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    Honour's Martyr

    by Emily Bronte
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    Published in the 1846 collection Poems By Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell under Emily's nom de plume 'Ellis Bell'.


    The moon is full this winter night;
    The stars are clear, though few;
    And every window glistens bright
    With leaves of frozen dew.

    The sweet moon through your lattice gleams,
    And lights your room like day;
    And there you pass, in happy dreams,
    The peaceful hours away!

    While I, with effort hardly quelling
    The anguish in my breast,
    Wander about the silent dwelling,
    And cannot think of rest.

    The old clock in the gloomy hall
    Ticks on, from hour to hour;
    And every time its measured call
    Seems lingering slow and slower:

    And, oh, how slow that keen-eyed star
    Has tracked the chilly gray!
    What, watching yet! how very far
    The morning lies away!

    Without your chamber door I stand;
    Love, are you slumbering still?
    My cold heart, underneath my hand,
    Has almost ceased to thrill.

    Bleak, bleak the east wind sobs and sighs,
    And drowns the turret bell,
    Whose sad note, undistinguished, dies
    Unheard, like my farewell!

    To-morrow, Scorn will blight my name,
    And Hate will trample me,
    Will load me with a coward's shame--
    A traitor's perjury.

    False friends will launch their covert sneers;
    True friends will wish me dead;
    And I shall cause the bitterest tears
    That you have ever shed.

    The dark deeds of my outlawed race
    Will then like virtues shine;
    And men will pardon their disgrace,
    Beside the guilt of mine.

    For, who forgives the accursed crime
    Of dastard treachery?
    Rebellion, in its chosen time,
    May Freedom's champion be;

    Revenge may stain a righteous sword,
    It may be just to slay;
    But, traitor, traitor,--from THAT word
    All true breasts shrink away!

    Oh, I would give my heart to death,
    To keep my honour fair;
    Yet, I'll not give my inward faith
    My honour's NAME to spare!

    Not even to keep your priceless love,
    Dare I, Beloved, deceive;
    This treason should the future prove,
    Then, only then, believe!

    I know the path I ought to go
    I follow fearlessly,
    Inquiring not what deeper woe
    Stern duty stores for me.

    So foes pursue, and cold allies
    Mistrust me, every one:
    Let me be false in others' eyes,
    If faithful in my own.
    If you're writing a Honour's Martyr essay and need some advice, post your Emily Bronte essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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