Yes Thou Art Gone / A Reminiscence
Written: April 1844.  First Published: 1846.

At Easter of 1844, while still at Thorp Green, Anne wrote another of her love poems to William Weightman. This poem quells any doubts about Anne's feelings for Weightman. In his biography of Anne, Edward Chitham writes:

(N.B: The text in red refers to the specific lines, also presented in red, in the poem below)

'It had been nearly two years since she had last seen William Weightman . . . she returned to his memory with a poem that celebrated his sunny smile and 'angel form'. Now, frozen below the 'cold damp stone' was 'the lightest heart that I have ever known' and the kindest. Anyone who doubts that William Weightman was of special interest to Anne Brontë has to account for her celebration of a 'light heart' belonging to a man now buried beneath the floor of an old church, not in a churchyard, and this not only in the present poem, but in a later one too.' 118 (The 'later one' being 'Severed and gone' of April 1847 - see later.)

William Weightman is buried in a vault beneath the Haworth church floor - and in a place that still suffers from dampness today.

The manuscript version of this poem is titled "Yes, Thou Art Gone". Anne re-titled it 'A Reminiscence' for publication in Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell (the version given below). The only difference between this, and the manuscript copy, is that the latter has no punctuation.

(See also: Chitham, 'The Poems of Anne Brontë', p.100 & p.180 119 )

Yes, thou art gone! and never more
Thy sunny smile shall gladden me;
But I may pass the old church door,
And pace the floor that covers thee,

May stand upon the cold, damp stone,
And think that, frozen, lies below
The lightest heart that I have known,
The kindest I shall ever know.

Yet, though I cannot see thee more,
'Tis still a comfort to have seen;
And though thy transient life is o'er,
'Tis sweet to think that thou hast been;

To think a soul so near divine,
Within a form, so angel fair,
United to a heart like thine,
Has gladdened once our humble sphere.


Copyright © 1999 Michael Armitage

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