The Narrow Way

- 1820-1849

Believe not those who say
     The upward path is smooth,
Lest thou shouldst stumble in the way,
     And faint before the truth.

It is the only road
     Unto the realms of joy;
But he who seeks that blest abode
     Must all his powers employ.

Bright hopes and pure delights
     Upon his course may beam,
And there, amid the sternest heights
     The sweetest flowerets gleam.

On all her breezes borne,
     Earth yields no scents like those;
But he that dares not grasp the thorn
     Should never crave the rose.

Arm—arm thee for the fight!
     Cast useless loads away;
Watch through the darkest hours of night,
     Toil through the hottest day.

Crush pride into the dust,
     Or thou must needs be slack;
And trample down rebellious lust,
     Or it will hold thee back.

Seek not thy honor here;
     Waive pleasure and renown;
The world’s dread scoff undaunted bear,
     And face its deadliest frown.

To labor and to love,
     To pardon and endure,
To lift thy heart to God above,
     And keep thy conscience pure;

Be this thy constant aim,
     Thy hope, thy chief delight;
What matter who should whisper blame,
     Or who should scorn or slight?

What matter, if thy God approve,
     And if, within thy breast,
Thou feel the comfort of His love,
     The earnest of His rest?

More by Anne Brontë

Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day

My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
     And carried aloft on the winds of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
     Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.

The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
     The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
     The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.

I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
     The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
     And hear the wild roar of their thunder to-day!

Appeal

Oh, I am very weary,
     Though tears no longer flow;
My eyes are tired of weeping,
     My heart is sick of woe;

My life is very lonely,
     My days pass heavily,
I’m weary of repining;
     Wilt thou not come to me?

Oh, didst thou know my longings
     For thee, from day to day,
My hopes, so often blighted,
     Thou wouldst not thus delay!

The Captive Dove

Poor restless dove, I pity thee;
And when I hear thy plaintive moan,
I mourn for thy captivity,
And in thy woes forget mine own.

To see thee stand prepared to fly,
And flap those useless wings of thine,
And gaze into the distant sky,
Would melt a harder heart than mine.

In vain—in vain! Thou canst not rise
Thy prison roof confines thee there;
Its slender wires delude thine eyes,
And quench thy longings with despair.

Oh, thou wert made to wander free
In sunny mead and shady grove,
And far beyond the rolling sea,
In distant climes, at will to rove!

Yet, hadst thou but one gentle mate
Thy little drooping heart to cheer,
And share with thee thy captive state,
Thou couldst be happy even there.

Yes, even there, if, listening by,
One faithful dear companion stood,
While gazing on her full bright eye,
Thou might’st forget thy native wood.

But thou, poor solitary dove,
Must make, unheard, thy joyless moan;
The heart that Nature formed to love
Must pine, neglected, and alone.