20+ Best Anne Brontë Poems You Need To Read Now

Anne Brontë was an English novelist and poet, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family. The daughter of Patrick Brontë, a poor Irish clergyman in the Church of England, Anne Brontë lived most of her life with her family at the parish of Haworth on the Yorkshire moors.

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Famous Anne Brontë Poems

The Student’s Serenade

I have slept upon my couch,
But my spirit did not rest,
For the labours of the day
Yet my weary soul opprest;
And, before my dreaming eyes
Still the learned volumes lay,
And I could not close their leaves,
And I could not turn away.

But I oped my eyes at last,
And I heard a muffled sound;
‘Twas the night-breeze, come to say
That the snow was on the ground.

Then I knew that there was rest
On the mountain’s bosom free;
So I left my fevered couch,
And I flew to waken thee!

I have flown to waken thee —
For, if thou wilt not arise,
Then my soul can drink no peace
From these holy moonlight skies.

And, this waste of virgin snow
To my sight will not be fair,
Unless thou wilt smiling come,
Love, to wander with me there.

Then, awake! Maria, wake!
For, if thou couldst only know
How the quiet moonlight sleeps
On this wilderness of snow,

And the groves of ancient trees,
In their snowy garb arrayed,
Till they stretch into the gloom
Of the distant valley’s shade;

I know thou wouldst rejoice
To inhale this bracing air;
Thou wouldst break thy sweetest sleep
To behold a scene so fair.

O’er these wintry wilds, alone,
Thou wouldst joy to wander free;
And it will not please thee less,
Though that bliss be shared with me.

Self Communion

‘The mist is resting on the hill;
The smoke is hanging in the air;
The very clouds are standing still:
A breathless calm broods everywhere.
Thou pilgrim through this vale of tears,
Thou, too, a little moment cease
Thy anxious toil and fluttering fears,
And rest thee, for a while, in peace.’

‘I would, but Time keeps working still
And moving on for good or ill:
He will not rest or stay.
In pain or ease, in smiles or tears,
He still keeps adding to my years
And stealing life away.
His footsteps in the ceaseless sound
Of yonder clock I seem to hear,
That through this stillness so profound
Distinctly strikes the vacant ear.
For ever striding on and on,
He pauses not by night or day;
And all my life will soon be gone
As these past years have slipped away.
He took my childhood long ago,
And then my early youth; and lo,
He steals away my prime!
I cannot see how fast it goes,
But well my inward spirit knows
The wasting power of time.’

‘Time steals thy moments, drinks thy breath,
Changes and wastes thy mortal frame;
But though he gives the clay to death,
He cannot touch the inward flame.
Nay, though he steals thy years away,
Their memory is left thee still,
And every month and every day
Leaves some effect of good or ill.
The wise will find in Memory’s store
A help for that which lies before
To guide their course aright;
Then, hush thy plaints and calm thy fears;
Look back on these departed years,
And, say, what meets thy sight?’

‘I see, far back, a helpless child,
Feeble and full of causeless fears,
Simple and easily beguiled
To credit all it hears.
More timid than the wild wood-dove,
Yet trusting to another’s care,
And finding in protecting love
Its only refuge from despair, -­
Its only balm for every woe,
The only bliss its soul can know; -­
Still hiding in its breast.
A tender heart too prone to weep,
A love so earnest, strong, and deep
It could not be expressed.

Poor helpless thing! what can it do
Life’s stormy cares and toils among; -­
How tread this weary desert through
That awes the brave and tires the strong?
Where shall it centre so much trust
Where truth maintains so little sway,
Where seeming fruit is bitter dust,
And kisses oft to death betray?
How oft must sin and falsehood grieve
A heart so ready to believe,
And willing to admire!
With strength so feeble, fears so strong,
Amid this selfish bustling throng,
How will it faint and tire!

That tender love so warm and deep,
How can it flourish here below?
What bitter floods of tears must steep
The stony soil where it would grow!
O earth! a rocky breast is thine ­
A hard soil and a cruel clime,
Where tender plants must droop and pine,
Or alter with transforming time.
That soul, that clings to sympathy,
As ivy clasps the forest tree,
How can it stand alone?
That heart so prone to overflow
E’en at the thought of others’ woe,
How will it bear its own?

How, if a sparrow’s death can wring
Such bitter tear-floods from the eye,
Will it behold the suffering
Of struggling, lost humanity?
The torturing pain, the pining grief,
The sin-degraded misery,
The anguish that defies relief?’

‘Look back again ­- What dost thou see?’

‘I see one kneeling on the sod,
With infant hands upraised to Heaven,
A young heart feeling after God,
Oft baffled, never backward driven.
Mistaken oft, and oft astray,
It strives to find the narrow way,
But gropes and toils alone:
That inner life of strife and tears,
Of kindling hopes and lowering fears
To none but God is known.
‘Tis better thus; for man would scorn
Those childish prayers, those artless cries,
That darkling spirit tossed and torn,
But God will not despise!
We may regret such waste of tears
Such darkly toiling misery,
Such ‘wildering doubts and harrowing fears,
Where joy and thankfulness should be;
But wait, and Heaven will send relief.
Let patience have her perfect work:
Lo, strength and wisdom spring from grief,
And joys behind afflictions lurk!

It asked for light, and it is heard;
God grants that struggling soul repose
And, guided by His holy word,
It wiser than its teachers grows.
It gains the upward path at length,
And passes on from strength to strength,
Leaning on Heaven the while:
Night’s shades departing one by one,
It sees at last the rising sun,
And feels his cheering smile.
In all its darkness and distress
For light it sought, to God it cried;
And through the pathless wilderness,
He was its comfort and its guide.’

‘So was it, and so will it be:
Thy God will guide and strengthen thee;
His goodness cannot fail.
The sun that on thy morning rose
Will light thee to the evening’s close,
Whatever storms assail.’

‘God alters not; but Time on me
A wide and wondrous change has wrought:
And in these parted years I see
Cause for grave care and saddening thought.
I see that time, and toil, and truth,
An inward hardness can impart, -­
Can freeze the generous blood of youth,
And steel full fast the tender heart.’

‘Bless God for that divine decree! -­
That hardness comes with misery,
And suffering deadens pain;
That at the frequent sight of woe
E’en Pity’s tears forget to flow,
If reason still remain!
Reason, with conscience by her side,
But gathers strength from toil and truth;
And she will prove a surer guide
Than those sweet instincts of our youth.
Thou that hast known such anguish sore
In weeping where thou couldst not bless,
Canst thou that softness so deplore -­
That suffering, shrinking tenderness?
Thou that hast felt what cankering care
A loving heart is doomed to bear,
Say, how canst thou regret
That fires unfed must fall away,
Long droughts can dry the softest clay,
And cold will cold beget?’

‘Nay, but ’tis hard to feel that chill
Come creeping o’er the shuddering heart.
Love may be full of pain, but still,
‘Tis sad to see it so depart, -­
To watch that fire whose genial glow
Was formed to comfort and to cheer,
For want of fuel, fading so,
Sinking to embers dull and drear, -­
To see the soft soil turned to stone
For lack of kindly showers, -­
To see those yearnings of the breast,
Pining to bless and to be blessed,
Drop withered, frozen one by one,
Till, centred in itself alone,
It wastes its blighted powers.

Oh, I have known a wondrous joy
In early friendship’s pure delight, -­
A genial bliss that could not cloy -­
My sun by day, my moon by night.
Absence, indeed, was sore distress,
And thought of death was anguish keen,
And there was cruel bitterness
When jarring discords rose between;
And sometimes it was grief to know
My fondness was but half returned.
But this was nothing to the woe
With which another truth was learned: -­
That I must check, or nurse apart,
Full many an impulse of the heart
And many a darling thought:
What my soul worshipped, sought, and prized,
Were slighted, questioned, or despised; -­
This pained me more than aught.
And as my love the warmer glowed
The deeper would that anguish sink,
That this dark stream between us flowed,
Though both stood bending o’er its brink;
Until, as last, I learned to bear
A colder heart within my breast;
To share such thoughts as I could share,
And calmly keep the rest.
I saw that they were sundered now,
The trees that at the root were one:
They yet might mingle leaf and bough,
But still the stems must stand alone.

O love is sweet of every kind!
‘Tis sweet the helpless to befriend,
To watch the young unfolding mind,
To guide, to shelter, and defend:
To lavish tender toil and care,
And ask for nothing back again,
But that our smiles a blessing bear
And all our toil be not in vain.
And sweeter far than words can tell
Their love whose ardent bosoms swell
With thoughts they need not hide;
Where fortune frowns not on their joy,
And Prudence seeks not to destroy,
Nor Reason to deride.

Whose love may freely gush and flow,
Unchecked, unchilled by doubt or fear,
For in their inmost hearts they know
It is not vainly nourished there.
They know that in a kindred breast
Their long desires have found a home,
Where heart and soul may kindly rest,
Weary and lorn no more to roam.
Their dreams of bliss were not in vain,
As they love they are loved again,
And they can bless as they are blessed.

O vainly might I seek to show
The joys from happy love that flow!
The warmest words are all too cold
The secret transports to unfold
Of simplest word or softest sigh,
Or from the glancing of an eye
To say what rapture beams;
One look that bids our fears depart,
And well assures the trusting heart.
It beats not in the world alone -­
Such speechless rapture I have known,
But only in my dreams.

My life has been a morning sky
Where Hope her rainbow glories cast
O’er kindling vapours far and nigh:
And, if the colours faded fast,
Ere one bright hue had died away
Another o’er its ashes gleamed;
And if the lower clouds were grey,
The mists above more brightly beamed.
But not for long; ­- at length behold,
Those tints less warm, less radiant grew;
Till but one streak of paly gold
Glimmered through clouds of saddening hue.
And I am calmly waiting, now,
To see that also pass away,
And leave, above the dark hill’s brow,
A rayless arch of sombre grey.’

‘So must it fare with all thy race
Who seek in earthly things their joy:
So fading hopes lost hopes shall chase
Till Disappointment all destroy.
But they that fix their hopes on high
Shall, in the blue-refulgent sky,
The sun’s transcendent light,
Behold a purer, deeper glow
Than these uncertain gleams can show,
However fair or bright.
O weak of heart! why thus deplore
That Truth will Fancy’s dreams destroy?
Did I not tell thee, years before,
Life was for labour, not for joy?
Cease, selfish spirit, to repine;
O’er thine own ills no longer grieve;
Lo, there are sufferings worse than thine,
Which thou mayst labour to relieve.
If Time indeed too swiftly flies,
Gird on thine armour, haste, arise,
For thou hast much to do; ­-
To lighten woe, to trample sin,
And foes without and foes within
To combat and subdue.
Earth hath too much of sin and pain:
The bitter cup -­ the binding chain
Dost thou indeed lament?
Let not thy weary spirit sink;
But strive -­ not by one drop or link
The evil to augment.
Strive rather thou, by peace and joy,
The bitter poison to destroy,
The cruel chain to break.
O strive! and if thy strength be small,
Strive yet the more, and spend it all
For Love and Wisdom’s sake!’

‘O I have striven both hard and long
But many are my foes and strong.
My gains are light -­ my progress slow;
For hard’s the way I have to go,
And my worst enemies, I know,
Are these within my breast;
And it is hard to toil for aye, -­
Through sultry noon and twilight grey
To toil and never rest.’

‘There is a rest beyond the grave,
A lasting rest from pain and sin,
Where dwell the faithful and the brave;
But they must strive who seek to win.’
“Show me that rest -­ I ask no more.
Oh, drive these misty doubts away;
And let me see that sunny shore,
However far away!
However wide this rolling sea,
However wild my passage be,
Howe’er my bark be tempest tossed,
May it but reach that haven fair,
May I but land and wander there,
With those that I have loved and lost:
With such a glorious hope in view,
I’ll gladly toil and suffer too.
Rest without toil I would not ask;
I would not shun the hardest task:
Toil is my glory -­ Grief my gain,
If God’s approval they obtain.
Could I but hear my Saviour say, -­
“I know thy patience and thy love;
How thou hast held the narrow way,
For my sake laboured night and day,
And watched, and striven with them that strove;
And still hast borne, and didst not faint,” -­
Oh, this would be reward indeed!’

‘Press forward, then, without complaint;
Labour and love -­ and such shall be thy meed.’

Song

We know where deepest lies the snow,
And where the frost-winds keenest blow,
O’er every mountain’s brow,
We long have known and learnt to bear
The wandering outlaw’s toil and care,
But where we late were hunted, there
Our foes are hunted now.
We have their princely homes, and they
To our wild haunts are chased away,
Dark woods, and desert caves.
And we can range from hill to hill,
And chase our vanquished victors still;
Small respite will they find until
They slumber in their graves.

But I would rather be the hare,
That crouching in its sheltered lair
Must start at every sound;
That forced from cornfields waving wide
Is driven to seek the bare hillside,
Or in the tangled copse to hide,
Than be the hunter’s hound.

Parting Address From Z.Z. To A.E.

O weep not, love! each tear that springs
In those dear eyes of thine,
To me a keener suffering brings
Than if they flowed from mine.
And do not droop! however drear
The fate awaiting thee.
For my sake, combat pain and care,
And cherish life for me!

I do not fear thy love will fail,
Thy faith is true I know;
But O! my love! thy strength is frail
For such a life of woe.

Were’t not for this, I well could trace
(Though banished long from thee)
Life’s rugged path, and boldly face
The storms that threaten me.

Fear not for me -­ I’ve steeled my mind
Sorrow and strife to greet,
Joy with my love I leave behind,
Care with my friends I meet.

A mother’s sad reproachful eye,
A father’s scowling brow -­
But he may frown, and she may sigh;
I will not break my vow!

I love my mother, I revere
My sire, but doubt not me.
Believe that Death alone can tear
This faithful heart from thee.

The Parting (2)

1

The lady of Alzerno’s hall
Is waiting for her lord;
The blackbird’s song, the cuckoo’s call
No joy to her afford.
She smiles not at the summer’s sun,
Nor at the winter’s blast;
She mourns that she is still alone
Though three long years have passed.

2

I knew her when her eye was bright,
I knew her when her step was light
And blithesome as a mountain doe’s,
And when her cheek was like the rose,
And when her voice was full and free,
And when her smile was sweet to see.

3

But now the lustre of her eye,
So dimmed with many a tear;
Her footstep’s elasticity,
Is tamed with grief and fear;
The rose has left her hollow cheeks;
In low and mournful tone she speaks,
And when she smiles ’tis but a gleam
Of sunshine on a winter’s day,
That faintly beams through dreary clouds,
And in a moment dies away.
It does not warm, it does not cheer,
It makes us sigh for summer days
When fields are green, and skies are clear,
And when the sun has kinder rays.

4

For three years she has waited there,
Still hoping for her lord’s return,
But vainly she may hope and fear
And vainly watch and weep and mourn;
She may wait him till her hairs are grey,
And she may wear her life away,
But to his lady and his home
Her noble lord will never come.

5

‘I wish I knew the worst,’ she said,
‘I wish I could despair.
These fruitless hopes, this constant dread,
Are more than I can bear!’ —
‘Then do not hope and do not weep,
He loved thee faithfully,
And nothing short of death could keep
So true a heart from thee;
Eliza, he would never go,
And leave thee thus to mourn,
He must be dead, for death alone
Could hinder his return.’

6

‘Twas thus I spoke because I felt
As if my heart would break,
To see her thus so slowly pining
For Alzerno’s sake.
But more than that I would not tell,
Though all the while I knew so well
The time and nature of his death.
For when he drew his parting breath
His head was pillowed on my knee,
And his dark eyes were turned to me
With and agonised heart-breaking glance,
Until they saw me not —
O, the look of a dying man
Can never be forgot –!

Alexandrina Zenobia
1837

Weep Not Too Much

Weep not too much, my darling;
Sigh not too oft for me;
Say not the face of Nature
Has lost its charm for thee.
I have enough of anguish
In my own breast alone;
Thou canst not ease the burden, Love,
By adding still thine own.
I know the faith and fervour
Of that true heart of thine;
But I would have it hopeful
As thou wouldst render mine.
At night, when I lie waking,
More soothing it will be
To say ‘She slumbers calmly now,’
Than say ‘She weeps for me.’

When through the prison grating
The holy moonbeams shine,
And I am wildly longing
To see the orb divine
Not crossed, deformed, and sullied
By those relentless bars
That will not show the crescent moon,
And scarce the twinkling stars,

It is my only comfort
To think, that unto thee
The sight is not forbidden —
The face of heaven is free.
If I could think Zerona
Is gazing upward now —
Is gazing with a tearless eye
A calm unruffled brow;

That moon upon her spirit
Sheds sweet, celestial balm, —
The thought, like Angel’s whisper,
My misery would calm.
And when, at early morning,
A faint flush comes to me,
Reflected from those glowing skies
I almost weep to see;

Or when I catch the murmur
Of gently swaying trees,
Or hear the louder swelling
Of the soul-inspiring breeze,
And pant to feel its freshness
Upon my burning brow,
Or sigh to see the twinkling leaf,
And watch the waving bough;

If, from these fruitless yearnings
Thou wouldst deliver me,
Say that the charms of Nature
Are lovely still to thee;
While I am thus repining,
O! let me but believe,
‘These pleasures are not lost to her,’
And I will cease to grieve.

O, scorn not Nature’s bounties!
My soul partakes with thee.
Drink bliss from all her fountains,
Drink for thyself and me!
Say not, ‘My soul is buried
In dungeon gloom with thine;’
But say, ‘His heart is here with me;
His spirit drinks with mine.’

A.E.

Lines Written At Thorp Green

That summer sun, whose genial glow
Now cheers my drooping spirit so
Must cold and distant be,
And only light our northern clime
With feeble ray, before the time
I long so much to see.
And this soft whispering breeze that now
So gently cools my fevered brow,
This too, alas, must turn —
To a wild blast whose icy dart
Pierces and chills me to the heart,
Before I cease to mourn.

And these bright flowers I love so well,
Verbena, rose and sweet bluebell,
Must droop and die away.
Those thick green leaves with all their shade
And rustling music, they must fade
And every one decay.

But if the sunny summer time
And woods and meadows in their prime
Are sweet to them that roam —
Far sweeter is the winter bare
With long dark nights and landscapes drear
To them that are at Home!

Mirth And Mourning

‘O cast away your sorrow; —
A while, at least, be gay!
If grief must come tomorrow,
At least, be glad today!
‘How can you still be sighing
When smiles are everywhere?
The little birds are flying
So blithely through the air;

‘The sunshine glows so brightly
O’er all the blooming earth;
And every heart beats lightly, —
Each face is full of mirth.’

‘I always feel the deepest gloom
When day most brightly shines:
When Nature shows the fairest bloom,
My spirit most repines;

‘For, in the brightest noontide glow,
The dungeon’s light is dim;
Though freshest winds around us blow,
No breath can visit him.

‘If he must sit in twilight gloom,
Can I enjoy the sight
Of mountains clad in purple bloom,
And rocks in sunshine bright? —

‘My heart may well be desolate, —
These tears may well arise
While prison wall and iron grate
Oppress his weary eyes.’

‘But think of him tomorrow,
And join your comrades now; —
That constant cloud of sorrow
Ill suits so young a brow.

‘Hark, how their merry voices
Are sounding far and near!
While all the world rejoices
Can you sit moping here?’

‘When others’ hearts most lightly bound
Mine feels the most oppressed;
When smiling faces greet me round
My sorrow will not rest:

‘I think of him whose faintest smile
Was sunshine to my heart,
Whose lightest word could care beguile
And blissful thoughts impart;

‘I think how he would bless that sun,
And love this glorious scene;
I think of all that has been done,
And all that might have been.

‘Those sparkling eyes, that blessed me so,
Are dim with weeping now;
And blighted hope and burning woe
Have ploughed that marble brow.

‘What waste of youth, what hopes destroyed,
What days of pining care,
What weary nights of comfort void
Art thou condemned to bear!

‘O! if my love must suffer so —
And wholly for my sake —
What marvel that my tears should flow, —
Or that my heart should break!’

Severed And Gone

Severed and gone, so many years!
And art thou still so dear to me,
That throbbing heart and burning tears
Can witness how I cling to thee?
I know that in the narrow tomb
The form I loved was buried deep,
And left, in silence and in gloom,
To slumber out its dreamless sleep.

I know the corner where it lies,
Is but a dreary place of rest:
The charnel moisture never dries
From the dark flagstones o’er its breast,

For there the sunbeams never shine,
Nor ever breathes the freshening air,
­- But not for this do I repine;
For my beloved is not there.

O, no! I do not think of thee
As festering there in slow decay: ­-
‘Tis this sole thought oppresses me,
That thou art gone so far away.

For ever gone; for I, by night,
Have prayed, within my silent room,
That Heaven would grant a burst of light
Its cheerless darkness to illume;

And give thee to my longing eyes,
A moment, as thou shinest now,
Fresh from thy mansion in the skies,
With all its glories on thy brow.

Wild was the wish, intense the gaze
I fixed upon the murky air,
Expecting, half, a kindling blaze
Would strike my raptured vision there, —

A shape these human nerves would thrill,
A majesty that might appal,
Did not thy earthly likeness, still,
Gleam softly, gladly, through it all.

False hope! vain prayer! it might not be
That thou shouldst visit earth again.
I called on Heaven –­ I called on thee,
And watched, and waited –­ all in vain.

Had I one shining tress of thine,
How it would bless these longing eyes!
Or if thy pictured form were mine,
What gold should rob me of the prize?

A few cold words on yonder stone,
A corpse as cold as they can be -­
Vain words, and mouldering dust, alone -­
Can this be all that’s left of thee?

O, no! thy spirit lingers still
Where’er thy sunny smile was seen:
There’s less of darkness, less of chill
On earth, than if thou hadst not been.

Thou breathest in my bosom yet,
And dwellest in my beating heart;
And, while I cannot quite forget,
Thou, darling, canst not quite depart.

Though, freed from sin, and grief, and pain
Thou drinkest now the bliss of Heaven,
Thou didst not visit earth in vain;
And from us, yet, thou art not riven.

Life seems more sweet that thou didst live,
And men more true that thou wert one:
Nothing is lost that thou didst give,
Nothing destroyed that thou hast done.

Earth hath received thine earthly part;
Thine heavenly flame has heavenward flown;
But both still linger in my heart,
Still live, and not in mine alone.

The Penitent

I mourn with thee and yet rejoice
That thou shouldst sorrow so;
With Angel choirs I join my voice
To bless the sinner’s woe.
Though friends and kindred turn away
And laugh thy grief to scorn,
I hear the great Redeemer say
‘Blessed are ye that mourn’.

Hold on thy course nor deem it strange
That earthly cords are riven.
Man may lament the wondrous change
But ‘There is joy in Heaven’!

Stanzas

Oh, weep not, love! each tear that springs
In those dear eyes of thine,
To me a keener suffering brings,
Than if they flowed from mine.
And do not droop! however drear
The fate awaiting thee;
For my sake combat pain and care,
And cherish life for me!

I do not fear thy love will fail;
Thy faith is true, I know;
But, oh, my love! thy strength is frail
For such a life of woe.

Were’t not for this, I well could trace
(Though banished long from thee,)
Life’s rugged path, and boldly face
The storms that threaten me.

Fear not for me -­ I’ve steeled my mind
Sorrow and strife to greet;
Joy with my love I leave behind,
Care with my friends I meet.

A mother’s sad reproachful eye,
A father’s scowling brow -­
But he may frown and she may sigh:
I will not break my vow!

I love my mother, I revere
My sire, but fear not me­
Believe that Death alone can tear
This faithful heart from thee.

Acton

The North Wind

That wind is from the North, I know it well;
No other breeze could have so wild a swell.
Now deep and loud it thunders round my cell,
The faintly dies,
And softly sighs,
And moans and murmurs mournfully.
I know its language; thus is speaks to me —
‘I have passed over thy own mountains dear,
Thy northern mountains — and they still are free,
Still lonely, wild, majestic, bleak and drear,
And stern and lovely, as they used to be
When thou, a young enthusiast,
As wild and free as they,
O’er rocks and glens and snowy heights
Didst often love to stray.

I’ve blown the wild untrodden snows
In whirling eddies from their brows,
And I have howled in caverns wild
Where thou, a joyous mountain child,
Didst dearly love to be.
The sweet world is not changed, but thou
Art pining in a dungeon now,
Where thou must ever be;
No voice but mine can reach thine ear,
And Heaven has kindly sent me here,
To mourn and sigh with thee,
And tell thee of the cherished land
Of thy nativity.’

Blow on, wild wind, thy solemn voice,
However sad and drear,
Is nothing to the gloomy silence
I have had to bear.

Hot tears are streaming from my eyes,
But these are better far
Than that dull gnawing tearless [time]
The stupor of despair.

Confined and hopeless as I am,
O speak of liberty,
O tell me of my mountain home,
And I will welcome thee.

Alexandrina Zenobia

Z———‘s Dream

I dreamt last night; and in that dream
My boyhood’s heart was mine again;
These latter years did nothing seem
With all their mingled joy and pain,
Their thousand deeds of good and ill,
Their hopes which time did not fulfil,
Their glorious moments of success,
Their love that closed in bitterness,
Their hate that grew with growing strength,
Their darling projects — dropped at length,
And higher aims that still prevail, —
For I must perish ere they fail, —
That crowning object of my life,
The end of all my toil and strife,
Source of my virtues and my crimes,
For which I’ve toiled and striven in vain, —
But, if I fail a thousand times,
Still I will toil and strive again: —
Yet even this was then forgot;
My present heart and soul were not:
All the rough lessons life has taught,
That are become a part of me,
A moment’s sleep to nothing brought
And made me what I used to be.
And I was roaming, light and gay,
Upon a breezy, sunny day,
A bold and careless youth;
No guilty stain was on my mind;
And, if not over soft or kind,
My heart was full of truth.
It was a well-known mountain scene; —
Wild steeps, with rugged glens between
I should have thirsted to explore,
Had I not trod them oft before.
A younger boy was with me there.
His hand upon my shoulder leant;
His heart, like mine, was free from care,
His breath, with sportive toil, was spent;
For my rough pastimes he would share,
And equal dangers loved to dare,
(Though seldom I would care to vie
In learning’s keen pursuit with him;
I loved free air and open sky
Better than books and tutors grim,)
And we had wandered far that day
O’er that forbidden ground away —
Ground, to our rebel feet how dear;
Danger and freedom both were there! —
Had climbed the steep and coursed the dale
Until his strength began to fail.

He bade me pause and breathe a while,
But spoke it with a happy smile.

His lips were parted to inhale
The breeze that swept the ferny dale,
And chased the clouds across the sky,
And waved his locks in passing by,
And fanned my cheek; (so real did seem
This strange, untrue, but truthlike dream;)
And, as we stood, I laughed to see
His fair young cheek so brightly glow.
He turned his sparkling eyes to me
With looks no painter’s art could show,
Nor words portray; — but earnest mirth,
And truthful love I there descried;
And, while I thought upon his worth,
My bosom glowed with joy and pride.

I could have kissed his forehead fair;
I could nave clasped him to my heart;
But tenderness with me was rare,
And I must take a rougher part:
I seized him in my boisterous mirth;
I bore him struggling to the earth
And grappling, strength for strength we strove —
He half in wrath, — I all for love;
But I gave o’er the strife at length,
Ashamed of my superior strength, —
The rather that I marked his eye
Kindle as if a change were nigh.

We paused to breathe a little space,
Reclining on the heather brae;
But still I gazed upon his face
To watch the shadow pass away.
I grasped his hand, and it was fled; —
A smile — a laugh — and all was well: —
Upon my breast he leant his head,
And into graver talk we fell, —
More serious — yet so blest did seem
That calm communion then,
That, when I found it but a dream,
I longed to sleep again.

At first, remembrance slowly woke.
Surprise, regret, successive rose,
That love’s strong cords should thus be broke
And dearest friends turn deadliest foes.
Then, like a cold, o’erwhelming flood
Upon my soul it burst ————
This heart had thirsted for his blood;
This hand allayed that thirst!
These eyes had watched, without a tear,
His dying agony;
These ears, unmoved, had heard his prayer;
This tongue had cursed him suffering there,
And mocked him bitterly!

Unwonted weakness o’er me crept;
I sighed — nay, weaker still — I wept!
Wept, like a woman o’er the deed
I had been proud to do: —
As I had made his bosom bleed;
My own was bleeding too.

Back foolish tears! — the man I slew
Was not the boy I cherished so;
And that young arm that clasped the friend
Was not the same that stabbed the foe:
By time and adverse thoughts estranged,
And wrongs and vengeance, both were changed.
Repentance, now, were worse that vain:
Time’s current cannot backward run;
And be the action wrong or right,
It is for ever done.
Then reap the fruits — I’ve said his death
Should be my country’s gain: —
If not — then I have spent my breath,
And spilt his blood in vain:
And I have laboured hard and long,
But little good obtained;
My foes are many, yet, and strong,
Not half the battle’s gained;
For, still, the greater deeds I’ve done,
The more I have to do.
The faster I can journey on,
The farther I must go.
If Fortune favoured for a while,
I could not rest beneath her smile,
Nor triumph in success:
When I have gained one river’s shore
A wilder torrent, stretched before,
Defies me with its deafening roar;
And onward I must press.
And, much I doubt, this work of strife,
In blood and death begun,
Will call for many a victim more
Before the cause is won. —
Well! my own life, I’d freely give
Ere I would fail in my design; —
The cause must prosper if I live,
And I will die if it decline:
Advanced this far, I’ll not recede; —
Whether to vanquish or to bleed,
Onward, unchecked, I must proceed.
Be Death, or Victory mine!

EZ–

Song 2

Come to the banquet — triumph in your songs!
Strike up the chords — and sing of Victory!
The oppressed have risen to redress their wrongs;
The Tyrants are o’erthrown; the Land is free!
The Land is free! Aye, shout it forth once more;
Is she not red with her oppressors’ gore?
We are her champions — shall we not rejoice?
Are not the tyrants’ broad domains our own?
Then wherefore triumph with a faltering voice;
And talk of freedom in a doubtful tone?
Have we not longed through life the reign to see
Of Justice, linked with Glorious Liberty?

Shout you that will, and you that can rejoice
To revel in the riches of your foes.
In praise of deadly vengeance lift you voice,
Gloat o’er your tyrants’ blood, you victims’ woes.
I’d rather listen to the skylarks’ songs,
And think on Gondal’s, and my Father’s wrongs.

It may be pleasant, to recall the death
Of those beneath whose sheltering roof you lie;
But I would rather press the mountain heath,
With naught to shield me from the starry sky,
And dream of yet untasted victory —
A distant hope — and feel that I am free!

O happy life! To range the mountains wild,
The waving woods — or Ocean’s heaving breast,
With limbs unfettered, conscience undefiled,
And choosing where to wander, where to rest!
Hunted, oppressed, but ever strong to cope —
With toils, and perils — ever full of hope!

‘Our flower is budding’ — When that word was heard
On desert shore, or breezy mountain’s brow,
Wherever said — what glorious thoughts it stirred!
‘Twas budding then — Say has it blossomed now?
Is this the end we struggled to obtain?
O for the wandering Outlaw’s life again!

To ——–

I will not mourn thee, lovely one,
Though thou art torn away.
‘Tis said that if the morning sun
Arise with dazzling ray
And shed a bright and burning beam
Athwart the glittering main,
‘Ere noon shall fade that laughing gleam
Engulfed in clouds and rain.

And if thy life as transient proved,
It hath been full as bright,
For thou wert hopeful and beloved;
Thy spirit knew no blight.

If few and short the joys of life
That thou on earth couldst know,
Little thou knew’st of sin and strife
Nor much of pain and woe.

If vain thy earthly hopes did prove,
Thou canst not mourn their flight;
Thy brightest hopes were fixed above
And they shall know no blight.

And yet I cannot check my sighs,
Thou wert so young and fair,
More bright than summer morning skies,
But stern death would not spare;

He would not pass our darling by
Nor grant one hour’s delay,
But rudely closed his shining eye
And frowned his smile away,

That angel smile that late so much
Could my fond heart rejoice;
And he has silenced by his touch
The music of thy voice.

I’ll weep no more thine early doom,
But O! I still must mourn
The pleasures buried in thy tomb,
For they will not return.

The Three Guides

1
Spirit of earth! thy hand is chill.
I’ve felt its icy clasp;
And shuddering I remember still
That stony-hearted grasp.
Thine eye bids love and joy depart,
O turn its gaze from me!
It presses down my sinking heart; —
I will not walk with thee!

2
‘Wisdom is mine,’ I’ve heard thee say,
‘Beneath my searching eye,
All mist and darkness melt away,
Phantoms and fables fly.
Before me, truth can stand alone,
The naked, solid truth:
And man matured my worth will own,
If I am shunned by youth.

3
‘Firm is my tread, and sure, though slow:
My footsteps never slide:
And he that follows me shall know
I am the surest guide.’
Thy boast is vain: but were it true
That thou couldst safely steer
Life’s rough and devious pathway through
Such guidance I should fear.

4
How could I bear to walk for aye,
With eyes to earthward prone,
O’er trampled weeds, and miry clay,
And sand, and flinty stone.
Never the glorious view to greet
Of hill and dale and sky,
To see that Nature’s charms are sweet
Or feel that Heaven is nigh?

5
If, in my heart arose a spring —
A gush of thought divine,
At once stagnation thou wouldst bring
With that cold touch of thine!
If glancing up, I sought to snatch
But one glimpse of the sky,
My baffled gaze would only catch
Thy heartless, cold grey eye.

6
If, to the breezes wandering near,
I listened eagerly,
And deemed an angel’s tongue to hear
That whispered hope to me,
That heavenly music would be drowned
In thy harsh, droning voice,
Nor inward thought, nor sight, nor sound
Might my sad soul rejoice.

7
Dull is thine ear; unheard by thee
The still small voice of Heaven.
Thine eyes are dim, and cannot see
The helps that God has given.
There is a bridge, o’er every flood,
Which thou canst not perceive,
A path, through every tangled wood;
But thou will not believe.

8
Striving to make thy way by force,
Toil-spent and bramble torn,
Thou’lt fell the tree that stops thy course,
And burst through briar and thorn;
And pausing by the river’s side,
Poor reasoner, thou wilt deem,
By casting pebbles in its tide
To cross the swelling stream.

9
Right through the flinty rock thou’lt try
Thy toilsome way to bore,
Regardless of the pathway nigh
That would conduct thee o’er.
Not only are thou, then, unkind,
And freezing cold to me,
But unbelieving, deaf, and blind —
I will not walk with thee!

10
Spirit of Pride! thy wings are strong;
Thine eyes like lightning shine;
Ecstatic joys to thee belong
And powers almost divine.
But ’tis a false destructive blaze,
Within those eyes I see,
Turn hence their fascinating gaze —
I will not follow thee!

11
‘Coward and fool!’ thou mayst reply;
‘Walk on the common sod;
Go trace, with timid foot and eye,
The steps by others trod.
‘Tis best the beaten path to keep,
The ancient faith to hold,
To pasture with thy fellow sheep,
And lie within the fold.

12
‘Cling to the earth, poor grovelling worm,
‘Tis not for thee to soar
Against the fury of the storm,
Amid the thunder’s roar.
There’s glory in that daring strife
Unknown, undreamt by thee;
There’s speechless rapture in the life
Of those who follow me!’

13
Yes; I have seen thy votaries oft,
Upheld by thee their guide,
In strength and courage mount aloft
The steepy mountain-side;
I’ve seen them stand against the sky,
And gazing from below
Beheld thy lightning in their eye,
Thy triumph on their brow.

14
Oh! I have felt what glory then —
What transport must be theirs’
So far above their fellow men,
Above their toils and cares,
Inhaling nature’s purest breath,
Her riches round them spread,
The wide expanse of earth beneath,
Heaven’s glories overhead!

15
But — I have seen them downwards dashed,
Down to a bloody grave;
And still thy ruthless eye has flashed,
Thy strong hand did not save!
I’ve seen some o’er the mountain’s brow
Sustained a while by thee,
O’er rocks of ice and hills of snow
Bound fearless, wild, and free.

16
Bold and exultant was their mien
While thou didst cheer them on;
But evening fell — and then, I ween,
Their faithless guide was gone.
Alas! how fared thy favourites then —
Lone, helpless, weary, cold —
Did ever wanderer find again
The path he left of old?

17
Where is their glory, where the pride
That swelled their hearts before;
Where now the courage that defied
The mightiest tempest’s roar?
What shall they do when night grows black,
When angry storms arise?
Who now will lead them to the track
Thou taught’st them to despise?

18
Spirit of Pride! it needs not this
To make me shun thy wiles,
Renounce thy triumph and thy bliss,
Thy honours and thy smiles.
Bright as thou art, and bold, and strong,
That fierce glance wins not me,
And I abhor thy scoffing tongue —
I will not walk with thee!

19
Spirit of Faith! be thou my guide,
O, clasp my hand in thine,
And let me never quit thy side:
Thy comforts are divine!
Earth calls thee ‘blind misguided one’,
But who can show like thee
Past things that have been seen and done,
And things that are to be?

20
Secrets concealed from Nature’s ken,
Who like thee can declare;
Or who like thee to erring men
God’s holy will can bear?
Pride scorns thee for thy lowly mien;
But who like thee can rise
Above this restless, clouded scene, —
Beyond the holy skies?

21
Meek is thine eye and soft thy voice
But wondrous is thy might
To make the wretched soul rejoice,
To give the simple light.
And still to all that seek thy way,
Such magic power is given —
E’en while their footsteps press the clay
Their souls ascend to heaven.

22
Danger surrounds them, pain and woe
Their portion here must be;
But only they that trust thee know
What comfort dwells with thee,
Strength to sustain their drooping powers
And vigour to defend.
Thou pole-star of my darkest hours,
Affliction’s firmest friend!

23
Day does not always mark our way;
Night’s terrors oft appal,
But lead me, and I cannot stray;
Hold me: I shall not fall;
Sustain me, I shall never faint,
How rough soe’er may be
My upward road, — nor moan nor plaint
Shall mar my trust in thee.

24
Narrow the path by which we go;
And oft it turns aside,
From pleasant meads where roses blow
And murmuring waters glide;
Where flowery turf lies green and soft,
And gentle gales are sweet,
To where dark mountains frown aloft,
Hard rocks distress the feet.

25
Deserts beyond lie bleak and bare,
And keen winds round us blow;
But if thy hand conducts me there,
The way is right, I know.
I have no wish to turn away:
My spirit does not quail.
How can it while I hear thee say,
‘Press forward — and prevail.’?

26
Even above the tempest’s swell,
I hear thy voice of love.
Of hope and peace I hear thee tell,
And that blest home above.
Through pain and death, I can rejoice,
If but thy strength be mine.
Earth hath no music like thy voice;
Life owns no joy like thine!

27
Spirit of Faith! I’ll go with thee:
Thou, if I hold thee fast,
Wilt guide, defend, and strengthen me,
And bring me home at last.
By thy help, all things I can do;
In thy strength all things bear.
Teach me, for thou art just and true,
Smile on me, — thou art fair!

Vanitas Vanitatum, Omnia Vanitas

In all we do, and hear, and see,
Is restless Toil and Vanity.
While yet the rolling earth abides,
Men come and go like Ocean tides;
And ere one generation dies,
Another in its place shall rise;
That, sinking soon into the grave,
Others succeed, like wave on wave;

And as they rise, they pass away.
The sun arises every day,
And, hastening onward to the West,
He nightly sinks, but not to rest:

Returning to the eastern skies,
Again to light us, he must rise.
And still the restless wind comes forth,
Now blowing keenly from the North;

Now from the South, the East, the West,
For ever changing, ne’er at rest.
The fountains, gushing from the hills,
Supply the ever-running rills;

The thirsty rivers drink their store,
And bear it rolling to the shore,
But still the ocean craves for more.
‘Tis endless labour everywhere!
Sound cannot satisfy the ear,

Light cannot fill the craving eye,
Nor riches half our wants supply;
Pleasure but doubles future pain,
And joy brings sorrow in her train;

Laughter is mad, and reckless mirth —
What does she in this weary earth?
Should Wealth, or Fame, our Life employ,
Death comes, our labour to destroy;

To snatch the untasted cup away,
For which we toiled so many a day.
What, then, remains for wretched man?
To use life’s comforts while he can,

Enjoy the blessings Heaven bestows,
Assist his friends, forgive his foes;
Trust God, and keep his statutes still,
Upright and firm, through good and ill;

Thankful for all that God has given,
Fixing his firmest hopes on heaven;
Knowing that earthly joys decay,
But hoping through the darkest day.

Acton

Verses By Lady Geralda

Why, when I hear the stormy breath
Of the wild winter wind
Rushing o’er the mountain heath,
Does sadness fill my mind?
For long ago I loved to lie
Upon the pathless moor,
To hear the wild wind rushing by
With never ceasing roar;

Its sound was music then to me;
Its wild and lofty voice
Made by heart beat exultingly
And my whole soul rejoice.

But now, how different is the sound?
It takes another tone,
And howls along the barren ground
With melancholy moan.

Why does the warm light of the sun
No longer cheer my eyes?
And why is all the beauty gone
From rosy morning skies?

Beneath this lone and dreary hill
There is a lovely vale;
The purling of a crystal rill,
The sighing of the gale,

The sweet voice of the singing bird,
The wind among the trees,
Are ever in that valley heard;
While every passing breeze

Is loaded with the pleasant scent
Of wild and lovely flowers.
To yonder vales I often went
To pass my evening hours.

Last evening when I wandered there
To soothe my weary heart,
Why did the unexpected tear
From my sad eyelid start?

Why did the trees, the buds, the stream
Sing forth so joylessly?
And why did all the valley seem
So sadly changed to me?

I plucked a primrose young and pale
That grew beneath a tree
And then I hastened from the vale
Silent and thoughtfully.

Soon I was near my lofty home,
But when I cast my eye
Upon that flower so fair and lone
Why did I heave a sigh?

I thought of taking it again
To the valley where it grew.
But soon I spurned that thought as vain
And weak and childish too.

And then I cast that flower away
To die and wither there;
But when I found it dead today
Why did I shed a tear?

O why are things so changed to me?
What gave me joy before
Now fills my heart with misery,
And nature smiles no more.

And why are all the beauties gone
From this my native hill?
Alas! my heart is changed alone:
Nature is constant still.

For when the heart is free from care,
Whatever meets the eye
Is bright, and every sound we hear
Is full of melody.

The sweetest strain, the wildest wind,
The murmur of a stream,
To the sad and weary mind
Like doleful death knells seem.

Father! thou hast long been dead,
Mother! thou art gone,
Brother! thou art far away,
And I am left alone.

Long before my mother died
I was sad and lone,
And when she departed too
Every joy was flown.

But the world’s before me now,
Why should I despair?
I will not spend my days in vain,
I will not linger here!

There is still a cherished hope
To cheer me on my way;
It is burning in my heart
With a feeble ray.

I will cheer the feeble spark
And raise it to a flame;
And it shall light me through the world,
And lead me on to fame.

I leave thee then, my childhood’s home,
For all thy joys are gone;
I leave thee through the world to roam
In search of fair renown,

From such a hopeless home to part
Is happiness to me,
For nought can charm my weary heart
Except activity.

To Cowper

Sweet are thy strains, celestial Bard;
And oft, in childhood’s years,
I’ve read them o’er and o’er again,
With floods of silent tears.
The language of my inmost heart,
I traced in every line;
My sins, my sorrows, hopes, and fears,
Were there — and only mine.

All for myself the sigh would swell,
The tear of anguish start;
I little knew what wilder woe
Had filled the Poet’s heart.

I did not know the nights of gloom,
The days of misery;
The long, long years of dark despair,
That crushed and tortured thee.

But, they are gone; from earth at length
Thy gentle soul is pass’d,
And in the bosom of its God
Has found its home at last.

It must be so, if God is love,
And answers fervent prayer;
Then surely thou shalt dwell on high,
And I may meet thee there.

Is he the source of every good,
The spring of purity?
Then in thine hours of deepest woe,
Thy God was still with thee.

How else, when every hope was fled,
Couldst thou so fondly cling
To holy things and holy men?
And how so sweetly sing,

Of things that God alone could teach?
And whence that purity,
That hatred of all sinful ways —
That gentle charity?

Are these the symptoms of a heart
Of heavenly grace bereft:
For ever banished from its God,
To Satan’s fury left?

Yet, should thy darkest fears be true,
If Heaven be so severe,
That such a soul as thine is lost, —
Oh! how shall I appear?

Acton

Vanitas Vanitatis, Etc.

In all we do, and hear, and see,
Is restless Toil and Vanity;
While yet the rolling earth abides,
Men come and go like Ocean tides;
And ere one generation dies,
Another in its place shall rise.
That sinking soon into the grave,
Others succeed, like wave on wave;
And as they rise, they pass away.
The sun arises every day,
And hastening onward to the west
He nightly sinks but not to rest;
Returning to the eastern skies,
Again to light us he must rise.
And still the restless wind comes forth
Now blowing keenly from the north,
Now from the South, the East, the West;
For ever changing, ne’er at rest.
The fountains, gushing from the hills,
Supply the ever-running rills;
The thirsty rivers drink their store,
And bear it rolling to the shore,
But still the ocean craves for more.
‘Tis endless labour everywhere,
Sound cannot satisfy the ear,
Sight cannot fill the craving eye,
Nor riches happiness supply,
Pleasure but doubles future pain;
And joy brings sorrow in her train.
Laughter is mad, and reckless mirth,
What does she in this weary earth?
Should wealth or fame our life employ,
Death comes our labour to destroy,
To snatch th’ untasted cup away,
For which we toiled so many a day.
What then remains for wretched man?
To use life’s comforts while he can:
Enjoy the blessings God bestows,
Assist his friends, forgive his foes,
Trust God, and keep His statutes still
Upright and firm, through good and ill —
Thankful for all that God has given,
Fixing his firmest hopes on heaven;
Knowing that earthly joys decay,
But hoping through the darkest day.

Night

I love the silent hour of night,
For blissful dreams may then arise,
Revealing to my charmed sight
What may not bless my waking eyes!
And then a voice may meet my ear
That death has silenced long ago;
And hope and rapture may appear
Instead of solitude and woe.

Cold in the grave for years has lain
The form it was my bliss to see,
And only dreams can bring again
The darling of my heart to me.

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