Retirement
Written: Sunday December 13th. 1840.  First Published: 1910.

When first published, this poem was attributed to Emily rather than Anne. The error was apparently due to a belief that Anne never wrote in the characteristic Brontë "small-script" while Emily did. Differences in their handwriting, however, clearly identify this poem as Anne's.

Another 'pillar of witness', Anne wrote this poem one Sunday in December. She was probably at Thorp Green, shortly before her return home for the Christmas holidays. It clearly shows that she was still regarding her employment there as 'joyless', and would turn to singing and religion for comfort. This became the first of a series of poems which she wrote specifically on Sundays, all with a religious tone.

(See also: Chitham, 'The Poems of Anne Brontë', p.77 & p.172)


O, let me be alone a while,
        No human form is nigh.
And may I sing and muse aloud,
        No mortal ear is by.

Away! ye dreams of earthly bliss,
        Ye earthly cares begone:
Depart! ye restless wandering thoughts,
        And let me be alone!

One hour, my spirit, stretch thy wings,
        And quit this joyless sod,
Bask in the sunshine of the sky,
        And be alone with God!


Copyright © 1999 Michael Armitage

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