Friday, May 14, 2010

Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell by Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë

When reading a poem for the first time, it's not exactly simple to give your immediate thoughts on it. I feel that you need to read a poem a few times over until you can give you honest impressions. That said, it is impossible to give an accurate review of this entire book of poetry by the sisters Brontë only reading it one time through. This is, however, a collection that I will often come back to.

Except maybe Charlotte's.

Charlotte is no great poet. I didn't want to skip over her poetry or even skim it, so I read it in full, but I read it a little bit at a faster pace than I usually would read poetry. I didn't connect with it. It wasn't great.

Emily and Anne's poetry was breathtaking, however. I had yet to read anything by Anne before reading her poetry, so this was my first experience with her words. I found them beautiful and thought provoking.

Anne's words were often about wanting to break free, while Emily's words were often inspired about the Parsonage and her love of her home.

With this, I'll leave you with my favorite poem in the collection:

Honour's Martyr by Emily Brontë

The moon is full this winter night;
The stars are clear, though few;
And every window glistens bright
With leaves of frozen dew.

The sweet moon through your lattice gleams,
And lights your room like day;
And there you pass, in happy dreams,
The peaceful hours away!

While I, with effort hardly quelling
The anguish in my breast,
Wander about the silent dwelling,
And cannot think of rest.

The old clock in the gloomy hall
Ticks on, from hour to hour;
And every time its measured call
Seems lingering slow and slower:

And, oh, how slow that keen-eyed star
Has tracked the chilly gray!
What, watching yet! how very far
The morning lies away!

Without your chamber door I stand;
Love, are you slumbering still?
My cold heart, underneath my hand,
Has almost ceased to thrill.

Bleak, bleak the east wind sobs and sighs,
And drowns the turret bell,
Whose sad note, undistinguished, dies
Unheard, like my farewell!

To-morrow, Scorn will blight my name,
And Hate will trample me,
Will load me with a coward's shame--
A traitor's perjury.

False friends will launch their covert sneers;
True friends will wish me dead;
And I shall cause the bitterest tears
That you have ever shed.

The dark deeds of my outlawed race
Will then like virtues shine;
And men will pardon their disgrace,
Beside the guilt of mine.

For, who forgives the accursed crime
Of dastard treachery?
Rebellion, in its chosen time,
May Freedom's champion be;

Revenge may stain a righteous sword,
It may be just to slay;
But, traitor, traitor,--from THAT word
All true breasts shrink away!

Oh, I would give my heart to death,
To keep my honour fair;
Yet, I'll not give my inward faith
My honour's NAME to spare!

Not even to keep your priceless love,
Dare I, Beloved, deceive;
This treason should the future prove,
Then, only then, believe!

I know the path I ought to go
I follow fearlessly,
Inquiring not what deeper woe
Stern duty stores for me.

So foes pursue, and cold allies
Mistrust me, every one:
Let me be false in others' eyes,
If faithful in my own.