To Cowper (by Acton Bell, aka Anne Brontë)
Sweet are thy strains, celestial Bard;
And oft, in childhood's years,
I've read them o'er and o'er again,
With floods of silent tears.
The language of my inmost heart
I traced in every line;
MY sins, MY sorrows, hopes, and fears,
Were there-and only mine.
All for myself the sigh would swell,
The tear of anguish start;
I little knew what wilder woe
Had filled the Poet's heart.
I did not know the nights of gloom,
The days of misery;
The long, long years of dark despair,
That crushed and tortured thee.
But they are gone; from earth at length
Thy gentle soul is pass'd,
And in the bosom of its God
Has found its home at last.
It must be so, if God is love,
And answers fervent prayer;
Then surely thou shalt dwell on high,
And I may meet thee there.
Is He the source of every good,
The spring of purity?
Then in thine hours of deepest woe,
Thy God was still with thee.
How else, when every hope was fled,
Couldst thou so fondly cling
To holy things and help men?
And how so sweetly sing,
Of things that God alone could teach?
And whence that purity,
That hatred of all sinful ways—
That gentle charity?
Are THESE the symptoms of a heart
Of heavenly grace bereft—
For ever banished from its God,
To Satan's fury left?
Yet, should thy darkest fears be true,
If Heaven be so severe,
That such a soul as thine is lost,—
Oh! how shall I appear?
Monday, May 30, 2011
The Brontë Sisters, Poems, by Currer, Acton, and Ellis Bell, p. 92-94: