The Night is Darkening Round Me
- THE night is darkening round me,
- The wild winds coldly blow;
- But a tyrant spell has bound me
- And I cannot, cannot go.
- The giant trees are bending
- Their bare boughs weighed with snow,
- And the storm is fast descending
- And yet I cannot go.
- Clouds beyond clouds above me,
- Wastes beyond wastes below;
- But nothing drear can move me;
- I will not, cannot go.
- Emily Brontë(1818-1848)
"...life does not mean length of
days. Poor old Queen Victoria had length of days. But
Emily Brontë had life. She died of it."
- D.H. Lawrence
The novels of the Brontë sisters, have links to the Sensation Fiction writers. They contain extreme dramatic events, and sometimes mysterious goings on - such as the strange events in the attic in Charlotte's Jane Eyre (1847). Emily Brontë wrote only one novel that survives today as you might recall, Wuthering Heights (1847). It's been the subject of numerous films none of which have come close to Emily's storytelling style which is superior to any of them that when I went ahead and read the book: I couldn't recognize it from any film versions.
She also wrote a fairly large volume of poetry, which marks her as one of the great English poets. Influences on Emily Brontë's poetry include Isaac Watts and Horace Walpole. The Night is Darkening Round Me was composed in November 1837 and is set in abab quatrains. Her sister, Charlotte discovered Emily's poems and convinced her to have the poems published; these appeared, at their own expense, as Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell (1846), each sister using her own initials in these pseudonyms of ambiguous gender in the hope of avoiding what they felt was a prejudice against female authors. Two copies each were sold.
In these poems is the only surviving saga of Gondal an imaginary kingdom created by the Brontës as children. Undeterred by the poor sales Emily went on to publish Whuthering Heights. Sometimes she roamed the windy heights up to twenty miles a day, from her beloved moors she created an imaginative world of tales similar to those she read in her Aunt Branwell's 'mad Methodist magazines.' Many people later discovered the connection between her poetry and her prosaic novel because the scenery there very much resembles the description of Wuthering Heights. The Night is Darkening Round Me, is an example. If you remember the scene of the dying Catherine in Wuthering Heights, she says "I am tired of being enclosed here. I'm wearying to escape into that glorious world. . . .", is the focus of this little song.
Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner: