The Elder's Rebuke

Emily Jane Brontë 1818 (Thornton) – 1848 (Haworth)



'Listen! When your hair, like mine,
Takes a tint of silver gray;
When your eyes, with dimmer shine,
Watch life's bubbles float away:

When you, young man, have borne like me
The weary weight of sixty-three,
Then shall penance sore be paid
For those hours so wildly squandered;
And the words that now fall dead
On your ear, be deeply pondered—
Pondered and approved at last:
But their virtue will be past!

'Glorious is the prize of Duty,
Though she be 'a serious power';
Treacherous all the lures of Beauty,
Thorny bud and poisonous flower!

'Mirth is but a mad beguiling
Of the golden-gifted time;
Love—a demon-meteor, wiling
Heedless feet to gulfs of crime.

'Those who follow earthly pleasure,
  Heavenly knowledge will not lead;
Wisdom hides from them her treasure,
  Virtue bids them evil-speed!

'Vainly may their hearts repenting.
  Seek for aid in future years;
Wisdom, scorned, knows no relenting;
  Virtue is not won by fears.'

Thus spake the ice-blooded elder gray;
The young man scoffed as he turned away,
Turned to the call of a sweet lute's measure,
Waked by the lightsome touch of pleasure:
Had he ne'er met a gentler teacher,
Woe had been wrought by that pitiless preacher.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:01 min read
78

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABAB CCXDEDFF CGCG HIHI GEGX HJHJ BBGGGG
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,163
Words 204
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 4, 8, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6

Emily Jane Brontë

Emily Jane Brontë was an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, now considered a classic of English literature. She also published one book of poetry with her sisters Charlotte and Anne titled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell with her own poems finding regard as poetic genius. Emily was the third-eldest of the four surviving Brontë siblings, between the youngest Anne and her brother Branwell. She published under the pen name Ellis Bell. more…

All Emily Jane Brontë poems | Emily Jane Brontë Books

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