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Short poem

Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848)

Plead for me

              1OH, thy bright eyes must answer now,
              2When Reason, with a scornful brow,
              3Is mocking at my overthrow !
              4Oh, thy sweet tongue must plead for me
              5And tell why I have chosen thee !

              6Stern Reason is to judgment come,
              7Arrayed in all her forms of gloom :
              8Wilt thou, my advocate, be dumb ?
              9No, radiant angel, speak and say
            10Why I did cast the world away,--

            11Why I have persevered to shun
            12The common paths that others run ;
            13And on a strange road journeyed on,
            14Heedless, alike of wealth and power --
            15Of glory's wreath and pleasure's flower.

            16These, once, indeed, seemed Beings Divine ;
            17And they, perchance, heard vows of mine,
            18And saw my offerings on their shrine ;
            19But careless gifts are seldom prized,
            20And mine were worthily despised.

            21So, with a ready heart, I swore
            22To seek their altar-stone no more ;
            23And gave my spirit to adore
            24Thee, ever-present, phantom thing--
            25My slave, my comrade, and my king.

            26A slave, because I rule thee still ;
            27Incline thee to my changeful will,
            28And make thy influence good or ill :
            29A comrade, for by day and night
            30Thou art my intimate delight,--

            31My darling pain that wounds and sears,
            32And wrings a blessing out from tears
            33By deadening me to earthly cares ;
            34And yet, a king, though Prudence well
            35Have taught thy subject to rebel.

            36And am I wrong to worship where
            37Faith cannot doubt, nor hope despair,
            38Since my own soul can grant my prayer ?
            39Speak, God of visions, plead for me,
            40And tell why I have chosen thee !

Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Emily Brontë, The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë, ed. Clement Shorter, collected by C. W. Hatfield (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923): 23-24. PR 4172 A1 1923 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1846
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/23

Form: quintains
Rhyme: aaabb

Other poems by Emily Jane Brontë