A Celebration of Women Writers

"Retirement" by Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

First Publication: The Complete Works of Emily Brontë. Volume I, Poetry. by Clement K. Shorter (Ed.) London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


Sunday December 13th 1840

O, let me be alone a while,
  No human form is nigh.
And may I sing and muse aloud,
  No mortal ear is by.

Away! ye dreams of earthly bliss,
  Ye earthly cares begone:
Depart! ye restless wandering thoughts,
  And let me be alone!

One hour, my spirit, stretch thy wings,
  And quit this joyless sod,
Bask in the sunshine of the sky,
  And be alone with God!

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


When first published, this poem was attributed to Emily Brontë, rather than Anne. The error was apparently due to a belief that Anne never wrote in the characteristic Brontë "small-script" while Emily did. Differences in their handwriting, however, clearly indentify this poem as Anne's.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom