"The Wife's Will." by Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)
First Publication: Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell London: Aylott and Jones, 8, Paternoster Row, 1846. pp. 28-31.
SIT still–a word–a breath may break
(As light airs stir a sleeping lake,)
The glassy calm that soothes my woes,
The sweet, the deep, the full repose.
[Page 29]O leave me not ! for ever be
Yes, close beside thee, let me kneel–
Give me thy hand that I may feel
The friend so true–so tried–so dear,
My heart's own chosen–indeed is near;
And check me not–this hour divine
Belongs to me–is fully mine.
'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside,
After long absence–wandering wide;
'Tis thy own wife reads in thine eyes,
A promise clear of stormless skies,
For faith and true love light the rays,
Which shine responsive to her gaze.
Aye,–well that single tear may fall;
Ten thousand might mine eyes recall,
Which from their lids, ran blinding fast,
In hours of grief, yet scarcely past,
Well may'st thou speak of love to me;
For, oh ! most truly–I love thee !
Yet smile–for we are happy now.
Whence, then, that sadness on thy brow ?
What say'st thou ? " We must once again,
Ere long, be severed by the main ? "
I knew not this–I deemed no more,
Thy step would err from Britain's shore.
[Page 30]" Duty commands ?" 'Tis true–'tis just;
" Distance and suffering," did'st thou say ?
" Danger by night, and toil by day ?"
Oh, idle words, and vain are these;
Hear me ! I cross with thee the seas.
Such risk as thou must meet and dare,
I–thy true wife–will duly share.
Passive, at home, I will not pine;
Thy toils–thy perils, shall be mine;
Grant this–and be hereafter paid
By a warm heart's devoted aid:
'Tis granted–with that yielding kiss,
Entered my soul unmingled bliss.
Thanks, William–thanks ! thy love has joy,
Pure–undefiled with base alloy;
'Tis not a passion, false and blind,
Inspires, enchains, absorbs my mind;
Worthy, I feel, art thou to be
Loved with my perfect energy.
This evening, now, shall sweetly flow,
Lit by our clear fire's happy glow;
[Page 31]And parting's peace-embittering fear,