Emily Bronte and her two sisters are famous novelists and poets. Their poetry is frequently overshadowed by their novels due to their popularity. The first knowledge of Emily Bronte’s poetry was found in:Poems by Currer, Ellis and Action Bell, published by Emily and her two sisters in 1846. This book contained many poems by the three Bronte sisters. Only two copies of the book were sold, despite the positive reviews.
Emily Bronte’s poetry was still relatively known during the 19th century, despite the fact that the collection of poems did not sell well. Emily Dickinson had one of Emily Bronte’s poems read at her funeral.
Segue into Poem
Even though 1846 marked the first time the world had been exposed to Emily’s poetry, she had been writing it since her childhood and teenage years. Let’s take a look at one of Emily’s early poems, written in 1836 (Emily was only 18).
The poem is entitled “High waving heather, ‘neath stormy blasts bending”. Note Emily’s use of weather in the poem, and how this common metaphor is present in her novel Wuthering Heights.
High waving heather, ‘neath stormy blasts bending,Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars;Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending,Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending,Man’s spirit away from its drear dongeon sending,Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.
All down the mountain sides, wild forest lending One mighty voice to the life-giving wind;Rivers their banks in the jubilee rending,Fast through the valleys a reckless course wending,Wider and deeper their waters extending,Leaving a desolate desert behind.
Shining and lowering and swelling and dying,Changing for ever from midnight to noon;Roaring like thunder, like soft music sighing,Shadows on shadows advancing and flying,Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying,Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.
As you can see, even as a young girl, Emily was entranced by weather, noting the details and nuances it presents. She uses the common literary metaphor of pathetic fallacy to give human characteristics to the weather (you can see this each stanza. the verbs emily uses make it seem as if the weather is a person).
In 1908, a new collection of Emily Bronte’s poems were found and released in the book: “The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte”. The book was edited and published by C.W. Hatfield, and the book was a success. Many people were now exposed to Emily Bronte’s talent other than writing novels; writing poetry.