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On the Death of Anne Brontë

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There's little joy in life for me,
      And little terror in the grave;
I 've lived the parting hour to see
      Of one I would have died to save.

Calmly to watch the failing breath,
      Wishing each sigh might be the last;
Longing to see the shade of death
      O'er those belovèd features cast.

The cloud, the stillness that must part
      The darling of my life from me;
And then to thank God from my heart,
      To thank Him well and fervently;

Although I knew that we had lost
      The hope and glory of our life;
And now, benighted, tempest-tossed,
      Must bear alone the weary strife.

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On the Death of Anne Brontë

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  • Although Charlotte Brontë is one of the most famous Victorian women writers, only two of her poems are widely read today, and these are not her best or most interesting poems. Like her contemporary Elizabeth Barrett Browning, she experimented with the poetic forms that became the characteristic modes of the Victorian period—the long narrative poem and the dramatic monologue—but unlike Browning, Brontë gave up writing poetry at the beginning of her professional career, when she became identified in the public mind as the author of the popular novel Jane Eyre (1847). Included in this novel are the two songs by which most people know her poetry today. Brontë's decision to abandon poetry for novel writing exemplifies the dramatic shift in literary tastes and the marketability of literary genres—from poetry to prose fiction—that occurred in the 1830s and 1840s. Her experience as a poet thus reflects the dominant trends in early...

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