A Celebration of Women Writers

" Self-Interrogation." by Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848)

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

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 123]


" THE evening passes fast away,
  'Tis almost time to rest;
What thoughts has left the vanished day,
  What feelings, in thy breast ?

" The vanished day ? It leaves a sense
  Of labour hardly done;
Of little, gained with vast expense,
  A sense of grief alone !

" Time stands before the door of Death,
  Upbraiding bitterly;
And Conscience, with exhaustless breath,
  Pours black reproach on me:

" And though I've said that Conscience lies,
  And Time should Fate condemn;
Still, sad Repentance clouds my eyes,
  And makes me yield to them !

" Then art thou glad to seek repose ?
  Art glad to leave the sea,
And anchor all thy weary woes
  In calm Eternity ?

[Page 124]

" Nothing regrets to see thee go
  Not one voice sobs ' farewell,'
And where thy heart has suffered so,
  Canst thou desire to dwell ?"

" Alas ! The countless links are strong
  That bind us to our clay;
The loving spirit lingers long,
  And would not pass away !

" And rest is sweet, when laurelled fame
  Will crown the soldier's crest;
But, a brave heart, with a tarnished name,
  Would rather fight than rest."

" Well, thou hast fought for many a year,
  Hast fought thy whole life through,
Hast humbled Falsehood, trampled Fear;
  What is there left to do ? "

" 'Tis true, this arm has hotly striven,
  Has dared what few would dare;
Much have I done, and freely given,
  But little learnt to bear ! "

" Look on the grave, where thou must sleep,
  Thy last, and strongest foe;
It is endurance not to weep,
  If that repose seem woe.

[Page 125]

" The long war closing in defeat,
  Defeat serenely borne,
Thy midnight rest may still be sweet,
  And break in glorious morn ! "



Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom