Saturday, April 6, 2013

in the library: no coward soul is mine

portrait of emily bronte by her mother branwell bronte // Wikipedia

My dream is to someday live in a home filled with dusty, old novels. When I first picked up an old copy of Jane Eyre, I relished its worn purple cover, yellowed pages, and musty scent. More than that, I savored its antiquated language and rich, poetic descriptions. While its author, Emily Bronte, paints vivid, fascinating characters, the elements of mysticism she weaves into the novel prompted me to contemplate Bronte herself: the shy, solitary authoress who, like Jane Eyre, suffered abuse and neglect as a child at a school for girls England.
Though Emily Bronte has remained an enigma to historians, the following verses prompt me to believe that despite her difficult youth and reclusive adulthood, her heart was hidden beneath the shadow of her Savior's wings. As I memorize this poem for English class, I am struck by the bold trust and candid intimacy expressed within the quatrains. This eloquently scripted prayer offers a window into the soul of the author while simultaneously illustrating the perpetuity of God's provident peace in the hearts of His children throughout the ages. As I became enveloped in Jane Eyre and followed the title character on her pursuit for some kind of solace or truth, I could not help but wish that she, like Bronte, could discover the overwhelming comfort and goodness of God. He is infinite, He is glorious, and He is so very loving! Because of Him, our souls are freed from cowardice and filled with hope. Praise be to God!

No Coward Soul is Mine
By Emily Bronte

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.

O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life--that in me has rest,
As I--undying Life--have power in thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou were left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

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

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