Brontë juvenilia: 'Vesper' and 'Matin', two poems


These two rare manuscript poems, 'Vesper' and 'Matin', were written by Charlotte Brontë in her early twenties. Inscribed in tiny script, characteristic of all of Brontë's early writings, 'Matin' centres around a rising sun while 'Vesper', set at night, is a melancholy, meditative piece that declares, 'I will sing meantime a low responsive song'.



M A T I N 

Long hath earth lain beneath [illegible] the dark profound
Of Silent - footed, planet - crested night
Now from the chains of slumber soft, unbound
She springs from sleep to view, [illegible] the glorious birth
of light

A solemn Hush lay on her hills and woods
Now as the day approaches, fast dispelling
For the tough of the bright orient floods
Thousands of voices rise, in mingled murmurs

First the suns glories tip the lofty hill
Then roll impetuous down the dusky vale
Sings sweet in light the pebbled crystal rill
And joy expands the buds, or flowers that woo
the gale [illegible]

O! I might sing of pastures meads & trees
Whose verdant hue is tinged with solar beams
And I might sing of morns fresh bracing breeze
That with awakeng breath, riples the glas -
s sy - streams

And of the merry lark who 'soar's on high
Aye rising in his course [has?] toward the sun
Of his descending from the vaulted sky
To the expectant nest, when that sweet song
is done

These I could sing, if thou wert near me now
Thou whom I love, my souls most fair delight
If the Fair orbs that beam beneath thy brow
Shed on my [illegible] darkling face their way di-
vinely bright

But now, neat waters of the mighty deep
Howling like famished wolves roll us between
O! sad & bitter [Ir.psI?] mournful weep
To think of those vast leagues, of tossing
billows green

Come from the Fairy valley where thou swellest
Shady and green, in Britains Favoured isle
[Come thence ? illegible]
Come For all gloom & sadness [thine disperlest?]
And chase away my greif, with one sweet -
sunny smile


I’ll hang my lyre upon so ^ amid these ancient treess
And while the sad wind moans the chords among
Sweet forest music of the harp & breeze
Shall steal the circumambient air along
And I will sing meantime some ^ a low responsive song

What shall I sing? wilt thou O! rising moon
Like a broad shield suspended in the east
Wilt thou attend some melancholy tune
While the sleeps thy light upon the rivers breast
Whose swelling wavelets sink when by thy beam car-^ est

No beauteous as thou art thy heavenly ^ gentle ear
Might think ^ Would feel my music rugged & mid clouds
Thou might’st offended hide thy silver ear
And draw o’er-heaven dark & sombre clouds shrouds
Concealing all the ^its hosts, marshalled in radiant crowds

What shall I sing then? hark that sudden swell!
That rose in the old forists glimmering light
How like the music ^tone of some ^ old convent bell
Borne to the travellers ear, at dead of night.
Sounding in utter silence with a tenfold might

The rising wind hath stolen it from the strings
Of my sweet lyre suspended from in yon tree
And now the wild wood with rich music rings
And thrilling cadences most wild ^ bold and free
Are pealing round with heavenly melody

I need not sing, the armies of the skys
Nights empress, & the dryad wood-nymphs fair
Would rather list the tones that now arise
And fill with harmony the twilight air
Sweet sounds for all the winds beneath the stars to ^ bear

Then I will sit & listen, not a voice
Disturbs the barely unbroken stillness of this hour
No nestling bird, with faintly rustling noise
Raises the leaflets of the vernal bower
OR bends the spray where blooms the fraill betokning ^ flowr

Even the chorister of night is still
Sweet Philomel restrains her customed song
Hushed are the murmers of the unseen rill
Creeping through matted grass & weeds xxxxxxx ^ along
xx Silent I too will be these solemn shades among

Marquis of Doure

Charlotte Brontë
November 11 1830

Full title:
'Vesper' and 'Matin'
1839, probably Haworth, Yorkshire
Manuscript / Fair copy / Artwork / Image
Charlotte Brontë
© Brontë Parsonage Museum
Held by
British Library
Ashley MS 158

Full catalogue details

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