The Poetry Corner

The Wife's Will.

By Charlotte Bronte

Sit still, a word, a breath may break (As light airs stir a sleeping lake) The glassy calm that soothes my woes, The sweet, the deep, the full repose. O leave me not! for ever be Thus, more than life itself to me! Yes, close beside thee let me kneel, Give me thy hand, that I may feel The friend so true, so tried, so dear, My heart's own chosen, indeed is near; And check me not, this hour divine Belongs to me, is fully mine. 'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside, After long absence, wandering wide; 'Tis thy own wife reads in thine eyes A promise clear of stormless skies; For faith and true love light the rays Which shine responsive to her gaze. Ay, well that single tear may fall; Ten thousand might mine eyes recall, Which from their lids ran blinding fast, In hours of grief, yet scarcely past; Well mayst thou speak of love to me, For, oh!most truly, I love thee! Yet smile, for we are happy now. Whence, then, that sadness on thy brow? What sayst thou?" We muse once again, Ere long, be severed by the main!" I knew not this, I deemed no more Thy step would err from Britain's shore. "Duty commands!" 'Tis true, 'tis just; Thy slightest word I wholly trust, Nor by request, nor faintest sigh, Would I to turn thy purpose try; But, William, hear my solemn vow, Hear and confirm! with thee I go. "Distance and suffering," didst thou say? "Danger by night, and toil by day?" Oh, idle words and vain are these; Hear me! I cross with thee the seas. Such risk as thou must meet and dare, I, thy true wife, will duly share. Passive, at home, I will not pine; Thy toils, thy perils shall be mine; Grant this, and be hereafter paid By a warm heart's devoted aid: 'Tis granted, with that yielding kiss, Entered my soul unmingled bliss. Thanks, William, thanks! thy love has joy, Pure, undefiled with base alloy; 'Tis not a passion, false and blind, Inspires, enchains, absorbs my mind; Worthy, I feel, art thou to be Loved with my perfect energy. This evening now shall sweetly flow, Lit by our clear fire's happy glow; And parting's peace-embittering fear, Is warned our hearts to come not near; For fate admits my soul's decree, In bliss or bale, to go with thee!