Brontë, Emily: Primary Sources
EMILY BRONTË: PRIMARY SOURCES
EMILY BRONTË (POEM DATE 1846)
SOURCE: Brontë, Emily. "How Clear She Shines." In The Poems of Emily Brontë, edited by Clement Shorter, pp. 31-32. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
In the following poem, originally published in the 1846 collection Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, Brontë displays some of the passionate motifs that later appear in Wuthering Heights.
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!
And this shall be my dream to-night;
I'll think the heaven of glorious spheres
Is rolling on its course of light
In endless bliss, through endless years;
I'll 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!
EMILY BRONTË (ESSAY DATE 1846)
SOURCE: Brontë, Emily. "No Coward Soul is Mine." In The Poems of Emily Brontë, edited by Clement Shorter, pp. 81-82. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
In the following poem, originally published in the 1846 collection Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, Brontë offers what many commentators have identified as a reflection of her personality and private beliefs. Charlotte Brontë published it with the preface, "The following are the last lines my sister Emily ever wrote." Emily Dickinson selected the poem to be read at her own funeral.
NO COWARD SOUL IS MINE
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.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
HARRIET MARTINEAU WRITES IN CHARLOTTE BRONTË'S OBITUARY ABOUT THE LIVES OF THE THREE SISTERS AND THE SHOCKING NATURE OF WUTHERING HEIGHTS
In her obituary notice of her two sisters 'Currer' reveals something of their process of authorship, and their experience of failure and success. How terrible some of their experience of life was, in the midst of the domestic freedom and indulgence afforded them by their studious father, may be seen by the fearful representatives of masculine nature of character found in the novels and tales of Emily and Anne. They considered it their duty … to present life as they knew it, and they gave us Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Such an experience as this indicates is really perplexing to English people in general, and all that we have to do with it is to bear it in mind when disposed to pass criticism on the coarseness which to a certain degree pervades the works of all the sisters, and the repulsiveness which makes the tales by Emily and Anne really horrible to people who have not iron nerves.
Martineau, Harriet. Excerpt from an obituary for Charlotte Brontë, Daily News, April 1855. In Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights : A Casebook, edited by Miriam Allott, p. 72. London: Macmillan, 1970.