Fragment / The Penitent
Written: 1845.  First Published: 1846.

No exact date for its composition is given, but it is suspected that this may have been in September 1845. Edward Chitham believes that the poem is not Gondal based, and that the 'penitent' in question may well be Branwell. He writes 'the poem may thus indicate Anne's attitude to him at the time as well as suggesting that in Anne's understanding there was something indeed for Branwell to repent.'

The poem, titled 'Fragment' in manuscript form, underwent some punctuation and capitalisation changes, and was re-titled 'The Penitent' for its inclusion in Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell: both versions are presented below.

(See also: Chitham, 'The Poems of Anne Brontë', p.124 & p.188)


Fragment

I mourn with thee and yet rejoice
          That thou shouldst sorrow so;
With Angel choirs I join my voice
          To bless the sinner's woe.

Though friends and kindred turn away
          And laugh thy grief to scorn,
I hear the great Redeemer say
          'Blessed are ye that mourn'.

Hold on thy course nor deem it strange
          That earthly cords are riven.
Man may lament the wondrous change
          But 'There is joy in Heaven'!


The Penitent

I mourn with thee, and yet rejoice
    That thou shouldst sorrow so;
With angel choirs I join my voice
    To bless the sinner's woe.

Though friends and kindred turn away,
    And laugh thy grief to scorn;
I hear the great Redeemer say,
    'Blessed are ye that mourn.'

Hold on thy course, nor deem it strange
    That earthly cords are riven:
Man may lament the wondrous change,
    But 'There is joy in Heaven!'

Acton


Copyright © 2000 Michael Armitage

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