Emily Brontë is one of the three Brontë Sisters mostly known for her fantastic novel “Wuthering Heights.” But did you know that she is also the writer of fourteen brilliant poems as well?
Reserved, quiet, recluse, and morose are some of the words that can be used to describe the persona of Emily Brontë. Life wasn’t easy for her and this difficult life put a veil on what kind of person Brontë really was.
But poetry is often considered to be the autobiography of the soul. Emily Brontë did not write many poems, but the fourteen she did write explained and expressed a lot about the mind and her inner feelings.
Let’s take a look at every poem written by Emily Brontë and while giving a detailed analysis of each poem would not be possible in one article, we’ll include a brief meaning and summary of the poem to make understanding these poems easier.
Here’s the list of all the poems written by Emily Brontë
- Fall, Leaves, Fall
- Ah! Why, Because the Dazzling Sun
- I Am The Only Being Whose Doom
- [Long Neglect Has Worn Away]
- Love and Friendship
- The night is darkening round me
- No Coward Soul Is Mine
- [‘Often rebuked, yet always back returning’]
- Plead for Me
- Shall earth no more inspire thee
- from Silent is the House
- The Two Children
Fall, Leaves, Fall
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away; Lengthen night and shorten day; Every leaf speaks bliss to me Fluttering from the autumn tree. I shall smile when wreaths of snow Blossom where the rose should grow; I shall sing when night’s decay Ushers in a drearier day.
Meaning of “Fall, Leaves, Fall”
“Fall, Leaves, Fall” shows the way Emily Brontë used to think about everything in life, at least at some point. This poem can be the anthem for people who are not very excited about the jovial things in life.
We can say that Emily Brontë was goth before it came into fashion. Brontë is saying that she likes the arrival of winter and the receding autumn. She enjoys seeing the falling leaves, nights getting longer, and days shorter.
She also prefers the dull grays and whites of the winter to the vibrant greenery of leaves and the colors of flowers. She “smiles” when the wreaths of snow blossom where roses once grew.
She enjoys it when the long night ends just to bring the bleak and dull winter day. Readers can understand that she wasn’t the happy and merry kind of gal.
Perhaps the tragedies of life and the way she lived had made her accept and appreciate this dull, cold, and dreary life. The thought of warmth and colors made her repulse. As we mentioned earlier, poetry is the autobiography of the soul.
Ah! Why, Because the Dazzling Sun
Ah! why, because the dazzling sun Restored my earth to joy Have you departed, every one, And left a desert sky? All through the night, your glorious eyes Were gazing down in mine, And with a full heart's thankful sighs I blessed that watch divine! I was at peace, and drank your beams As they were life to me And revelled in my changeful dreams Like petrel on the sea. Thought followed thought—star followed star Through boundless regions on, While one sweet influence, near and far, Thrilled through and proved us one. Why did the morning rise to break So great, so pure a spell, And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek Where your cool radiance fell? Blood-red he rose, and arrow-straight, His fierce beams struck my brow; The soul of Nature sprang elate, But mine sank sad and low! My lids closed down—yet through their veil I saw him blazing still; And bathe in gold the misty dale, And flash upon the hill. I turned me to the pillow then To call back Night, and see Your worlds of solemn light, again Throb with my heart and me! It would not do—the pillow glowed And glowed both roof and floor, And birds sang loudly in the wood, And fresh winds shook the door. The curtains waved, the wakened flies Were murmuring round my room, Imprisoned there, till I should rise And give them leave to roam. O Stars and Dreams and Gentle Night; O Night and Stars return! And hide me from the hostile light That does not warm, but burn— That drains the blood of suffering men; Drinks tears, instead of dew: Let me sleep through his blinding reign, And only wake with you!
Meaning of “Ah! Why, Because the Dazzling Sun”
Have you ever had a dream that made you so invested, so engaged that you did not want to see the brightness of the sunlight? The poem is exactly that but in a more poetic, metaphorical way.
Emily Brontë clearly did not like the sight of the blazing sun and while its beams are known to give a warm feeling, she thinks that it burns her. She much prefers the cold and dark night, filled with countless stars.
Here stars and the sun have been personified. Where stars are shown as the speaker’s lover, the sun is portrayed to be a crude, furious and angry person who does nothing but burn.
Brontë’s sleep and the dream were shattered by the bright beams of the sun, and while she wanted to sleep again and go back into the world of her dreams, she could not do that again.
In the end, she says that she wants to sleep through the day and wake up with the night. This poem again shows so much about the psyche of Brontë and how big of a recluse she was.
I Am The Only Being Whose Doom
I am the only being whose doom No tongue would ask, no eye would mourn; I never caused a thought of gloom, A smile of joy, since I was born. In secret pleasure, secret tears, This changeful life has slipped away, As friendless after eighteen years, As lone as on my natal day. There have been times I cannot hide, There have been times when this was drear, When my sad soul forgot its pride And longed for one to love me here. But those were in the early glow Of feelings since subdued by care; And they have died so long ago, I hardly now believe they were. First melted off the hope of youth, Then fancy’s rainbow fast withdrew; And then experience told me truth In mortal bosoms never grew. ’Twas grief enough to think mankind All hollow, servile, insincere; But worse to trust to my own mind And find the same corruption there.
Meaning of the poem “I Am The Only Being Whose Doom”
This poem is fairly simple to understand; Emily Brontë says that whatever she goes through, her hardships, the suffering is limited only to her. Not a single soul sees it or asks about her suffering.
Her life has passed in this loneliness. She smiled alone, she cried alone and she spent her life alone unless she fell in love with someone. Sadly, it was not something that led to fruitfulness. Perhaps she was heartbroken.
The poet says that all that has gone past her, now she is a much more mature person. But she has a regret that she fell for hope, that she felt even for a second that there is something good in this world.
[Long Neglect Has Worn Away]
Long neglect has worn away Half the sweet enchanting smile; Time has turned the bloom to gray; Mold and damp the face defile. But that lock of silky hair, Still beneath the picture twined, Tells what once those features were, Paints their image on the mind. Fair the hand that traced that line, “Dearest, ever deem me true”; Swiftly flew the fingers fine When the pen that motto drew.
Meaning of “[Long Neglect Has Worn Away]”
The meaning of this poem is very simple at first, and it is also one of the most commonly used themes by poets; the effects and ravages of time and how neglect can deteriorate the condition of places and people.
It also explores the idea of memories, and the agonizing bliss it brings. How the most beautiful memories often bring us pain and how it reminds us of what life once used to be. It is a very impactful poem.
Love and Friendship
Love is like the wild rose-briar, Friendship like the holly-tree— The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms But which will bloom most constantly? The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring, Its summer blossoms scent the air; Yet wait till winter comes again And who will call the wild-briar fair? Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now And deck thee with the holly’s sheen, That when December blights thy brow He still may leave thy garland green.
Meaning of “Love and Friendship”
The subtle difference between two very similar relationships; love and friendship. The poet says that while the powerful and passionate feeling of love can overcome the senses, it is the stable and long-lasting effects of friendship that stays even in the harshest of times.
The night is darkening round me
The night is darkening round me, The wild winds coldly blow; But a tyrant spell has bound me, And I cannot, cannot go. The giant trees are bending Their bare boughs weighed with snow; The storm is fast descending, And yet I cannot go. Clouds beyond clouds above me, Wastes beyond wastes below; But nothing drear can move me; I will not, cannot go.
Meaning of “The night is darkening round me”
A poem that can have a very dark meaning, “The night is darkening round me” is about the difficulties of life and the pain of going through hard times piling up and the person contemplating ending his/her life.
Emily Brontë has always used nature to convey her emotions. In this poem, everything around her seems to be getting dark and unpleasant. “I cannot go” means that she cannot end her life, she must stay in this place. She must go on.
No Coward Soul Is Mine
No coward soul is mine No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere I see Heaven's glories shine And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear O God within my breast Almighty ever-present Deity Life, that in me hast rest, As I Undying Life, have power in Thee Vain are the thousand creeds That move men's hearts, unutterably vain, Worthless as withered weeds Or idlest froth amid the boundless main To waken doubt in one Holding so fast by thy infinity, So surely anchored on The steadfast rock of Immortality. With wide-embracing love Thy spirit animates eternal years Pervades and broods above, Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears Though earth and moon were gone And suns and universes ceased to be And Thou wert left alone Every Existence would exist in thee There is not room for Death Nor atom that his might could render void Since thou art Being and Breath And what thou art may never be destroyed.
The meaning of “No Coward Soul Is Mine”
“No Coward Soul Is Mine” is about faith in the Divine. It is about believing in the supreme power of God, and knowing that no matter how difficult or dangerous things get, God resides in our hearts and you can always get strength from God’s presence. God is powerful and nothing else can be destroyed that has God in it.
[‘Often rebuked, yet always back returning’]
Often rebuked, yet always back returning To those first feelings that were born with me, And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning For idle dreams of things which cannot be: To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region; Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear; And visions rising, legion after legion, Bring the unreal world too strangely near. I’ll walk, but not in old heroic traces, And not in paths of high morality, And not among the half-distinguished faces, The clouded forms of long-past history. I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide: Where the gray flocks in ferny glens are feeding; Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side. What have those lonely mountains worth revealing? More glory and more grief than I can tell: The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.
Meaning of “[‘Often rebuked, yet always back returning’]”
This poem can be considered as the flagship poem of following your own nature, your own will, and not being shackled to what other people want from you. The poet says that even though she tried to rebuke the feeling she was born with, they always come back.
She says that she will not take the path of high morality or the heroic path that other people took. She just wants to do whatever her heart feels like doing and get that sense of liberation. There might be happiness or pain in doing this, but that is what life is.
Plead for Me
O thy bright eyes must answer now, When Reason, with a scornful brow, Is mocking at my overthrow; O thy sweet tongue must plead for me And tell why I have chosen thee! Stern Reason is to judgment come Arrayed in all her forms of gloom: Wilt thou my advocate be dumb? No, radiant angel, speak and say Why I did cast the world away; Why I have persevered to shun The common paths that others run; And on a strange road journeyed on Heedless alike of Wealth and Power— Of Glory's wreath and Pleasure's flower. These once indeed seemed Beings divine, And they perchance heard vows of mine And saw my offerings on their shrine— But, careless gifts are seldom prized, And mine were worthily despised; So with a ready heart I swore To seek their altar-stone no more, And gave my spirit to adore Thee, ever present, phantom thing— My slave, my comrade, and my King! A slave because I rule thee still; Incline thee to my changeful will And make thy influence good or ill— A comrade, for by day and night Thou art my intimate delight— My Darling Pain that wounds and sears And wrings a blessing out from tears By deadening me to real cares; And yet, a king—though prudence well Have taught thy subject to rebel. And am I wrong to worship where Faith cannot doubt nor Hope despair, Since my own soul can grant my prayer? Speak, God of Visions, plead for me And tell why I have chosen thee!
Meaning of “Plead for Me”
“Plead for Me” is a poem about questioning one’s faith, questioning one’s choices of making some decision that first felt like the right thing to do, but later led to something that did not bring a favorable ending.
The poet is asking her God in which she put all her faith to say why she is suffering. Why is her God so quiet and not saving her from pain?
Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee, Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave! Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee, Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave? Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover Over the mountains, on that northern shore, Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover Thy noble heart forever, ever more? Cold in the earth—and fifteen wild Decembers, From those brown hills, have melted into spring: Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers After such years of change and suffering! Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee, While the world's tide is bearing me along; Other desires and other hopes beset me, Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong! No later light has lightened up my heaven, No second morn has ever shone for me; All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given, All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee. But, when the days of golden dreams had perished, And even Despair was powerless to destroy, Then did I learn how existence could be cherished, Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy. Then did I check the tears of useless passion— Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine; Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten Down to that tomb already more than mine. And, even yet, I dare not let it languish, Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain; Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish, How could I seek the empty world again?
Meaning of “Remembrance”
“Remembrance” is a beautiful poem for anyone who has lost someone they loved. In this poem, the poet is talking about a person she loved, and who died around fifteen years ago.
She tells her loved one that she has not loved anyone else and asks the person to forgive her for forgetting the person. She says that she had to do it to survive in this world. She had to stop her heart from yearning for the lost person.
Shall earth no more inspire thee
Shall earth no more inspire thee, Thou lonely dreamer now? Since passion may not fire thee Shall Nature cease to bow? Thy mind is ever moving In regions dark to thee; Recall its useless roving— Come back and dwell with me. I know my mountain breezes Enchant and soothe thee still— I know my sunshine pleases Despite thy wayward will. When day with evening blending Sinks from the summer sky, I’ve seen thy spirit bending In fond idolatry. I’ve watched thee every hour; I know my mighty sway, I know my magic power To drive thy griefs away. Few hearts to mortals given On earth so wildly pine; Yet none would ask a heaven More like this earth than thine. Then let my winds caress thee; Thy comrade let me be— Since nought beside can bless thee, Return and dwell with me.
Meaning of “Shall earth no more inspire thee”
The poet in this poem asks the readers to look at the beauty of the earth and everything around it. The brilliant radiance of the color of the sky, the winds touching the mountain, and everything that can fill one’s heart with joy.
from Silent is the House
Come, the wind may never again Blow as now it blows for us; And the stars may never again shine as now they shine; Long before October returns, Seas of blood will have parted us; And you must crush the love in your heart, and I the love in mine!
Meaning of “From Silent is the House”
This poem is perhaps a nod to the lives of two lovers divided by the atrocities of war. The poet is asking her loved one to come to her and enjoy the wind and the stars and they might not get another chance to see it again.
She says that before October returns, seas of blood would be between them and they will have to get rid of the love they have for each other.
I'll not weep that thou art going to leave me, There's nothing lovely here; And doubly will the dark world grieve me, While thy heart suffers there. I'll not weep, because the summer's glory Must always end in gloom; And, follow out the happiest story— It closes with a tomb! And I am weary of the anguish Increasing winters bear; Weary to watch the spirit languish Through years of dead despair. So, if a tear, when thou art dying, Should haply fall from me, It is but that my soul is sighing, To go and rest with thee.
Meaning of “Stanzas”
A poem that perfectly expresses the grief someone feels when losing a loved one. Brontë says that she will not shed a tear when she loses a loved one because that would make the other person suffer even more.
She will not weep if she loses the loved one because this is what life is, every happy story ends in the tomb, and every person must die. She says that if a tear falls from her eyes, it is just a sigh from her soul to go and rest in the grave with the person.
The Two Children
Heavy hangs the raindrop From the burdened spray; Heavy broods the damp mist On uplands far away; Heavy looms the dull sky, Heavy rolls the sea— And heavy beats the young heart Beneath that lonely tree. Never has a blue streak Cleft the clouds since morn— Never has his grim Fate Smiled since he was born. Frowning on the infant, Shadowing childhood’s joy, Guardian angel knows not That melancholy boy. Day is passing swiftly Its sad and sombre prime; Youth is fast invading Sterner manhood’s time. All the flowers are praying For sun before they close, And he prays too, unknowing, That sunless human rose! Blossoms, that the west wind Has never wooed to blow, Scentless are your petals, Your dew as cold as snow. Soul, where kindred kindness No early promise woke, Barren is your beauty As weed upon the rock. Wither, Brothers, wither, You were vainly given— Earth reserves no blessing For the unblessed of Heaven! Child of Delight! with sunbright hair, And seablue, seadeep eyes; Spirit of Bliss, what brings thee here, Beneath these sullen skies? Thou shouldst live in eternal spring, Where endless day is never dim; Why, seraph, has thy erring wing Borne thee down to weep with him? “Ah, not from heaven am I descended, And I do not come to mingle tears; But sweet is day, though with shadows blended; And, though clouded, sweet are youthful years. “I, the image of light and gladness, Saw and pitied that mournful boy, And I swore to take his gloomy sadness, And give to him my beamy joy. “Heavy and dark the night is closing; Heavy and dark may its biding be: Better for all from grief reposing, And better for all who watch like me. “Guardian angel, he lacks no longer; Evil fortune he need not fear: Fate is strong, but Love is stronger; And more unsleeping than angel’s care.”
That was all the poems by Emily Brontë. As we mentioned earlier, the poet might not be expressive in real life, but the poems reveal everything about their emotional state. All the poems by Emily Brontë are a testament to that.
While she was a very secretive and reserved person, her poems reveal everything about how she viewed the world, and the pain she suffered from. But sometimes, beauty arises from anguish, and this is the reason why her poems are still read today.
Expressive, intelligent, and talented author and poet; these are some of the many ways you can describe Emily Brontë. Which one is your favorite poem by the poet?