A Celebration of Women Writers

"A Death-Scene." by Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848)

First Publication: Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell London: Aylott and Jones, 8, Paternoster Row, 1846. pp. 40-42.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


"O DAY ! he cannot die
When thou so fair art shining !
O Sun, in such a glorious sky,
So tranquilly declining;

[Page 41]

He cannot leave thee now,
While fresh west winds are blowing,
And all around his youthful brow
Thy cheerful light is glowing !

Edward, awake, awake
The golden evening gleams
Warm and bright on Arden's lake
Arouse thee from thy dreams !

Beside thee, on my knee,
My dearest friend ! I pray
That thou, to cross the eternal sea,
Wouldst yet one hour delay:

I hear its billows roar
I see them foaming high;
But no glimpse of a further shore
Has blest my straining eye.

Believe not what they urge
Of Eden isles beyond;
Turn back, from that tempestuous surge,
To thy own native land.

It is not death, but pain
That struggles in thy breast
Nay, rally, Edward, rouse again;
I cannot let thee rest !"

[Page 42]

One long look, that sore reproved me
For the woe I could not bear
One mute look of suffering moved me
To repent my useless prayer:

And, with sudden check, the heaving
Of distraction passed away;
Not a sign of further grieving
Stirred my soul that awful day.

Paled, at length, the sweet sun setting;
Sunk to peace the twilight breeze:
Summer dews fell softly, wetting
Glen, and glade, and silent trees.

Then his eyes began to weary,
Weighed beneath a mortal sleep;
And their orbs grew strangely dreary,
Clouded, even as they would weep.

But they wept not, but they changed not,
Never moved, and never closed;
Troubled still, and still they ranged not
Wandered not, nor yet reposed !

So I knew that he was dying
Stooped, and raised his languid head;
Felt no breath, and heard no sighing,
So I knew that he was dead.


[Page 43]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom