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Thread: Emily Bronte "When I Shall Sleep"

  1. #1
    Registered User persephone"T"'s Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Emily Bronte "When I Shall Sleep"

    When I shall sleep

    Oh, for the time when I shall sleep
    Without identity,
    And never care how rain may steep,
    Or snow may cover me!
    No promised heaven these wild desires
    Could all, or half, fulful;
    No threatened hell, with quenchless fires,
    Subdue this quenchless will!

    So said I, and still say the same;
    Still, to my death, will say—
    Three gods within this little frame
    Are warring night and day:
    Heaven could not hold them all, and yet
    They all are held in me;
    And must be mine till I forget
    My present entity!

    Oh, for the time when in my breast
    Their struggles will be o'er!
    Oh, for the day when I shall rest,
    And never suffer more!

    Can anyone help me for analysing this poem??Both on the thematic and structural levels (paradox,simile,metaphor,allegory etc..)

    I've found some of them for example,some paradoxesromised heaven,threatened hell;rest and suffer.Sleep symbolises death?what else?Who or what are the "three gods"?

  2. #2
    Registered User persephone"T"'s Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Three gods may be the Holy Trinity in Christianity or maybe she and her 2 sisters Anne and Charlotte..

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    May 2007
    perhaps the body, mind, and soul

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Jul 2008
    I dunno...but that sure is a sad, mournful tone for a poem!

    Beautiful syntax, though!

  5. #5
    Mr RonPrice Ron Price's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    George Town, Tasmania, Australia
    Blog Entries

    Dondal Poems and Wuthering Heights


    Emily Bronte seemed to be obsessed with what she called her Gondal Poems which she began collecting together in February 1844. This obsession continued right through the publication of Wuthering Heights in 1847 until May 1848. Her poems were about imaginary heroes and heroines and contained a vision of oneness. It was this vision that she sought to communicate in her poetry. These poems and their themes provided a retreat for Emily’s imagination, for her fantasy. They became a necessity for her life. They were a “benignant power” a “solacer of human cares” and a “brighter hope when hope despairs.” -Ron Price with thanks to Juliet Barker, The Brontes, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1994, pp.435-6.

    You started collecting your poems
    the same month Samandar was born,
    the great Apostle of Baha’u’llah,
    one of the many heros and heroines
    of the Cause. You finished just before
    the Conference of Badasht with the Bab
    in the fortress of Chihriq. And now my
    imagination has a home among these
    saints and martyrs that is a “benignant
    poer”, a “sure solacer of human cares”
    and a “brighter hope when hope despairs.”1

    You died when the siege of the Shrine of
    Shaykh Tabarsi began: aged thirty, as tough
    as boot leather, an unbending spirit, proud
    endurance, gifted soul, genius of liberated
    mind and tranquil spirit: perhaps your spirit
    was at Tabarsi!2

    1 ibid., p. 436.
    2 Emily Bronte had “a vision of the essential oneness of life which she gradually and haltingly communicated in her poetry.”(Winifred Gerin, Emily Bronte, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1997, p.149. She died on 19 December 1848 the same day as the siege on Tabarsi began.

    Ron Price
    26 October 1999
    Ron Price is a Canadian who has been living in Australia for 42 years(in 2013). He is married to a Tasmanian and has been for 37 years after 8 years in a first marriage. At the age of 69 he now spends most of his time as an author and writer, poet and publisher. editor and researcher, online blogger, essayist, journalist and engaging in independent scholarship. He has been associated with the Baha'i Faith for 60 years and a member for 53

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