A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"No coward soul is mine"

I subbed in English classes today. In two periods, the students were to choose 2 poems. We went to the library so they could search through poetry books.

I LOVE poetry, generally only English poetry, from the 19th Century and before (though I do love Yeats). I don't read poetry often enough, so when I do, I feel a great warmth and desire to read more.

My favorites are Tennyson, Byron, Keats, Wordsworth, and Shelley. I so enjoyed helping students look through these masters today, that I feel the need to post one of my favorite poems.

My absolute favorite poem is "The Lady of Shalott," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It is rather long, so I'll only post the link today. (My favorite painting is "The Lady of Shalott" by John Williams Waterhouse. You can find it through the link, along with another Waterhouse of the same name, as well as others.)

One of my favorite authors is Emily Bronte. She wrote Wuthering Heights one of my favorite novels, which I read every October. Most people don't know she also wrote some beautiful poetry before her death at a young age. I love this poem of her's, especially:

No coward soul is mine
by Emily Bronte
(Jan. 2, 1846)
Charlotte Brontë notes, "The following are the last
lines my sister Emily ever wrote."

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
0 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.
Absolutely glorious.
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