Sunday, January 31, 2010


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 think 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;
'Twill be endurance not to weep,
If that repose be woe.

The long fight closing in defeat—
Defeat serenely borne—
Thine eventide may still be sweet,
Thy night a glorious morn!
Emily Jane Bronte (1818-1848)

Commenced in Brussels a fortnight before the author left for home on account of the death of her aunt and foster mother, Miss Elizabeth Branwell.
Taken from The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte,
Columbia University Press, NY

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