Page:The complete poems of Emily Bronte.djvu/50

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POEMS OF EMILY BRONTË

questions have been asked, and will continue to be asked. The mere fact that she was apparently unconscious of any jarring between the very feeble and conventional Agnes Grey and her own grand and daring work shows, I think, that she had no disposition to take up arms against the prevailing faith. She was apparently quite satisfied in her round of duties and conformities, though she would suffer no one to impose upon her fresh yokes. It is amazing that the critics of the time could have believed that the little tale of the mild affection of a curate for a governess, or rather of a governess for a curate, and their safe establishment in a parsonage, with three hundred pounds a year, could have come from the same hand as that which drew Heathcliff and Catherine. In her poems she speaks at times the language of her surroundings. But now that her life is closed by death and rounded by the past, it is evident that her strong vivid personality found rest in a form of stoicism. She wrote nothing after Wuthering Heights, save the fine lines, 'No coward soul in mine.' This has been interpreted by good critics as signifying that life and sin and punishment end with death, and with every soul being absorbed in the infinite. But Mr. Swinburne is of another mind. He says: