A Celebration of Women Writers

"A Day Dream." by Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848)

First Publication: Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell London: Aylott and Jones, 8, Paternoster Row, 1846. pp. 89-92.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


On a sunny brae, alone I lay
  One summer afternoon;
It was the marriage-time of May
  With her young lover, June.

From her mother's heart, seemed loath to part
  That queen of bridal charms,
But her father smiled on the fairest child
  He ever held in his arms.

The trees did wave their plumy crests,
  The glad birds caroled clear;
And I, of all the wedding guests,
  Was only sullen there !

There was not one, but wished to shun
  My aspect void of cheer;
The very grey rocks, looking on,
  Asked, " What do you do here ? "

[Page 90]

And I could utter no reply;
  In sooth, I did not know
Why I had brought a clouded eye
  To greet the general glow.

So, resting on a heathy bank,
  I took my heart to me;
And we together sadly sank
  Into a reverie.

We thought, " When winter comes again,
  Where will these bright things be ?
All vanished, like a vision vain,
  An unreal mockery !

The birds that now so blithely sing,
  Through deserts, frozen dry,
Poor spectres of the perished spring,
  In famished troops, will fly.

And why should we be glad at all ?
  The leaf is hardly green,
Before a token of its fall
  Is on the surface seen ! "

Now, whether it were really so,
  I never could be sure;
But as in fit of peevish woe,
  I stretched me on the moor.

[Page 91]

A thousand thousand gleaming fires
  Seemed kindling in the air;
A thousand thousand silvery lyres
  Resounded far and near:

Methought, the very breath I breathed
  Was full of sparks divine,
And all my heather-couch was wreathed
  By that celestial shine !

And, while the wide earth echoing rung
  To their strange minstrelsy,
The little glittering spirits sung,
  O seemed to sing, to me.

" O mortal ! mortal ! let them die;
  Let time and tears destroy,
That we may overflow the sky
  With universal joy !

Let grief distract the sufferer's breast,
  And night obscure his way;
They hasten him to endless rest,
  And everlasting day.

To thee the world is like a tomb,
  A desert's naked shore;
To us, in unimagined bloom,
  It brightens more and more !

[Page 92]

And, could we lift the veil, and give
  One brief glimpse to thine eye,
Thou wouldst rejoice for those that live,
  Because they live to die. "

The music ceased; the noonday dream,
  Like dream of night, withdrew;
But Fancy, still, will sometimes deem
  Her fond creation true.



Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom