by Jason Diamond)
To celebrate National Poetry Month, Flavorwire will be posting a poem a day. For today’s installment, we go back to 1846 for this poem from Poems By Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, originally published under Emily Brontë’s nom de plume, ‘Ellis Bell’.
“A Death-scene” by Emily Brontë
“O day! he cannot die
When thou so fair art shining!
O Sun, in such a glorious sky,
So tranquilly declining;
He cannot leave thee now,
While fresh west winds are blowing,
And all around his youthful brow
Thy cheerful light is glowing!
Edward, awake, awake -
The golden evening gleams
Warm and bright on Arden’s lake -
Arouse thee from thy dreams!
Beside thee, on my knee,
My dearest friend! I pray
That thou, to cross the eternal sea,
Wouldst yet one hour delay:
I hear its billows roar -
I see them foaming high;
But no glimpse of a further shore
Has blest my straining eye.
Believe not what they urge
Of Eden isles beyond;
Turn back, from that tempestuous surge,
To thy own native land.
It is not death, but pain
That struggles in thy breast -
Nay, rally, Edward, rouse again;
I cannot let thee rest!”
One long look, that sore reproved me
For the woe I could not bear -
One mute look of suffering moved me
To repent my useless prayer:
And, with sudden check, the heaving
Of distraction passed away;
Not a sign of further grieving
Stirred my soul that awful day.
Paled, at length, the sweet sun setting;
Sunk to peace the twilight breeze:
Summer dews fell softly, wetting
Glen, and glade, and silent trees.
Then his eyes began to weary,
Weighed beneath a mortal sleep;
And their orbs grew strangely dreary,
Clouded, even as they would weep.
But they wept not, but they changed not,
Never moved, and never closed;
Troubled still, and still they ranged not -
Wandered not, nor yet reposed!
So I knew that he was dying -
Stooped, and raised his languid head;
Felt no breath, and heard no sighing,
So I knew that he was dead.