The work is not faultless but it is gloriously free of the period's favourite faults – sentimentality, blandness, religiosity.
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O … Poets like Emily Brontё, under-mothered, under-schooled, make their own nurturance. "No Coward Soul", this week's poem, epitomises the fierce, almost biblical authority of her tone, and the generous sweep of her imagination. Presentation copies were despatched to the leading poets of the day, including Wordsworth, but no word came back. Though Earth and moon were gone,And suns and universes ceased to be, And Thou wert left alone,Every Existence would exist in Thee.
The voice is that of the poet using the first person singular ‘I’ and ‘my’.
It's one of her later poems, although not, as her sister Charlotte imagined, her last.
By giving such importance to the terms "creates and rears" the poet suggests her deity is maternal as well as fatherly, enfolding, perhaps, the qualities of the mother she had lost in early childhood. No coward soul is mine No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere I see Heaven’s glories shine And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear. There are interesting formal features to this poem; most obviously, the alternating tetrameter/pentameter pattern of the quatrain. This time, a fierce, elemental lyric from a very un-Victorian Victorian, 'Heaven's glories shine' ... Sunbeams over clouds. And Thou wert left alone There is not room for Death,Nor atom that his might could render void: Thou - Thou art Being and Breath,And what Thou art may never be destroyed. She also refers to capitalised abstracts including ‘Death’, ‘ The poem comprises seven quatrains or four lined stanzas.
4336052. Photograph: Ron Lowery/Corbis, The Poems of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. The punctuation invites us to take it both ways. With wide-embracing love Thy Spirit animates eternal years,Pervades and broods above, Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears.
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