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Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855) Novelist and Poet.
Charlotte was the daughter of the Rev. Patrick Bronte,with her sisters Emily and Anne, Charlotte was brought up in a small parsonage in the Yorkshire village of Haworth. Whilst still in her childhood the Bronte sisters lost their mother and as the eldest Charlotte took up the a role of looking out for her sisters Emily and Anne. Charlotte was described as: “the motherly friend and guardian of her younger sisters,”
The sisters had an unusual upbringing in that their house overlooked the village graveyard. To escape from these surroundings and the loss of their mother they would often spend time creating stories of fantasy lands. These fantasy stories were often based on the soldiers of their strict, religious aunt, Elisabeth Branwell. Later in a poem Charlotte wrote:
“We wove a web in childhood, / A web of sunny air.”
After various efforts as schoolmistresses and governesses, the sisters took to literature and published a volume of poems under the names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell Unfortunately these early publications were a commercial failure. However this did not deter Charlotte and she continued with her novels such as ‘The Professor’ and ‘Jane Eyre’. Jane Eyre proved to be tremendously popular with the public when it appeared in 1854. The novel has gained status as one of the classics of English literature for its originality and strength of writing.
Charlotte was married to her father’s curate, the Rev. A. Nicholls, but after a short though happy married life she died in childbirth in 1855.
“Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns. “
– Charlotte Bronte
Sources: A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature
by John W. Cousin
The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
And days may pass in gay confusion,
And nights in rosy riot fly,
While, lost in Fame’s or Wealth’s illusion,
The memory of the Past may die.
But, there are hours of lonely musing,
Such as in evening silence come,
When, soft as birds their pinions closing,
The heart’s best feelings gather home.
Then in our souls there seems to languish
A tender grief that is not woe;
And thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish,
Now cause but some mild tears to flow.
And feelings, once as strong as passions,
Float softly backa faded dream;
Our own sharp griefs and wild sensations,
The tale of others’ sufferings seem.
Oh ! when the heart is freshly bleeding,
How longs it for that time to be,
When, through the mist of years receding,
Its woes but live in reverie !
And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer,
On evening shade and loneliness;
And, while the sky grows dim and dimmer,
Feel no untold and strange distress
Only a deeper impulse given
By lonely hour and darkened room,
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven,
Seeking a life and world to come.