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The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte by…

The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte (original 1941; edition 1995)

by Emily Bronte (Author), C. W. Hatfield (Editor), Irene Taylor (Foreword)

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Title:The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte
Authors:Emily Bronte (Author)
Other authors:C. W. Hatfield (Editor), Irene Taylor (Foreword)
Info:Columbia University Press (1995), Edition: Reprint, 262 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte by Emily Brontë (1941)


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The weather and the seasons feature heavily in this collection, which won't be surprising to anyone familiar with Emily's upbringing near the North Yorkshire moors.

I didn't realise just how much poetry Emily had produced until I read this collection. It's a pity she didn't write the equivalent in prose - I state this as a person who doesn't actually like poetry, but being a fan of the Brontës, I decided to read their poems around the times of each sister's birthday.

Compared to her siblings, I thought Emily's poems were more palatable than Charlotte's, but not as good as Anne's, though someone who truly appreciates poetry and the Brontës will probably enjoy all three sisters' contributions. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Aug 1, 2014 |
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a great reader of poetry. Dickenson, Frost and every so often a brief Longfellow and I’m good. But when I saw this volume of Emily Brontë’s poems at a library sale, I snatched it up. Some of my favorite passages in Wuthering Heights are very lyrical and it’s clear that Emily had a fondness for phrasing. Her poems reflect her temperament and her favored society of nature and animals.

I found the introduction to be quite interesting reading all on its own. Hatfield discusses all the previous attempts to collect Emily’s poems. Sometimes they were mistaken for Anne’s work. Charlotte added titles to many of them and to some she even added a stanza here and there. By studying the different handwritings, experts were able to determine who wrote what, corrected that, added this, etc.

I didn’t realize until reading the introduction that most of these are Gondal poems (Gondal being the imaginary land Emily and Anne wrote about together). The large majority of these are untitled or they have only initials as titles, so there’s nothing to help you anticipate context or setting.

My favorite is titled “D.G.C. to J.A.” and was written October 2, 1844. It’s obviously a lament between a Romeo-Juliet pair of lovers. “Nor would we shrink from our fathers' cause/Nor dread Death more because the hand that gives it may be dear.” I wish that I could know the fate of these two and whether they were able to escape together. It would have been a wonderful idea to read Anne’s Gondal poems simultaneously – wish I had thought of that earlier!

There is one poem that I think captures Emily perfectly. I am not sure if it’s meant to be a personal statement or a Gondal episode or what, it has no title (dated March 1, 1841).

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 –
Through life and death, a chainless soul
With courage to endure!

So, even though these poems are well written, only a few really caught my eye. Some of them I had to read a few times because I kept losing the thought or was just plain, outright bored. This won’t become a treasured volume but I am glad I took the time to read them. ( )
2 vote VictoriaPL | Oct 7, 2011 |
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To the Memory of Henry Houston Bonnell
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Cold, clear, and blue, the morning heaven
Expands its arch on high;
Cold, clear, and blue, Lake Werna's water
Reflects that winter's sky.
The moon has set, but Venus shines
A silent, silvery star.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140423524, Mass Market Paperback)

The poems of Emily Jane Bronte are passionate and powerful works that convey the vitality of the human spirit and of the natural world. Only twenty-one of her poems were published during her lifetime - this volume contains those and all others attributed to her. Many poems describe the mythic country of Gondal and its citizens that she imagined with Anne, and remain the only surviving record of their joint creation. Other visionary works, including "Remembrance" and "No Coward Soul is Mine", boldly confront mortality and anticipate life after death. And poems such as "Redbreast Early in the Morning" and "The Blue Bell is the Sweetest Flower' evoke the wild beauties of nature she observed on the Yorkshire moors, while also examining the state of her psyche.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:08 -0400)

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