“Anticipation” by Emily Bronte

Emily Brontë

HOW beautiful the earth is still, 
To theehow full of happiness ! 
How little fraught with real ill, 
Or unreal phantoms of distress ! 
How spring can bring thee glory, yet, 
And summer win thee to forget

December’s sullen time ! 
Why dost thou hold the treasure fast, 
Of youth’s delight, when youth is past, 
  And thou art near thy prime ?

When those who were thy own compeers, 
Equals in fortune and in years, 
Have seen their morning melt in tears, 
  To clouded, smileless day; 
Blest, had they died untried and young, 
Before their hearts went wandering wrong, 
Poor slaves, subdued by passions strong, 

A weak and helpless prey !


” Because, I hoped while they enjoyed, 
And, by fulfilment, hope destroyed; 
As children hope, with trustful breast, 
I waited blissand cherished rest. 
A thoughtful spirit taught me, soon, 
That we must long till life be done; 
That every phase of earthly joy 
Must always fade, and always cloy:

This I foresawand would not chase 
  The fleeting treacheries; 
But, with firm foot and tranquil face, 
Held backward from that tempting race, 
Gazed o’er the sands the waves efface, 
  To the enduring seas

There cast my anchor of desire 
Deep in unknown eternity; 
Nor ever let my spirit tire, 
With looking for what is to be !

It is hope’s spell that glorifies, 
Like youth, to my maturer eyes, 
All Nature’s million mysteries, 
  The fearful and the fair 
Hope soothes me in the griefs I know; 
She lulls my pain for others’ woe, 
And makes me strong to undergo 
  What I am born to bear.

Glad comforter ! will I not brave, 
Unawed, the darkness of the grave ? 
Nay, smile to hear Death’s billows rave 
  Sustained, my guide, by thee ? 
The more unjust seems present fate, 
The more my spirit swells elate, 
Strong, in thy strength, to anticipate 
  Rewarding destiny !” 



Click here to read a short biography of Emily Bronte


First Publication: Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell London: Aylott and Jones, 8, Paternoster Row, 1846. pp. 56-58.



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