A Celebration of Women Writers

"If This Be All." by Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

First Publication: Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell London: Aylott and Jones, 8, Paternoster Row, 1846. pp. 80-81.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 80]

IF THIS BE ALL.

O GOD! if this indeed be all
  That Life can show to me;
If on my aching brow may fall
  No freshening dew from Thee,

If with no brighter light than this
  The lamp of hope may glow,
And I may only dream of bliss,
  And wake to weary woe;

If friendship's solace must decay,
  When other joys are gone,
And love must keep so far away,
  While I go wandering on,

Wandering and toiling without gain,
  The slave of others' will,
With constant care, and frequent pain,
  Despised, forgotten still;

Grieving to look on vice and sin,
  Yet powerless to quell
The silent current from within,
  The outward torrent's swell:

[Page 81]

While all the good I would impart,
  The feelings I would share,
Are driven backward to my heart,
  And turned to wormwood, there;

If clouds must ever keep from sight
  The glories of the Sun,
And I must suffer Winter's blight,
  Ere Summer is begun;

If Life must be so full of care,
  Then call me soon to Thee;
Or give me strength enough to bear
  My load of misery.

ACTON.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Notes:

The original MS, which is untitled, is dated May 20th, 1845. There are minor differences in formatting and punctuation, and one minor wording change.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom