"Anticipation." by Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848)
First Publication: Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell London: Aylott and Jones, 8, Paternoster Row, 1846. pp. 56-58.
[Page 57]December's sullen time !
When those who were thy own compeers,
Equals in fortune and in years,
Have seen their morning melt in tears,
To clouded, smileless day;
Blest, had they died untried and young,
Before their hearts went wandering wrong,
Poor slaves, subdued by passions strong,
A weak and helpless prey !
" Because, I hoped while they enjoyed,
And, by fulfilment, hope destroyed;
As children hope, with trustful breast,
I waited bliss–and cherished rest.
A thoughtful spirit taught me, soon,
That we must long till life be done;
That every phase of earthly joy
Must always fade, and always cloy:
This I foresaw–and would not chase
The fleeting treacheries;
But, with firm foot and tranquil face,
Held backward from that tempting race,
Gazed o'er the sands the waves efface,
To the enduring seas–
[Page 58]There cast my anchor of desire
It is hope's spell that glorifies,
Like youth, to my maturer eyes,
All Nature's million mysteries,
The fearful and the fair–
Hope soothes me in the griefs I know;
She lulls my pain for others' woe,
And makes me strong to undergo
What I am born to bear.
Glad comforter ! will I not brave,
Unawed, the darkness of the grave ?
Nay, smile to hear Death's billows rave–
Sustained, my guide, by thee ?
The more unjust seems present fate,
The more my spirit swells elate,
Strong, in thy strength, to anticipate
Rewarding destiny !"