by Emily Brontë (1818 - 1848)

The night was dark yet winter breathed
Language: English 
The night was dark yet winter breathed
With softened sighs on [heaven's]1 shore
And though its wind repining breathed
It chained the snow swollen streams no more

How deep into the wilderness
My horse has strayed I cannot say
But neither morsel nor caress
Would urge him further on the way

So loosening from his neck the rein
I set my worn companion free
And billowy hill and boundless plain
Full soon departed him from me

The sullen clouds lay all unbroken
And blackening round the horizon drear
But still they gave no certain token
Of heavy rain or tempests near

I paused confounded and distressed
Down in the heath my limbs I threw
Yet wilder as I longed for rest
More wakeful heart and eyelids grew

It was about the middle night
And under such a starless dome
When gliding from the mountains height
I saw a shadowy figure come

[...]2

This is my home where whirlpools blow
Where snowdrifts round my path are swelling
'Tis many a year 'tis long ago
Since I beheld another dwelling

[...]2

The shepherd has died on the mountainside
But my ready aid was near him then
I led him back o'er the hidden track
And gave him to his native glen

When tempests roar on the lonely shore
I light my beacon with sea-weeds dry
And it flings its fire through the darkness dire
And gladdens the sailor's hopeless eye

[...]3

And deem thou not that quite forgot
My mercy will forsake me now
I bring thee care and not despair
Abasement but not overthrow

To a silent home thy foot may come
And years may follow of toilsome pain
But yet I swear by that burning tear
The loved shall meet on its hearth again

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View original text (without footnotes)
Note: in the Fisk work, this is sung by Heathcliff (stanzas 1-6) and Catherine (stanzas 7-11)
1 Bronte: "Gondal's
2 4 lines omitted by Fisk
3 lines 49-56 omitted by Fisk

Authorship

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: Terry Fisk

This text was added to the website: 2004-03-22
Line count: 47
Word count: 294