Sunday, May 29, 2011

Remembrance- Emily Bronte

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?

Emily Bronte (1818 - 1848)
Emily Brontë was a British novelist and poet, best remembered for her one novel Wuthering Heights, an acknowledged classic of English literature. Emily was born at Thornton in Yorkshire, the younger sister of Charlotte Brontë and the fifth of six children. In 1820, the family moved to Haworth, where Emily's father was a rector, and it was in these surroundings that their literary talent flourished. In childhood, after the death of their mother, the three sisters and her brother Branwell created imaginary lands (Gondal, Angria, Gaaldine), which featured in stories they wrote. Few of Emily's work from this period survive except for poems spoken by characters.
In 1837, Emily commenced work as a governess at Law Hill, near Halifax. Later, with her sister Charlotte, she attended college in Brussels.
It was the discovery of Emily's poetic talent by her family that led her and her sisters, Charlotte and Anne, to publish a joint collection of their poetry in 1845. Owing to the prejudices on female writers, all three used male pseudonyms, Emily's being "Ellis Bell".
She subsequently published her only novel, Wuthering Heights, in 1847. Although it received mixed reviews when it first came out, the book subsequently became an English literary classic.
Like her sisters, Emily's constitution had been weakened by their harsh life at home and at school. She died on December 19, 1848 of tuberculosis, having caught a chill during the funeral of her brother in September.

Remembrance by Emily Bronte is an elegy and contains a lot of negative imagery. The poem has a string link with nature and has lots of information about nature. This is probably due to Emily's background as a child, where she was fascinated by nature and enjoyed her own company rather than that of others and it was here when she was alone, she learned to appreciate nature. Examples of Emily's knowledge of nature can be seen strongly in the second verse in particular as she makes lots of references such as 'Over the mountains', 'that northern shore' and 'where heath and fern leaves cover'. There are many other examples in the poem, but many I talk about later on in the essay. The poem is about a person losing a loved one and her feeling towards the loved one now the person’s gone. The losing of a loved one is...
...wording of thee at the end of the lines tells the reader that it is a person in the earth; it makes it sound more personal. 'Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave' Far, far removed is about the body and the repetition and isolation of far add emphasis on how alone and out of the way the body is. Cold is again a negative image and is repeated from the opening line and therefore has a deeper effect on the reader. The following line 'Have I forgot my love, to love thee' is ironic, she's asking the question have I forgot my love, but obviously hasn't since she is talking about it. Emily uses personification in the final line of the opening verse with 'Severed at last by times all severing wave?' It is relating to the death of the loved one. Also it ends with a question mark yet there is no obvious question in the line. I do not understand the reason for this being here. 'Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover' This relates to Emily as she likes to be alone and she feels best when alone, but when she is with people maybe she feels intimidated or scared so she won’t seem normal and this is what she meant when she wrote 'when alone do my thoughts no longer hover' she can only act normal when alone. The second and third verse both contains images of angels. 'Resting their wings' and 'spirit' are both strong religious images. These are significant because they show the reader she had a religious understanding which she got form from her background with her father being a priest. Other words with religious significance in Remembrance include 'Faithful' which relates to any religion means being loyal to the subject. Emily was faithful to her loved one and is still faithful to the spirit of the loved one. Heaven is another religious word in Remembrance, but it has a different meaning to Emily. Heaven is the habitat for God and his angels, but Emily's heaven is in her dreams and thoughts and is most likely to be Gondal. Heaven is probably the habitat for her and the loved one. Remembrance also has a lot of water imagery, which is quite a common theme in Emily Bronte’s poems. 'Stars' is another Bronte poem with strong water imagery. 'Stars' had negative water imagery with words such as sank and sea, which related to drowning. In remembrance, we have strong water images with words such as wave, shore, tide and drinking. Then possibly snow, melted and tears could be seen as images of water as well. Midway through Remembrance Emily wrote two lines both starting with 'All my life's bliss'. One line ends with life and the other ends with death, but both lines have a sad depressing meaning. 'All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given' means all the happiness her dear life was given 'All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.' This means that all her life’s happiness is in the grave with the loved one. I felt these lines were very powerful and the repletion put a lot of emphasis on the sadness and created a very downbeat tone. That verse was the most powerful of the whole poem. It began by suggesting no person has filled the void left by the loved one 'No later light has lightened up my heaven/No second morn has ever shone for me.' The lines are very similar lightened up my heaven is a strong image of happiness and then shone for me is a happy image, but they are at different ends of the scale. Later in the poem, the negative mood and imagery continue with words such as despair, powerless and destroy. All these words are powerful and have an effect. 'But when the days of the golden dreams had perished/and even despair was powerless to destroy/Then did I learn how the existence could be cherished/strengthened and fed without the aid of joy.' I understand this verse to mean that once she realized that the loved one wasn't coming back she carried on her life like normal, but could never be fully satisfied with her life. The verse that follows uses a variety of interesting words. She used useless to personify passion. She has described one of man's strongest emotions as useless which is quite a powerful statement to make. This helps the reader understand her pain. In the line after she personifies her soul to pursue her which is an odd statement to make and also she describes her soul as young, which gives it the image of being innocent and as the soul is part of the person it makes the person writing the poem/character in the poem seem young and innocent. Earlier in the poem we had heaven and angels now we have a contrast with the word burning, a negative image, which is often referred to as an image of hell. The final word I fought was interesting in the verse was tomb. Throughout the poem there had been many references to tombs, graves and brown hills (image of a shallow grave). These are all close to the earth and represent being close or as one with nature, being in the ground like they have been eaten up by the earth and taken back by nature. The final verse of Remembrance the reader is told how painful it is to remember the lost loved one 'Dare not indulge in memory's ...

How does Emily Bronte declare her faith towards her husband even if he is dead in her poem, Remembrance?

D.N. Aloysius

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