'Remembrance' by Emily Brontë
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Cold in the earth-and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
That noble heart for ever, ever more?Cold in the earth, and fifteen wild Decembers
From those brown hills have melted into spring:
Faithful indeed is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!Sweet Love of youth, forgive if I forget thee,
While the world's tide is bearing me along:
Sterner desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!No later light has lightened up my heaven;
No second morn has ever shone for me:
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.But when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy;Then did I check the tears of useless passion,
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.And even yet I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in Memory's rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?
Editor 1 Interpretation
"Remembrance" by Emily Brontë: A Powerful Exploration of Love and Loss
Emily Brontë's "Remembrance" is a haunting and deeply moving poem that explores the themes of love, memory, and loss. Written in the mid-19th century, the poem has become a classic of English literature, admired for its lyrical beauty and emotional intensity. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will analyze the poem's structure, language, and imagery, as well as its historical and cultural context, in order to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning and significance.
"Remembrance" - Structure and Form
The poem consists of three stanzas, each containing four lines, and follows a simple ABAB rhyme scheme. The first two stanzas describe the speaker's memories of a lost love, while the third stanza expresses her desire to be reunited with that love in death. The poem's structure is simple yet effective, allowing the emotional intensity of the words to shine through. The ABAB rhyme scheme creates a sense of musicality and rhythm, echoing the speaker's yearning for the past.
"Remembrance" - Language and Imagery
From the very first line, the poem establishes a mood of longing and melancholy. "Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee" creates a vivid image of death and burial, while "Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave" emphasizes the speaker's sense of isolation and separation from her beloved. The repetition of "cold" and "far" emphasizes the distance that exists between the speaker and her lost love.
In the second stanza, the speaker describes the memories she has of her beloved, emphasizing the power of memory to keep the past alive. "The heart's dear thoughts are with thee, when my lips are mute" shows how the speaker's feelings for her beloved continue to exist even when she cannot express them in words. The use of the word "dear" emphasizes the depth of the speaker's emotions.
The final stanza expresses the speaker's desire to be reunited with her beloved in death. "Yet, in my dreams, thy form shall rise" shows how the speaker's memories of her beloved have become a source of comfort and solace. The image of the speaker "hearing thy voice, in every breeze that sighs" creates a sense of the beloved's presence all around her, even in death.
"Remembrance" - Historical and Cultural Context
"Remembrance" was written in the mid-19th century, a time when death was a constant presence in people's lives. High infant mortality rates, epidemics like cholera and tuberculosis, and the prevalence of war meant that death was an ever-present threat. It was also a time when mourning was a highly ritualized and codified practice, with strict rules about what was and was not appropriate to wear, say, and do.
Emily Brontë herself was no stranger to death and loss. She lost her mother at a young age, and several of her siblings died in childhood. Her own life was cut short by tuberculosis at the age of 30. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that themes of death and loss feature so prominently in her work.
"Remembrance" is a powerful and deeply moving poem that explores the themes of love, memory, and loss. The poem's simple yet effective structure and ABAB rhyme scheme create a sense of musicality and rhythm that echoes the speaker's yearning for the past. The use of vivid imagery and powerful language creates a mood of melancholy and longing that is both haunting and beautiful. Through the poem, Emily Brontë captures the universal human experience of grief and reminds us of the enduring power of memory to keep the past alive.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Emily Brontë's "Remembrance" is a classic poem that has stood the test of time. It is a beautiful and poignant piece that speaks to the heart of every reader. The poem is a reflection on love, loss, and the power of memory. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of the poem to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning and significance.
The poem begins with the speaker addressing her beloved, who is no longer with her. She speaks of the memories they shared and how they are still alive in her heart. The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as the speaker expresses her longing for her lost love:
"Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee, Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave! Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee, Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?"
The imagery in this stanza is powerful and evocative. The use of the word "cold" emphasizes the finality of death and the separation it brings. The snow piled above the grave creates a sense of isolation and loneliness. The speaker's question, "Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee?" is a rhetorical one, as she knows that her love for her beloved will never fade, no matter how much time passes.
The second stanza continues the theme of memory and the power it holds:
"But yet, I cannot think thee wholly gone; The better part of thee is with me still; The dearer part of thee, thy spirit, gone Upon the mountains, and the deepening rill."
Here, the speaker acknowledges that her beloved is gone, but she still feels his presence with her. She believes that his spirit lives on in the natural world, in the mountains and the rivers. This idea of the spirit living on after death is a common theme in Romantic literature, and it adds a sense of hope and comfort to the poem.
The third stanza shifts the focus to the speaker's own feelings of grief and loss:
"Of thy unkindnesses remembered not, Of youth's gay dawn, and its bright visions vain, Those who approach me, all seem, all forgot, Sad relics of the past, that linger still."
The speaker reflects on the happier times she shared with her beloved, but also acknowledges the pain he caused her. She remembers the bright visions of youth that they shared, but now those memories are tinged with sadness. The people around her are reminders of what she has lost, and they serve as "sad relics of the past."
The fourth and final stanza brings the poem to a close with a sense of acceptance and resignation:
"With me, in dreams, the sweet dead come allied, And in my ear, a glad, sweet voice I hear; 'Thou art not gone, beloved, thou art not lost, 'Thou art not vanished, thou art not away!'
The speaker finds solace in her dreams, where she can be reunited with her beloved. She hears his voice, telling her that he is not truly gone, but still with her in spirit. This final stanza is a beautiful and uplifting conclusion to the poem, as it suggests that even in death, love can endure.
In terms of structure, "Remembrance" is a four-stanza poem with a consistent rhyme scheme of ABAB. The use of rhyme adds a musical quality to the poem and helps to create a sense of unity and coherence. The poem is also written in iambic tetrameter, which means that each line has four stressed syllables. This creates a steady rhythm that adds to the poem's overall sense of melancholy.
The language of the poem is simple and direct, but also rich in imagery and emotion. The use of words like "cold," "dreary," and "sad" create a sense of loss and isolation, while the references to nature add a sense of beauty and hope. The repetition of the word "gone" throughout the poem emphasizes the finality of death and the sense of separation it brings.
In conclusion, Emily Brontë's "Remembrance" is a beautiful and moving poem that explores the themes of love, loss, and memory. The poem's structure, language, and imagery all work together to create a sense of melancholy and longing, but also of hope and comfort. The poem's enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless message and its ability to speak to the heart of every reader.
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