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No coward soul mine
Words for Emily Bronte on her birthday
Today is the birthday of Emily Jane Bronte, the darkest and most passionate of the gifted and ill-fated Bronte sisters. Within her brief life she left behind a small volume poems, and Wuthering Heights. The latter, penned under name of Ellis Bell, was published when she was only 29, a year before her death of tuberculosis. It was a literary sensation, much interpreted through film, but nothing can match the visceral language and immortal energy of her own words. In reading it, we are reminded that it is her sole surviving work of fiction.
A Parson’s daughter, Emily was Willowy and defiant, with dark tangled tresses, who could be seen tramping through the moors with her mastiff Keeper. As a child she was described as having “the eyes of a half tamed creature. No one could tame Emily, not even death. Wuthering Height’s Heathcliff and Cathy exist in her wake; they are the mist upon the moors, having embraced the terrible truth of love.
No Coward Soul is Mine
No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven's glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear
O God within my breast
Almighty ever-present Deity
Life, that in me hast rest,
As I Undying Life, have power in Thee
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts, unutterably vain,
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thy infinity,
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality.
With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears
Though earth and moon were gone
And suns and universes ceased to be
And Thou wert left alone
Every Existence would exist in thee
There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void
Since thou art Being and Breath
And what thou art may never be destroyed.
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