Monday Night  May 11th  1846 / Domestic Peace
Written: Monday night, May 11th. 1846.  First Published: 1850.

Determining the date of this poem's creation presents no problem for the biographers! At the time, the three sisters were correcting their poetry proof sheets in preparation for their first publication - Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. This poem's content clearly shows that, despite the closeness of the Brontë girls, harmony did not always reign at the Parsonage. Edward Chitham suggests that the discord may have been a continuation of Emily's fury at having her poems 'accidentally discovered' by Charlotte some six months earlier; also, that there may have been some dissension over the early drafts of their three first novels, which would have been almost complete at this time. Interestingly, he also indicates that the moon, as mentioned in verse 3, certainly was shining on that evening.

Charlotte appropriately re-titled the poem 'Domestic Peace' for its inclusion in the selection of Anne and Emily's poems that accompanied the 1850 (edited by Charlotte) edition of Wuthering Heights/Agnes Grey.

(See also: Chitham, 'The Poems of Anne Brontë', p.128 & p.190: and 'A Life of Anne Brontë', p.134.)

Why should such gloomy silence reign;
And why is all the house so drear,
When neither danger, sickness, pain,
Nor death, nor want have entered here?

We are as many as we were
That other night, when all were gay,
And full of hope, and free from care;
Yet, is there something gone away.

The moon without as pure and calm
Is shining as that night she shone;
but now, to us she brings no balm,
For something from our hearts is gone.

Something whose absence leaves a void,
A cheerless want in every heart.
Each feels the bliss of all destroyed
And mourns the change - but each apart.

The fire is burning in the grate
As redly as it used to burn,
But still the hearth is desolate
Till Mirth and Love with Peace return.

'Twas Peace that flowed from heart to heart
With looks and smiles that spoke of Heaven,
And gave us language to impart
The blissful thoughts itself had given.

Sweet child of Heaven, and joy of earth!
O, when will Man thy value learn?
We rudely drove thee from our hearth,
And vainly sigh for thy return.

Copyright © 1999 Michael Armitage

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