Charlotte Brontë

(21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855 / Yorkshire, England)

The Wife's Will - Poem by Charlotte Brontë

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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 !


Comments about The Wife's Will by Charlotte Brontë

  • Leslie Sharp (10/22/2014 6:24:00 AM)


    I did not like this poem! It made me feel dirty this feeling a feeling that will never wash off of me. In my turmoil of
    life I have always been put on a back burner, always compare to someone, always deem to be less, not perfect
    The last thing I need is a couple throwing their love at me day and night!
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: thanks, happy, trust, grief, passion, faith, fate, kiss, light, peace, friend, smile, fire, fear, joy, home, love, warning, running, sky



Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2001



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