The Captive's Dream
Written: January 24th. 1838.  First Published: 1902.

Another Gondal poem; and again, similar to those that Emily was writing around this period. Anne has signed it with the Gondal name of 'Alexandrina Zenobia'.

Edward Chitham writes: 'It is worth noting that the heroine's anguish is exacerbated by the knowledge that a "kindred" heart is breaking for her; she thinks of him rather than her own plight. Already we find a note of unselfishness in Anne's poems which confirms her report in "Self-Communion":

That heart so prone to overflow
E'en at the thought of other's woe.

(See also: Chitham, 'The Poems of Anne Brontë', p.62 & p.167)

Methought I saw him but I knew him not;
He was so changed from what he used to be,
There was no redness on his woe-worn cheek,
No sunny smile upon his ashy lips,
His hollow wandering eyes looked wild and fierce,
And grief was printed on his marble brow,
And O I thought he clasped his wasted hands,
And raised his haggard eyes to Heaven, and prayed
That he might die -- I had no power to speak,
I thought I was allowed to see him thus;
And yet I might not speak one single word;
I might not even tell him that I lived
And that it might be possible if search were made,
To find out where I was and set me free,
O how I longed to clasp him to my heart,
Or but to hold his trembling hand in mine,
And speak one word of comfort to his mind,
I struggled wildly but it was in vain,
I could not rise from my dark dungeon floor,
And the dear name I vainly strove to speak,
Died in a voiceless whisper on my tongue,
Then I awoke, and lo it was a dream!
A dream? Alas it was reality!
For well I know wherever he may be
He mourns me thus -- O heaven I could bear
My deadly fate with calmness if there were
No kindred hearts to bleed and break for me!

Alexandrina Zenobia

Copyright © 2000 Michael Armitage

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