"Encouragement" and "The Old Stoic"

by Emily Brontë
encouragement poemOf the three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Anne and Emily - Emily was perhaps the greatest writer.

Emily Brontë (1818-1849) was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, in the north of England.

After their mother died of cancer when Emily was only three years old, Emily, her sisters, and brother Branwell spent most of their time in reading and writing to escape their unhappy childhoods.

They read the works of Shakespeare, Virgil and Milton and created imaginary worlds often writing their own poems and stories.

Although Emily is most famous for her classic literary novel Wuthering Heights, she also wrote many wonderful poems.

Despite her difficult and often sad life, she was a courageous, independent and strong-willed person who always remained true to herself. ("I'll walk where my own nature would be leading; it vexes me to choose another guide.")

She reveals this independence and courage in her poem The Old Stoic.

In her poem Encouragement she again shows her courage as well as her hope and faith. Even though her mother died when she was young, she feels her presence and knows that she will see her again.

I chose these two poems of Emily's for the hope, faith and humanity they depict in the face of great adversity.


I do not weep; I would not weep;
Our mother needs no tears:
Dry thine eyes, too; 'tis vain to keep
This causeless grief for years.

What though her brow be changed and cold,
Her sweet eyes closed for ever?
What though the stone--the darksome mould
Our mortal bodies sever?

What though her hand smooth ne'er again
Those silken locks of thine?
Nor, through long hours of future pain,
Her kind face o'er thee shine?

Remember still, she is not dead;
She sees us, sister, now;
Laid, where her angel spirit fled,
'Mid heath and frozen snow.

And from that world of heavenly light
Will she not always bend
To guide us in our lifetime's night,
And guard us to the end?

Thou knowest she will; and thou mayst mourn
That WE are left below:
But not that she can ne'er return
To share our earthly woe.

The Old Stoic

Riches I hold in light esteem,
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream,
That vanished with the morn:

And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, "Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty!"

Yes, as my swift days near their goal:
'Tis all that I implore;
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.

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