If you’ve been keeping up here on the blog, you’ll know that I recently delved into one of the only works by the Brontë sisters I had yet to read, Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, their first formally published work. I recently reviewed the works included in this tome by eldest sibling Currer Bell (aka Charlotte Brontë, my truest literary inspiration), and now it’s time to move onto my perceptions of the poems written by reclusive, isolated and melancholy sister Emily. Although I have read Wuthering Heights twice, it has never been one of my favourite Victorian novels; I find it too harsh, jumbled and fragmentary. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Emily’s poems (perhaps I prefer her writing style in smaller doses?) and I found them to be very eloquent and sophisticated in terms of structure, style, rhyme and technique. Although the subject matter and emotion was less impactful and memorable to me than Charlotte’s poems, I do believe that Emily took more risks with her writing. Her voice is also the most distinctly masculine; she earns the name of Ellis Bell.
Faith and Despondency = so eloquently written with excellent pacing!
Stars = EB’s poems seem much more metaphorical and less straightforward.
Remembrance = much darker than CB’s poems.
“Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee, /
Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?”
= almost uses a masculine voice/tone.
Song = a male voice; EB MASTERS this!
Anticipation = EB takes more risks with rhyming styles and structure.
Hope = so very pessimistic, depressed, morose.
A Day Dream = EB’s speaker cannot enjoy a moment.
To Imagination = EB prefers to live in inner world (introspective), rather than real-life.
“Sure solacer of human cares,
And sweeter hope, when hope despairs!”
How Clear She Shines = impossibly sad!
“And Joy the surest path to Pain; /
And Peace, the lethargy of Grief; /
And Hope, a phantom of the soul”
Death = funny enough, she is optimistic in this morosely named poem.
“little mourned I for the parted gladness, /
…Hope was there, and laughed me out of sadness.”
= and then she becomes sad again…
“No! the morning sunshine mocks my anguish /
Time, for me, must never blossom more!”
= EB cannot stay away from dark topics for long!
My Favourite Poems of EB’s Collection
A Death-Scene = in a woman’s voice; almost anti-heaven and sacrilegious.
“Believe not what they urge /
Of Eden isles beyond; /
Turn back, from that tempestuous surge /
To thy own native land.”
The Prisoner = a truly haunting character! EB chooses more risky subject matter!
Ellis Bell’s poems are terrifying and pessimistic. They don’t give the reader any sense of hope, joy or optimism. However, they are poignant and profound for their often painful but always honest depiction of depression, isolation and solitude. I would definitely recommend them to lovers of the dark, sinister and complex world of Wuthering Heights.
Girl with a Green Heart