('Gloomily the clouds')
Written: October 1846.  First Published: 1917.

Five months prior to writing this poem, the three sisters had experienced the excitement of having their first book of poems published. The three manuscripts of their first novels were currently doing the rounds of the publishers - trying to find acceptance. Anne continued writing her poems, though, at the age of 26, this was to be her last Gondal creation. As with her other Gondal poems, it appears to have some auto-biographical elements.

(See also: Chitham, 'The Poems of Anne Brontë', p.140 & p.192)

Gloomily the clouds are sailing
            O'er the dimly moonlit sky;
Dolefully the wind is wailing;
            Not another sound is nigh;

Only I can hear it sweeping
            Heathclad hill and woodland dale,
And at times the nights's sad weeping
            Sounds above its dying wail.

Now the struggling moonbeams glimmer;
            Now the shadows deeper fall,
Till the dim light, waxing dimmer,
            Scarce reveals yon stately hall.

All beneath its roof are sleeping;
            Such a silence reigns around
I can hear the cold rain steeping
            Dripping roof and plashy ground.

No: not all are wrapped in slumber;
            At yon chamber window stands
One whose years can scarce outnumber
            The tears that dew his clasped hands.

From the open casement bending
            He surveys the murky skies,
Dreary sighs his bosom rending;
            Hot tears gushing from his eyes.

Now that Autumn's charms are dying,
            Summer's glories long since gone,
Faded leaves on damp earth lying,
            Hoary winter striding on, --

'Tis no marvel skies are lowering,
            Winds are moaning thus around,
And cold rain, with ceaseless pouring,
            Swells the streams and swamps the ground;

But such wild, such bitter grieving
            Fits not slender boys like thee;
Such deep sighs should not be heaving
            Breasts so young as thine must be.

Life with thee is only springing;
            Summer in thy pathway lies;
Every day is nearer bringing
            June's bright flowers and glowing skies.

Ah, he sees no brighter morrow!
            He is not too young to prove
All the pain and all the sorrow
            That attend the steps of love.

Copyright © 1999 Michael Armitage

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