In Memory of Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte (July 30, 1818- December 19, 1848)

Charlotte Bronte in a letter to Ellen Nussey dated October 29, 1848 : “It is useless to question her (Emily); you get no answers.  It is still more useless to recommend remedies; they are never adopted.”

Charlotte to William Smith Williams on November 2nd: “She is a real stoic in illness, she neither seeks nor will accept sympathy.  To put any question, to offer any aid, is to annoy; she will not yield a step before pain or sickness till forced; not one of her ordinary avocations will she voluntarily renounce.  You must look on and see her do what she is unfit to do, and not dare to say a word.”

Charlotte ( in a  forward to Wuthering Heights entitled, ” Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell”) : My sister Emily first declined. The details of her illness are deep-branded in my memory, but to dwell on them, either in thought or narrative, is not in my power. Never in all her life had she lingered over any task that lay before her, and she did not linger now. She sank rapidly. She made haste to leave us. Yet, while physically she perished, mentally she grew stronger than we had yet known her. Day by day, when I saw with what a front she met suffering, I looked on her with an anguish of wonder and love. I have seen nothing like it; but, indeed, I have never seen her parallel in anything. Stronger than a man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone. The awful point was, that while full of ruth for others, on herself she had no pity; the spirit was inexorable to the flesh; from the trembling hand, the unnerved limbs, the faded eyes, the same service was exacted as they had rendered in health. To stand by and witness this, and not dare to remonstrate, was a pain no words can render.”

Emily Bronte’s final poem:

 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 wither’d weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

    To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
    So surely anchor’d 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 cease 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.

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Published in: on December 19, 2009 at 7:47 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow! A formidable woman. In light of the day and the season, I think this song might be appropriate, don’t you?

  2. Morning Ralfast,

    Formidable indeed! This is from Winifred Gerin’s biography on her, “Charlotte Bronte later told Mrs. Gaskell that there were many touches in the portrait of Shirley that were directly taken from the character of Emily…One of the most memorable of these is the incident of the mad dog. True to character, Emily tried to befriend a lost dog hurrying up the lane ‘with hanging head and lolling tongue’, offered it a draught of water, and gotten bitten for her pains. Whether informed or not, as was Shirley, of the villagers’ suspicions that the dog was mad, Emily went straight into the kitchen and branded the wound with one of Tabby’s ‘red-hot Italian irons.’ Like Shirley, she told no one what had happened till the danger was past.”

    Thanks so much for the video link. Listening to it now. 🙂

  3. Her familiarity with death was clear in “Wuthering Heights” – but her will and determination are just as evident.

  4. Hi Marian,

    She did seem to have divided feelings about death.

    This comes from a poem she wrote in 1841:

    “…Few hearts to mortals given
    On Earth so wildly pine;
    Yet none would ask a Heaven
    More like this Earth than thine…”

    She seems a very old soul not comfortable on earth, but she wants her heaven to resemble her beloved moors.

  5. Mmmm. Lovely poetry!!! Strange, until your blog, I had never read her poetry… I sense more money going to half.com…. 🙂

  6. Hi Sput,

    I’m really glad you liked those poems. She’s one of my favorite poets.

    Here’s a link to her poem, Remembrance:

    http://homepages.wmich.edu/~cooneys/poems/bronte.rememberance.html

    The Visionary: http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/emily_bronte/poems/4293

    Night Wind: http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/emily_bronte/poems/4241

    Old Stoic: http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/emily_bronte/poems/4239


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