Charlotte Bronte

From Retrospection

Poem by Charlotte Bronte

We wove a web in childhood,
A web of sunny air;
We dug a spring in infancy
Of water pure and fair;

We sowed in youth a mustard seed,
We cut an almond rod;
We are now grown up to riper age-
Are they withered in the sod?

Are they blighted, failed and faded,
Are they mouldered back to clay?
For life is darkly shaded;
And its joys fleet fast away.

Faded! the web is still of air,
But how its folds are spread,
And from its tints of crimson clear
How deep a glow is shed.
The light of an Italian sky.
Where clouds of sunset lingering lie
Is not more ruby-red.

But the spring was under a mossy stone,
Its jet may gush no more.
Hark! sceptic bid thy doubts be gone,
Is that a feeble roar
Rushing around thee? Lo! the tide
Of waves where armed fleets may ride
Sinking and swelling, frowns and smiles
An ocean with a thousand isles
And scare a glimpse of shore.

The mustard-seed in distant land
Bends down a mighty tree,
The dry unbudding almond-wand
Has touched eternity.
There came a second miracle
Such as on Aaron's sceptre fell,
And sapless grew like life from heath,
Bud, bloom and fruit in mingling wreath
All twined the shrivelled off-shoot round
As flowers lie on the lone grave-mound.

Dream that stole o'er us in the time
When life was in its vernal clime,
Dream that still faster o'er us steals
As the wild star of spring declining
The advent of that day reveals,
That glows in Sirius fiery shining:
Oh! as thou swellest, and as the scenes
Cover this cold world's darkest features,
Stronger each change my spirit weans
To bow before thy god-like creatures.

When I sat 'neath a strange roof-tree
With nought I knew or loved round me
Oh how my heart shrank back to thee,
Then I felt how fast thy ties had bound me.