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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Moonlight, Summer Moonlight

(Anne, Emily and Charlotte Brontë by
their brother Branwell, who painted
himself out of the picture)

“I went apart into the orchard,” recalls the heroine of the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855). “No nook in the grounds more sheltered and more Eden-like; it was full of trees, it bloomed with flowers: a very high wall shut it out from the court, on one side; on the other, a beech avenue screened it from the lawn. At the bottom was a sunk fence; its sole separation from lonely fields: a winding walk, bordered with laurels and terminating in a giant horse-chestnut, circled at the base by a seat, led down to the fence. Here one could wander unseen. While such honey-dew fell, such silence reigned, such gloaming gathered, I felt as if I could haunt such shade for ever; but in threading the flower and fruit parterres at the upper part of the enclosure, enticed there by the light the now rising moon cast on this more open quarter, my step is stayed . . .”


’Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere,

But most where trees are sending
Their breezy boughs on high,
Or stooping low are lending
A shelter from the sky.

And there in those wild bowers
A lovely form is laid;
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers
Wave gently round her head.

~ Emily Brontë (1818-1848), one of three English sisters famous for their poetry and novels, Emily for Wuthering Heights; Charlotte, Jane Eyre; and Anne, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. (Their brother Branwell led a dissipated life of little distinction.)

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