We know her as Acton, we know her as Anne – here’s a Bronte Christmas poem

I have been thinking about Christmas this morning and all the jobs that I have still to do.  I have done very little – moving home in November has taken up all my energy and resources and my carefully organised shopping regime has, well, crumbled!  I was even in London last night and bought nothing, more interested in dinner than the shopping!

untitledBut because I have been sorting out my house and thinking of Christmas, I was delighted when I found a poem in my old Uni notes, a poem by Anne Bronte.   I am a big Bronte fan!

Anne is sister of the more famous Charlotte Bronte (author of Jane Eyre).  She isn’t well known but has two novels to her name – Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  And she contributed to a volume of poetry with her sisters, Poems by Currer, Ellis  and Acton Bell.


Music on Christmas Morning

Music I love -­ but never strain
Could kindle raptures so divine,
So grief assuage, so conquer pain,
And rouse this pensive heart of mine -­
As that we hear on Christmas morn,
Upon the wintry breezes borne.
Though Darkness still her empire keep,
And hours must pass, ere morning break;
From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,
That music kindly bids us wake:
It calls us, with an angel’s voice,
To wake, and worship, and rejoice;

To greet with joy the glorious morn,
Which angels welcomed long ago,
When our redeeming Lord was born,
To bring the light of Heaven below;
The Powers of Darkness to dispel,
And rescue Earth from Death and Hell.

While listening to that sacred strain,
My raptured spirit soars on high;
I seem to hear those songs again
Resounding through the open sky,
That kindled such divine delight,
In those who watched their flocks by night.

With them, I celebrate His birth -­
Glory to God, in highest Heaven,
Good-will to men, and peace on Earth,
To us a Saviour-king is given;
Our God is come to claim His own,
And Satan’s power is overthrown!

A sinless God, for sinful men,
Descends to suffer and to bleed;
Hell must renounce its empire then;
The price is paid, the world is freed,
And Satan’s self must now confess,
That Christ has earned a Right to bless:

Now holy Peace may smile from heaven,
And heavenly Truth from earth shall spring:
The captive’s galling bonds are riven,
For our Redeemer is our king;
And He that gave his blood for men
Will lead us home to God again.

Acton (Anne Bronte)

It is not known when this poem was written as the original was lost but best ‘educated’ guess is 1841-1843.  Mick Armitage suggests that ‘the similarity of the rhyme scheme with her other poem ‘Tis Strange To Think’  might suggest 1843 as the slightly preferable date’.  (http://www.mick-armitage.staff.shef.ac.uk/anne/bronte.html#main index)

For more information on Anne and the Brontes, this is a useful and interesting website:
Do you have a Christmas poem that you would like to share?  An original or a classic?   I have made a start at writing one, but it probably won’t be ready until 4th July!  A little late by then?

Please share your thoughts, hopes and dreams!

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