Certainly not one of Anne's better compositions, but this is her earliest extant poem. Written when she was on her Christmas holidays from Roe Head School at the age of sixteen. The title alone makes it clear that it is one of her Gondal creations. Despite the highly fictional nature of Gondal; these poems still contain an auto-biographical element. Edward Chitham points out that we may never fully understand the meaning of this particular poem as the background is missing. It becomes a problem distinguishing Anne's own feelings from those of her Gondal character: it is clear Lady Geralda is relating the hopelessness of her home and declaring her desire to leave it. In verse 19 she laments that her father is long dead, her mother died more recently, and her brother is far away: this situation in no way relates to Anne's life; but verse 21:
|But the world's before me
Why should I despair?
I will not spend my days in vain,
I will not linger here!
may well have been inspired by her own, first, ventures out into the world - namely Roe Head School, and reflect her own feelings.106
(See also: Chitham, 'The Poems of Anne Brontë', p.49 & p.166)
|Why, when I hear the stormy breath
Of the wild winter wind
Rushing o'er the mountain heath,
Does sadness fill my mind?
For long ago I loved to lie
Its sound was music then to me;
But now, how different is the sound?
Why does the warm light of the sun
Beneath this lone and dreary hill
The sweet voice of the singing bird,
Is loaded with the pleasant scent
Last evening when I wandered there
Why did the trees, the buds, the stream
I plucked a primrose young and pale
Soon I was near my lofty home,
I thought of taking it again
And then I cast that flower away
O why are things so changed to me?
And why are all the beauties gone
For when the heart is free from care,
The sweetest strain, the wildest wind,
Long before my mother died
There is still a cherished hope
I will cheer the feeble spark
I leave thee then, my childhood's home,
From such a hopeless home to part
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