The Teacher’s Monologue by Charlotte Bronte

The Teacher’s Monologue was published by Charlotte Bronte under the pseudonym, Currer Bell. It was featured in the poetry collection co-authored with her sisters, Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, published in 1846.

The room is quiet, thoughts alone
People its mute tranquillity;
The yoke put off, the long task done,—
I am, as it is bliss to be,
Still and untroubled. Now, I see,
For the first time, how soft the day
O’er waveless water, stirless tree,
Silent and sunny, wings its way.
Now, as I watch that distant hill,
So faint, so blue, so far removed,
Sweet dreams of home my heart may fill,
That home where I am known and loved:
It lies beyond; yon azure brow
Parts me from all Earth holds for me;
And, morn and eve, my yearnings flow
Thitherward tending, changelessly.
My happiest hours, aye! all the time,
I love to keep in memory,
Lapsed among moors, ere life’s first prime
Decayed to dark anxiety.

 Sometimes, I think a narrow heart
 Makes me thus mourn those far away,
 And keeps my love so far apart
 From friends and friendships of to-day;
 Sometimes, I think 'tis but a dream
 I treasure up so jealously,
 All the sweet thoughts I live on seem
 To vanish into vacancy:
 And then, this strange, coarse world around
 Seems all that's palpable and true;
 And every sight, and every sound,
 Combines my spirit to subdue
 To aching grief, so void and lone
 Is Life and Earth—so worse than vain,
 The hopes that, in my own heart sown,
 And cherished by such sun and rain
 As Joy and transient Sorrow shed,
 Have ripened to a harvest there:
 Alas! methinks I hear it said,
 "Thy golden sheaves are empty air."

 All fades away; my very home
 I think will soon be desolate;
 I hear, at times, a warning come
 Of bitter partings at its gate;
 And, if I should return and see
 The hearth-fire quenched, the vacant chair;
 And hear it whispered mournfully,
 That farewells have been spoken there,
 What shall I do, and whither turn?
 Where look for peace?  When cease to mourn?
 'Tis not the air I wished to play,
 The strain I wished to sing;
 My wilful spirit slipped away
 And struck another string.
 I neither wanted smile nor tear,
 Bright joy nor bitter woe,
 But just a song that sweet and clear,
 Though haply sad, might flow.

 A quiet song, to solace me
 When sleep refused to come;
 A strain to chase despondency,
 When sorrowful for home.
 In vain I try; I cannot sing;
 All feels so cold and dead;
 No wild distress, no gushing spring
 Of tears in anguish shed;

 But all the impatient gloom of one
 Who waits a distant day,
 When, some great task of suffering done,
 Repose shall toil repay.
 For youth departs, and pleasure flies,
 And life consumes away,
 And youth's rejoicing ardour dies
 Beneath this drear delay;

 And Patience, weary with her yoke,
 Is yielding to despair,
 And Health's elastic spring is broke
 Beneath the strain of care.
 Life will be gone ere I have lived;
 Where now is Life's first prime?
 I've worked and studied, longed and grieved,
 Through all that rosy time.

 To toil, to think, to long, to grieve,—
 Is such my future fate?
 The morn was dreary, must the eve
 Be also desolate?
 Well, such a life at least makes Death
 A welcome, wished-for friend;
 Then, aid me, Reason, Patience, Faith,
 To suffer to the end!


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