Talk:Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell

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Information about this edition
Edition: First edition (1846)
Source: Wikisource
Contributor(s): Original (1850 edition): Phaedriel Secondary: Londonjackbooks
Level of progress:
Notes: The discovery of Emily's poetic talent by her family led her and her sisters, Charlotte and Anne, to publish a joint collection of their poetry in 1846. To evade contemporary prejudice against female writers, the Brontë sisters adopted androgynous first names. All three retained the first letter of their first names: Charlotte became Currer Bell, Anne became Acton Bell, and Emily became Ellis Bell. Although the book failed to attract interest (only two copies were sold) the sisters decided to continue writing for publication and began work on their first novels. Following the success of Charlotte's Jane Eyre in 1848, and after the deaths of Emily and Anne, the second edition of this book (printed in 1850) fared much better, with Charlotte's additions of previously unpublished poetry by her two late sisters.
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Poems by Currer Bell (Charlotte Brontë) [edit]

PAGE
Pilate's Wife's Dream 1
Mementos 11
The Wife's Will 28
The Wood 35
Frances 46
Gilbert 60
Life 81
The Letter 86
Regret 94
Presentiment 100
The Teacher's Monologue 107
Passion 112
Preference 115
Evening Solace 121
Stanzas 126
Parting 137
Apostasy 145
Winter Stores 151
The Missionary 157

Poems by Ellis Bell (Emily Brontë) [edit]

PAGE
Faith and Despondency 8
Stars 21
The Philosopher 23
Remembrance 31
A Death Scene 40
Song 43
The Prisoner 76
Hope 82
A Day-Dream 89
To Imagination 96
How clear she shines 103
Sympathy 110
Plead for Me 118
Self-Interrogation 123
Death 128
Stanzas to —— 138
Honour's Martyr 148
Stanzas 148
My Comforter 153
The Old Stoic 163
Fluctuations 164

Poems by Acton Bell (Anne Brontë) [edit]

PAGE
A Reminiscence 10
The Arbour 26
Home 27
Vanitas Vanitatum, Omnia Vanitas 33
The Penitent 44
Music on Christmas Morning 45
Stanzas 59
If this be all 80
Memory 83
To Cowper 92
The Doubter's Prayer 97
A Word to the Elect 104
Past Days 111
The Consolation 120
Lines composed in a Wood on a Windy Day 125
Views of Life 129
Appeal 140
The Student's Life 140
The Captive Dove 149
Self-Congratulation 155
Fluctuations 164

another online edition[edit]

Another online edition is here, inc. page numbers and a sample page. John Vandenberg (chat) 14:39, 21 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Index now available[edit]

I'll be working on the Index, and eventually reworking the Mainspace page. Feel free to help as per suggestions. Londonjackbooks (talk) 04:12, 13 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Selections from the literary remains of Emily and Anne Brontë, by Charlotte Brontë[edit]

Selections from poems by Emily Brontë[edit]

It would not have been difficult to compile a volume out of the papers left by my sisters, had I, in making the selection, dismissed from my consideration the scruples and the wishes of those whose written thoughts these papers held. But this was impossible: an influence, stronger than could be exercised by any motive of expediency, necessarily regulated the selection. I have, then, culled from the mass only a little poem here and there. The whole makes but a tiny nosegay, and the colour and perfume of the flowers are not such as fit them for festal uses.

It has been already said that my sisters wrote much in childhood and girlhood. Usually, it seems a sort of injustice to expose in print the crude thoughts of the unripe mind, the rude efforts of the unpractised hand; yet I venture to give three little poems of my sister Emily's, written in her sixteenth year, because they illustrate a point in her character.

At that period she was sent to school. Her previous life, with the exception of a single half-year, had been passed in the absolute retirement of a village parsonage, amongst the hills bordering Yorkshire and Lancashire. The scenery of these hills is not grand — it is not romantic — it is scarcely striking. Long low moors, dark with heath, shut in little valleys, where a stream waters, here and there, a fringe of stunted copse. Mills and scattered cottages chase romance from these valleys; it is only higher up, deep in amongst the ridges of the moors, that Imagination can find rest for the sole of her foot: and even if she finds it there, she must be a solitude-loving raven--no gentle dove. If she demand beauty to inspire her, she must bring it inborn: these moors are too stern to yield any product so delicate. The eye of the gazer must ITSELF brim with a "purple light", intense enough to perpetuate the brief flower-flush of August on the heather, or the rare sunset-smile of June; out of his heart must well the freshness, that in latter spring and early summer brightens the bracken, nurtures the moss, and cherishes the starry flowers that spangle for a few weeks the pasture of the moor-sheep. Unless that light and freshness are innate and self-sustained, the drear prospect of a Yorkshire moor will be found as barren of poetic as of agricultural interest: where the love of wild nature is strong, the locality will perhaps be clung to with the more passionate constancy, because from the hill-lover's self comes half its charm.

My sister Emily loved the moors. Flowers brighter than the rose bloomed in the blackest of the heath for her; out of a sullen hollow in a livid hill-side her mind could make an Eden. She found in the bleak solitude many and dear delights; and not the least and best loved was--liberty.

Liberty was the breath of Emily's nostrils; without it, she perished. The change from her own home to a school, and from her own very noiseless, very secluded, but unrestricted and inartificial mode of life, to one of disciplined routine (though under the kindliest auspices), was what she failed in enduring. Her nature proved here too strong for her fortitude. Every morning when she woke, the vision of home and the moors rushed on her, and darkened and saddened the day that lay before her. Nobody knew what ailed her but me — I knew only too well. In this struggle her health was quickly broken: her white face, attenuated form, and failing strength, threatened rapid decline. I felt in my heart she would die, if she did not go home, and with this conviction obtained her recall. She had only been three months at school; and it was some years before the experiment of sending her from home was again ventured on. After the age of twenty, having meantime studied alone with diligence and perseverance, she went with me to an establishment on the Continent: the same suffering and conflict ensued, heightened by the strong recoil of her upright, heretic and English spirit from the gentle Jesuitry of the foreign and Romish system. Once more she seemed sinking, but this time she rallied through the mere force of resolution: with inward remorse and shame she looked back on her former failure, and resolved to conquer in this second ordeal. She did conquer: but the victory cost her dear. She was never happy till she carried her hard-won knowledge back to the remote English village, the old parsonage-house, and desolate Yorkshire hills. A very few years more, and she looked her last on those hills, and breathed her last in that house, and under the aisle of that obscure village church found her last lowly resting-place. Merciful was the decree that spared her when she was a stranger in a strange land, and guarded her dying bed with kindred love and congenial constancy.

The following pieces were composed at twilight, in the school-room, when the leisure of the evening play-hour brought back in full tide the thoughts of home.

Selections from poems by Anne Brontë[edit]

In looking over my sister Anne's papers, I find mournful evidence that religious feeling had been to her but too much like what it was to Cowper; I mean, of course, in a far milder form. Without rendering her a prey to those horrors that defy concealment, it subdued her mood and bearing to a perpetual pensiveness; the pillar of a cloud glided constantly before her eyes; she ever waited at the foot of a secret Sinai, listening in her heart to the voice of a trumpet sounding long and waxing louder. Some, perhaps, would rejoice over these tokens of sincere though sorrowing piety in a deceased relative: I own, to me they seem sad, as if her whole innocent life had been passed under the martyrdom of an unconfessed physical pain: their effect, indeed, would be too distressing, were it not combated by the certain knowledge that in her last moments this tyranny of a too tender conscience was overcome; this pomp of terrors broke up, and passing away, left her dying hour unclouded. Her belief in God did not then bring to her dread, as of a stern Judge,--but hope, as in a Creator and Saviour: and no faltering hope was it, but a sure and stedfast conviction, on which, in the rude passage from Time to Eternity, she threw the weight of her human weakness, and by which she was enabled to bear what was to be borne, patiently -- serenely -- victoriously.