Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

The Wife's Will

Published under Charlotte's nom de plume 'Currer Bell' in 1846.

***


Sit still--a word--a 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 true--so tried--so dear,
My heart's own chosen--indeed is near;
And check me not--this hour divine
Belongs to me--is fully mine.

'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside,
After long absence--wandering 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.

Ay,--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 mayst thou speak of love to me,
For, oh! most truly--I love thee!

Yet smile--for we are happy now.
Whence, then, that sadness on thy brow?
What sayst thou? "We muse once again,
Ere long, be severed by the main!"
I knew not this--I 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, William, hear my solemn vow--
Hear and confirm!--with thee I go.

"Distance and suffering," didst 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,
I--thy true wife--will duly share.

Passive, at home, I will not pine;
Thy toils, thy perils shall be mine;
Grant this--and be hereafter paid
By a warm heart's devoted aid:
'Tis granted--with that yielding kiss,
Entered my soul unmingled bliss.

Thanks, William, thanks! thy love has joy,
Pure, undefiled 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 bale--to go with thee!

Charlotte Bronte