The Wife's Will

Charlotte Brontë 1816 (Thornton, West Yorkshire) – 1855 (Haworth)



SIT still­a word­a breath may break
(As light airs stir a sleeping lake,)
The glassy calm that soothes my woes,
The sweet, the deep, the full repose.
O leave me not ! for ever be
Thus, more than life itself to me !

Yes, close beside thee, let me kneel­
Give me thy hand that I may feel
The friend so true­so tried­so dear,
My heart's own chosen­indeed is near;
And check me not­this hour divine
Belongs to me­is fully mine.

'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside,
After long absence­wandering wide;
'Tis thy own wife reads in thine eyes,
A promise clear of stormless skies,
For faith and true love light the rays,
Which shine responsive to her gaze.

Aye,­well that single tear may fall;
Ten thousand might mine eyes recall,
Which from their lids, ran blinding fast,
In hours of grief, yet scarcely past,
Well may'st thou speak of love to me;
For, oh ! most truly­I love thee !

Yet smile­for we are happy now.
Whence, then, that sadness on thy brow ?
What say'st thou ? ' We must once again,
Ere long, be severed by the main ? '
I knew not this­I deemed no more,
Thy step would err from Britain's shore.

' Duty commands ?' 'Tis true­'tis just;
Thy slightest word I wholly trust,
Nor by request, nor faintest sigh
Would I, to turn thy purpose, try;
But, William­hear my solemn vow­
Hear and confirm !­with thee I go.

' Distance and suffering,' did'st thou say ?
' Danger by night, and toil by day ?'
Oh, idle words, and vain are these;
Hear me ! I cross with thee the seas.
Such risk as thou must meet and dare,
I­thy true wife­will duly share.

Passive, at home, I will not pine;
Thy toils­thy perils, shall be mine;
Grant this­and be hereafter paid
By a warm heart's devoted aid:
'Tis granted­with that yielding kiss,
Entered my soul unmingled bliss.

Thanks, William­thanks ! thy love has joy,
Pure­undefiled with base alloy;
'Tis not a passion, false and blind,
Inspires, enchains, absorbs my mind;
Worthy, I feel, art thou to be
Loved with my perfect energy.

This evening, now, shall sweetly flow,
Lit by our clear fire's happy glow;
And parting's peace-embittering fear,
Is warned, our hearts to come not near;
For fate admits my soul's decree,
In bliss or bale­to go with thee !

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:59 min read
105

Quick analysis:

Scheme AABBCC DDEEFF GGHHII JJKKCC LLMMNN OOPPLQ RRSSTT FFUUVV WWYYCC QQEECC
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 2,213
Words 394
Stanzas 10
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6

Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood and whose novels are English literature standards. more…

All Charlotte Brontë poems | Charlotte Brontë Books

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