Remembrance (Emily Brontë)


By Emily Brontë

Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
Thy noble heart forever, ever more?

Cold in the earth—and fifteen wild Decembers,
From those brown hills, have melted into spring:
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee,
While the world’s tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!

No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life’s bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life’s bliss is in the grave with thee.

But, when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.

Then did I check the tears of useless passion—
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in memory’s rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?


Dear Anna,

With a hardened cold body he is buried in the earth as cold as he is now. Covered by snow even colder. Snow seems to cover him like time covers my memory.

Cold is the distance which separates him from me, which keeps him under the earth apart from me.

I am worried to might have forgotten him through time, since time makes forget. Time is required to forget, the two don’t go without each other.

I am worried that time has been so selfishly all demanding. That it has brutally torn apart my thoughts of him, from him.

Since time has passed and parted me from him I have stopped letting my thoughts fly towards him like birds

Fly over the mountains towards him on the northern shore where he is still covered by earth not snow anymore. Time takes away not only the seasons but also remembrance of him I’m afraid.

Then my birds land on his grave which is now covered by another tide than winter.

My thoughts have tucked him in, but will they still be doing this?

He has now been tucked in by that same earth for fifteen years. Growing colder over the years by December’s snow,

Which was replaced fifteen times by spring. As time passes, and seasons switch each other of, my memory of him is switched of by new ones.

Am I unfaithful, anna, to may not remember him as much as I should? It would be ultimately loyal for one to always keep remembering.

This however is toilful when many years, which contain even more toil and change, pass.

Oh Anna, would he forgive me, if I were to have forgotten him?

Would he forgive me, even when time passes on. Time, which takes me further.

Would he forgive me if he knew, and understand that I would have to cope with new and other desires and hopes. That those occupy and fill my mind so that there might not be anything left to be filled by him?

Even though those hopes and desires could sometimes be dark or wrong, they won’t be able to hurt him anymore. Will they?

I do want to emphasize that I have never trusted my hart to anyone other than him, after he brightened heaven.

Not ever after him have I been enriched by a man, like nature is enriched by the sun.

Al my life light, and with that my happiness died with him.

I am unhappy ever since, but I hope my bliss brightens and warms him in his grave.

Oh dear Anna, with him I had dreams worth of gold, so beautiful.

But those faded away, and when there was no saving me from complete and utter desperation,
I realized that there is no point in desperation, I learned to appreciate existence. Because If he would be here I would appreciate it. This tells us that we should appreciate existence, hence we are sad when it is lost.

This empowered me and blissed me. Strangely without having actual joy.

But Anna I was still not fixed yet. My tears did still fell down for him.

I slowed the longing for him of my soul. I decreased sternly the burning desire to

Rush to him, and to cry in vain for his death. It seemed that when he peacefully died, my soul was torn violently from my body with him. As if I died more than he did.

However, I should be strong and do not let these thoughts take over to ruin me.

I should not let the devil like merciless pain of memory embrace me.

Because If I would, I would drown myself in the satisfying grief, pouring into my soul.

Oh Anna, how could I, empty as I now am, live again?

Your dearest,


© Sterre Weststeyn

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