Charlotte Brontë's birthday: April 21, 1816

Joan Fontaine from the theatrical trailer for the 1943 film Jane Eyre


On the Death of Anne Brontë

There’s little joy in life for me,
      And little terror in the grave;
I’ve lived the parting hour to see
      Of one I would have died to save.
Calmly to watch the failing breath,
      Wishing each sigh might be the last;
Longing to see the shade of death
      O’er those belovèd features cast.
The cloud, the stillness that must part
      The darling of my life from me;
And then to thank God from my heart,
      To thank Him well and fervently;
Although I knew that we had lost
      The hope and glory of our life;
And now, benighted, tempest-tossed,
      Must bear alone the weary strife.

***************************************************************************201 years ago, a curate's wife gave birth to Charlotte Brontë, one of six children. From modest beginnings, Charlotte moved into the national spotlight in 1847 with her wildly successful semi-autobiographical novel, Jane Eyre. To publish this novel, she had to take on the persona of a man: Currer Bell. When in 1848 she stepped into the spotlight as Charlotte, a female, she changed the face of publishing in England.

The poem above speaks of her sorrow at the death of her sister Anne, who died in the two-year period (1848-1849) that also saw the death of Charlotte's brother Branwell and sister Emily.

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