"Winter Stores." by Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)
First Publication: Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell London: Aylott and Jones, 8, Paternoster Row, 1846. pp. 151-153.
WE take from life one little share,
And say that this shall be
A space, redeemed from toil and care,
From tears and sadness free.
And, haply, Death unstrings his bow
And Sorrow stands apart,
And, for a little while, we know
The sunshine of the heart.
Existence seems a summer eve,
Warm, soft, and full of peace;
Our free, unfettered feelings give
The soul its full release.
A moment, then, it takes the power,
To call up thoughts that throw
Around that charmed and hallowed hour,
This life's divinest glow.
But Time, though viewlessly it flies,
And slowly, will not stay;
Alike, through clear and clouded skies,
It cleaves its silent way.
[Page 152]Alike the bitter cup of grief,
The sparkling draught is dried away,
The hour of rest is gone,
And urgent voices, round us, say,
" Ho, lingerer, hasten on !"
And has the soul, then, only gained,
From this brief time of ease,
A moment's rest, when overstrained,
One hurried glimpse of peace ?
No; while the sun shone kindly o'er us,
And flowers bloomed round our feet,–
While many a bud of joy before us
Unclosed its petals sweet,–
An unseen work within was plying;
Like honey-seeking bee,
From flower to flower, unwearied, flying,
Laboured one faculty,–
Thoughtful for Winter's future sorrow,
Its gloom and scarcity;
Prescient to-day, of want to-morrow,
Toiled quiet Memory.
[Page 153]'Tis she that from each transient pleasure
And when Youth's summer day is vanished,
And Age brings Winter's stress,
Her stores, with hoarded sweets replenished,
Life's evening hours will bless.