A Celebration of Women Writers

"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.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


SIT stilla worda 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
Thus, more than life itself to me !

Yes, close beside thee, let me kneel
Give me thy hand that I may feel
The friend so trueso triedso dear,
My heart's own chosenindeed is near;
And check me notthis hour divine
Belongs to meis fully mine.

'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside,
After long absencewandering 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 trulyI love thee !

Yet smilefor 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 thisI deemed no more,
Thy step would err from Britain's shore.

[Page 30]

" Duty commands ?" 'Tis true'tis just;
Thy slightest word I wholly trust,
Nor by request, nor faintest sigh
Would I, to turn thy purpose, try;
But, Williamhear my solemn vow
Hear and confirm !with thee I go.

" 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,
Ithy true wifewill duly share.

Passive, at home, I will not pine;
Thy toilsthy perils, shall be mine;
Grant thisand be hereafter paid
By a warm heart's devoted aid:
'Tis grantedwith that yielding kiss,
Entered my soul unmingled bliss.

Thanks, Williamthanks ! thy love has joy,
Pureundefiled 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,
Is warned, our hearts to come not near;
For fate admits my soul's decree,
In bliss or baleto go with thee !



Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom