sometimes misattributed to Emily Brontë (1818 - 1848) and by Patrick Branwell Brontë (1817 - 1848)

Sleep, mourner, sleep! ‑‑ I cannot sleep
Language: English 
Sleep, mourner, sleep! -- I cannot sleep
  My weary mind still wanders on;
Then silent weep — I cannot weep,
  For eyes and tears are turned to stone.

Oh might my footsteps find a rest!
  Oh might my eyes with tears run o'er!
Oh could the World but leave my breast
  To lapse in days that are no more!

And if I could in silence mourn
  Apart from lying sympathy,
And Mans remarks or sighs or scorn,
  I should be where I wish to be

For nothing nearer Paradise
  Ought for a moment to be mine
I've far outlived such real joys
  I could not bear so bright a shine

For I've been consecrate to greif —
  I should not be if that were gone
And all my prospect of relief
  On earth would be -- To Greive Alone!

To live in sunshine would be now
  To live in Lethe every thought
Of what I have seen and been below
  Must first be utterly forgot

And I can not forget the years
  Gone by as if they'd never been;
Yet if I will remember Tears
  Must always dim the dreary scene

So theres no choice -- However bright
  May beam the blaze of July's sun,
Twill only yield another sight
  Of scenes and times forever gone.

However young and lovely round
  Fair forms may meet my cheerless eye
They'll only hover oer the ground
  Where fairer forms in darkness lye

And voices tuned to Music's thrill
  And laughter light as marriage strain,
Will only wake a ghostly chill
  As if the buried spoke again

All all is over freind or Lover
  Cannot awaken gladness here
Though sweep the strings their music over
  No sound will rouse the stirless air

I am dying away in dull decay,
  I feel and know the sands are down
And Evenings latest lingering ray
  And last from my wild heaven is flown

Not now I speak of things whose forms
  Are hid by intervening years
Not now I peirce departed storms
  For bygone greifs and dried up tears

I cannot weep as once I wept
  Over my Western Beauty's grave,
Nor wake the woes that long have slept
  By Gambia's towers and trees and wave

I am speaking of a later stroke
  A death -- the doom of yesterday
I am thinking of my latest shock,
  A Noble freindship torn away
I feel and say that I am cast
 From Hope and peace and power and pride
A withered leaf on Autumns blast;
  A shattered wreck on Oceans tide

Without a voice to speak to me
  Save that deep tone which told my doom
And made my dread futurity
  Look darker than my vanished gloom

Without companion save the sight
  For ever present to my eye
Of that tempestuous winter night
  That saw my Angel Mary die

J. Hall sets stanza 1

About the headline (FAQ)

Note: published as two poems, with changes, in collections attributed to Emily Brontë. The first poem is the first stanza alone. Modernized spelling would change "greif" and "freind" to "grief" and "friend", etc.

Confirmed with The Works of Patrick Branwell Brontë: 1837-1848, Volume 3, ed. by Victor A. Neufeldt, New York, Garland Publishing, 1999, pages 14-16.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2014-03-25
Line count: 72
Word count: 468