Emily Jane Brontë

(30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848 / Thornton / Yorkshire)

The Prisoner - Poem by Emily Jane Brontë

Still let my tyrants know, I am not doomed to wear
Year after year in gloom and desolate despair;
A messenger of Hope comes every night to me,
And offers for short life, eternal liberty.

He comes with western winds, with evening's wandering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars:
Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire,
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with desire.

Desire for nothing known in my maturer years,
When Joy grew mad with awe, at counting future tears:
When, if my spirit's sky was full of flashes warm,
I knew not whence they came, from sun or thunderstorm.

But first, a hush of peace -a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress and fierce impatience ends;
Mute music soothes my breast -unuttered harmony
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to me.

Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals;
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels;
Its wings are almost free -its home, its harbour found;
Measuring the gulf, it stoops, and dares the final bound.

O dreadful is the check -intense the agony -
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again,
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.

Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture less;
The more that anguish racks, the earlier it will bless;
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly shine,
If it but herald Death, the vision is divine.


Comments about The Prisoner by Emily Jane Brontë

  • (11/14/2018 8:34:00 PM)


    This is not the poem in its entirety. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Moira Cameron (3/9/2016 4:21:00 PM)


    I can't believe no one has commented yet on this amazing poem. I am ashamed to admit I have not read any of Emily Bronte's poems before. That will change now. This is fabulous! (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: despair, future, change, music, truth, peace, dream, fire, joy, lost, heaven, hope, home, sky, death, sun, night, star, rose, wind



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]