Poem introduction

What struck me about this passionate lament when I first read it in my youth was the rhythm, and the way it carries you inexorably along, but of course the despair and the intense emotion also appealed to me. Emily Bronte originally attributed this poem to one of the characters in her Gondal stories, but she removed all such references before allowing her poems to be published. However, just because she was writing about imaginary characters it doesn’t mean that the feelings she expressed were any less heartfelt. After all, she had experienced more than enough grief and bereavement, having lost her mother and two older sisters by the time she was seven. It seems quite possible that at some deep level the person being so passionately mourned here is her older sister Maria, who died at the age of twelve.

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