THIS last denial of my faith,
Thou, solemn Priest, hast heard;
And, though upon my bed of death,
I call not back a word.
Point not to thy Madonna, Priest,
Thy sightless saint of stone;
She cannot, from this burning breast,
Wring one repentant moan.
Thou say'st, that when a sinless child,
I duly bent the knee,
And prayed to what in marble smiled
Cold, lifeless, mute, on me.
I did. But listen ! Children spring
Full soon to riper youth;
And, for Love's vow and Wedlock's ring,
I sold my early truth.
'Twas not a grey, bare head, like thine,
Bent o'er me, when I said,
' That land and God and Faith are mine,
For which thy fathers bled.'
I see thee not, my eyes are dim;
But, well I hear thee say,
' O daughter, cease to think of him
Who led thy soul astray.
Between you lies both space and time;
Let leagues and years prevail
To turn thee from the path of crime,
Back to the Church's pale.'
And, did I need that thou shouldst tell
What mighty barriers rise
To part me from that dungeon-cell,
Where my loved Walter lies ?
And, did I need that thou shouldst taunt
My dying hour at last,
By bidding this worn spirit pant
No more for what is past ?
Priestmust I cease to think of him ?
How hollow rings that word !
Can time, can tears, can distance dim
The memory of my lord ?
I said before, I saw not thee,
Because, an hour agone,
Over my eye-balls, heavily,
The lids fell down like stone.
But still my spirit's inward sight
Beholds his image beam
As fixed, as clear, as burning bright,
As some red planet's gleam.
Talk not of thy Last Sacrament,
Tell not thy beads for me;
Both rite and prayer are vainly spent,
As dews upon the sea.
Speak not one word of Heaven above,
Rave not of Hell's alarms;
Give me but back my Walter's love,
Restore me to his arms !
Then will the bliss of Heaven be won;
Then will Hell shrink away,
As I have seen night's terrors shun
The conquering steps of day.
'Tis my religion thus to love,
My creed thus fixed to be;
Not Death shall shake, nor Priestcraft break
My rock-like constancy !
Now go; for at the door there waits
Another stranger guest:
He callsI comemy pulse scarce beats,
My heart fails in my breast.
Again that voicehow far away,
How dreary sounds that tone !
And I, methinks, am gone astray
In trackless wastes and lone.
I fain would rest a little while:
Where can I find a stay,
Till dawn upon the hills shall smile,
And show some trodden way ?
' I come ! I come !' in haste she said,
' 'Twas Walter's voice I heard !'
Then up she sprangbut fell back, dead,
His name her latest word.
Charlotte Brontë's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Apostasy by Charlotte Brontë )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
Federico García Lorca
(5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Rainer Maria Rilke
(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
Harivansh Rai Bachchan
(27 November 1907 – 18 January 2003)
William Ernest Henley
(1849 - 1902)
- Jugnoo, Harivansh Rai Bachchan
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Death is Nothing at All, Henry Scott Holland
- Winter Solstice, Jacqueline C Nash
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
Poem of the Day
- Love As Dry As Bone, Mutasem I. Amayreh
- A Million Kisses, Michael P. McParland
- La Belle Dame, Mutasem I. Amayreh
- Indescribable, Mutasem I. Amayreh
- We CAN, Chinweokwu Sunlight M. Ndubu ..
- Tortuous Furrow, kassem oude
- Haunted Me, Her Shadow, Mutasem I. Amayreh
- Diminishing Foresight, Mutasem I. Amayreh
- Happy Birthday Sweet Lady, Michael P. McParland
- A defining moment in history, Royston Allen