Saturday, 18 December 2010

A Saturday Celebration: Emily Bronte

A Saturday Celebration: Emily Bronte

Tomorrow sees the anniversary of the death of one of Britain's most famous writers, Emily Bronte, author of the literary classic Wuthering Heights.

Emily Jane Bronte died on the 19th December 1848, aged just 30 years old.

Born in the village of Thornton, West Riding, Yorkshire, on 30th July 1818, Emily was the younger sister of Charlotte and the fifth of six children. In 1824 the family were to move to the village of Haworth where their father, Patrick Bronte was to take up residence as the perpetual vicar. It also gives me personal pleasure to be able to highlight one of the Bronte's today as the family are distant relations of mine, with their descendants marrying in to my grandmothers family who also herald from Haworth.

Emily was to only write one novel, Wuthering Heights, which was published in 1847, however before this she was to publish poetry, under the name Ellis Bell, which was published in 1846, under the title Poems by Curer, Ellis and Action Bell, a volume of work that also included the poetry of her sisters, Charlotte & Anne. It is her poetry that I wish to spotlight today.

At the age of 30 ill health was to take Emily, having caught a cold during the funeral of her brother. She was to die two months later, having refused "no poisoning doctor" near her. Her untimely death does leave you wondering, having written the all time classic Wuthering Heights, what other great classics would also have followed from her pen had death not taken her so soon?

One Stop Poetry Celebrates Emily Bronte;

The Old Stoic

RICHES I hold in light esteem
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanish'd 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!

Yea, as my swift days near their goal,
'Tis all that I implore:
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.


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?

"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.

"The long war closing in defeat--
Defeat serenely borne,--
Thy midnight rest may still be sweet,
And break in glorious morn!"


the walking man said...

Two great pieces that ring true today as they did at the beginning of the machine age.

"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?"

Beautiful and now it is time for the artists and writers to say the same again!

dustus said...

Fantastic post! Never knew Emily Bronte wrote such wonderful poetry in addition to her legendary novel. Both poems IMHO maintain many passages worth quoting. A shame she died so young. I would have loved to have read a second novel by EB. Quite the talented family, Pete :)

Hope said...

I love the works of both the Bronte sisters. I never knew that about her either. What poetry!
'Look on the grave where thou must sleep
Thy last, and strongest foe;It is endurance not to weep,
If that repose seem woe.'

thank you

Brian Miller said...

i too wonder what the world lost, far too early...great pieces you selected pete...

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers and Artists said...

i must have read about 15 of her poems to get the right two selected for this...and i also agree, they stand true today as they did back then....pete

moondustwriter said...

I always loved Wuthering Heights. The Bronte sisters made their mark on the literary community.

thanks for highlighting this brave woman

Anonymous said...

she was very lovely