings;
    I--schooled from childhood in such lore--
    Dared I draw back or hesitate,
    When called to heal the sickness sore
    Of those far off and desolate?
    Dark, in the realm and shades of Death,
    Nations, and tribes, and empires lie,
    But even to them the light of Faith
    Is breaking on their sombre sky:
    And be it mine to bid them raise
    Their drooped heads to the kindling scene,
    And know and hail the sunrise blaze
    Which heralds Christ the Nazarene.
    I know how Hell the veil will spread
    Over their brows and filmy eyes,
    And earthward crush the lifted head
    That would look up and seek the skies;
    I know what war the fiend will wage
    Against that soldier of the Cross,
    Who comes to dare his demon rage,
    And work his kingdom shame and loss.
    Yes, hard and terrible the toil
    Of him who steps on foreign soil,
    Resolved to plant the gospel vine,
    Where tyrants rule and slaves repine;
    Eager to lift Religion's light
    Where thickest shades of mental night
    Screen the false god and fiendish rite;
    Reckless that missionary blood,
    Shed in wild wilderness and wood,
    Has left, upon the unblest air,
    The man's deep moan--the martyr's prayer.
    I know my lot--I only ask
    Power to fulfil the glorious task;
    Willing the spirit, may the flesh
    Strength for the day receive afresh.
    May burning sun or deadly wind
    Prevail not o'er an earnest mind;
    May torments strange or direst death
    Nor trample truth, nor baffle faith.
    Though such blood-drops should fall from me
    As fell in old Gethsemane,
    Welcome the anguish, so it gave
    More strength to work--more skill to save.
    And, oh! if brief must be my time,
    If hostile hand or fatal clime
    Cut short my course--still o'er my grave,
    Lord, may thy harvest whitening wave.
    So I the culture may begin,
    Let others thrust the sickle in;
    If but the seed will faster grow,
    May my blood water what I sow!

    What! have I ever trembling stood,
    And feared to give to God that blood?
    What! has the coward love of life
    Made me shrink from the righteous strife?
    Have human passions, human fears
    Severed me from those Pioneers
    Whose task is to march first, and trace
    Paths for the progress of our race?
    It has been so; but grant me, Lord,
    Now to stand steadfast by Thy word!
    Protected by salvation's helm,
    Shielded by faith, with truth begirt,
    To smile when trials seek to whelm
    And stand mid testing fires unhurt!
    Hurling hell's strongest bulwarks down,
    Even when the last pang thrills my breast,
    When death bestows the martyr's crown,
    And calls me into Jesus' rest.
    Then for my ultimate reward--
    Then for the world-rejoicing word--
    The voice from Father--Spirit--Son:
    "Servant of God, well hast thou done!"

    Charlotte Bronte

Poems by Emily Bronte

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