Branwell Brontë

Sir Henry Tunstall

[Actually a portion of a long poem which was part of the Angrian story, this tells of Sir Henry's reaction upon returning home after sixteen years as a soldier in India.]

They fancied, when they saw me home returning,
That all my soul to meet with them was yearning,
That every wave I'd bless which bore me hither;
They thought my spring of life could never wither.
That in the dry the green leaf I could keep,
As pliable as youth to laugh or weep;
They did not think how oft my eyesight turned
Toward the skies where Indian Sunshine burned,
That I had perhaps left an associate band,
That I had farewells even for that wild Land;
They did not think my head and heart were older,
My strength more broken and my feelings colder,
That spring was hastening into autumn sere -
And leafless trees make loveliest prospects drear -
That sixteen years the same ground travel o'er
Till each wears out the mark which each has left before.
Penmaenmawr (Winter 1845)

[An excerpt from a longer poem written in Branwell's despair over the end of his relationship with Mrs. Robinson]

I knew a flower whose leaves were meant to bloom
Till Death should snatch it to adorn the tomb,
Now, blanching 'neath the blight of hopeless grief
With never blooming and yet living leaf;
A flower on which my mind would wish to shine,
If but one beam could break from mind like mine:
I had an ear which could on accents dwell
That might as well say 'perish' as 'farewell' -
An eye which saw, far off, a tender form
Beaten, unsheltered, by affliction's storm -
An arm - a lip - that trembled to embrace
My Angel's gentle breast and sorrowing face
A mind that clung to Ouse's fertile side
While tossing - objectless - on Menai's tide!
Lydia Gisborne (June 1846)

[Gisborne was Mrs. Robinson's maiden name. This poem contains Branwell's reflections on the times he spent with her at her home, Thorp Green.]

On Ouse's grassy banks - last Whitsuntide,
I sat, with fears and pleasures, in my soul
Commingled, as 'it roamed without control,'
O'er present hours and through a future wide
Where love, me thought, should keep, my heart beside
Her, whose own prison home I looked upon:
But, as I looked, descended summer's sun,
And did not its descent my hopes deride?
The sky though blue was soon to change to grey -
I, on that day, next year must own no smile -
And as those waves, to Humber far away,
Were gliding - so, though that hour might beguile
My Hopes, they too, to woe's far deeper sea,
Rolled past the shores of Joy's now dim and distant isle.