Anne Brontë

My God! O let me call Thee mine!
Weak, wretched sinner though I be!

Anne Brontë (17 January 182028 May 1849) was a British novelist and poet, the youngest sibling of Charlotte and Emily Brontë. After initially publishing works under the pseudonyms Currer Bell, Ellis Bell, and Acton Bell they became famous as the Brontë sisters.

SourcedEdit

I did not know the nights of gloom,
The days of misery;
The long, long years of dark despair,
That crushed and tortured thee.

Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846)Edit

Quotes from poems published in Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (presented in chronological order)

To Cowper (1842)Edit

Written 10 November 1842
  • All for myself the sigh would swell,
    The tear of anguish start;
    I little knew what wilder woe
    Had filled the Poet's heart.

    I did not know the nights of gloom,
    The days of misery;
    The long, long years of dark despair,
    That crushed and tortured thee.

  • Yet, should thy darkest fears be true,
    If Heaven be so severe,
    That such a soul as thine is lost,
    Oh! how shall I appear?

Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day (1842)Edit

Written 30 December 1842 Full text at Wikisource
  • My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
    And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
    For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
    Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.
  • I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
    The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
    I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
    And hear the wild roar of their thunder today!

A Word to the Calvinists (1843)Edit

Written 28 May 1843 - Full text at Wikisource
  • You may rejoice to think yourselves secure,
    You may be grateful for the gift divine,
    That grace unsought which made your black hearts pure
    And fits your earthborn souls in Heaven to shine.
    But is it sweet to look around and view
    Thousands excluded from that happiness,
    Which they deserve at least as much as you,
    Their faults not greater nor their virtues less?
  • Say does your heart expand to all mankind
    And would you ever to your neighbour do,
    — The weak, the strong, the enlightened and the blind —
    As you would have your neighbour do to you?

    And, when you, looking on your fellow men
    Behold them doomed to endless misery,
    How can you talk of joy and rapture then?
    May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

  • That none deserve eternal bliss I know:
    Unmerited the grace in mercy given,
    But none shall sink to everlasting woe
    That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.
  • And, O! there lives within my heart
    A hope long nursed by me,
    (And should its cheering ray depart
    How dark my soul would be)

    That as in Adam all have died
    In Christ shall all men live
    And ever round his throne abide
    Eternal praise to give;

    That even the wicked shall at last
    Be fitted for the skies
    And when their dreadful doom is past
    To life and light arise.

  • I ask not how remote the day
    Nor what the sinner's woe
    Before their dross is purged away,
    Enough for me to know

    That when the cup of wrath is drained,
    The metal purified,
    They'll cling to what they once disdained,
    And live by Him that died.

A Prayer (1844)Edit

Written 13 October 1844; also known as "My God! O let me call Thee mine!" - Full text at Wikisource
  • My God! O let me call Thee mine!
    Weak, wretched sinner though I be,
    My trembling soul would fain be Thine,
    My feeble faith still clings to Thee.
  • I know I owe my all to Thee,
    O, take this heart I cannot give.
    Do Thou my Strength my Saviour be;
    And make me to Thy glory live!

Dreams (1845)Edit

Written in the spring of 1845 - Full text at Wikisource
  • While on my lonely couch I lie,
    I seldom feel myself alone,
    For fancy fills my dreaming eye
    With scenes and pleasures of its own.

    Then I may cherish at my breast
    An infant's form beloved and fair,
    May smile and soothe it into rest
    With all a Mother's fondest care.
  • How sweet to feel its helpless form
    Depending thus on me alone!
    And while I hold it safe and warm
    What bliss to think it is my own!
    To feel my hand so kindly prest,
    To know myself beloved at last,
    To think my heart has found a rest,
    My life of solitude is past!
  • But then to wake and find it flown,
    The dream of happiness destroyed,
    To find myself unloved, alone,
    What tongue can speak the dreary void?
    A heart whence warm affections flow,
    Creator, thou hast given to me,
    And am I only thus to know
    How sweet the joys of love would be?

Agnes Grey (1847)Edit

Full text at Wikisource
All true histories contain instruction...
  • All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity, that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. Whether this be the case with my history or not, I am hardly competent to judge. I sometimes think it might prove useful to some, and entertaining to others; but the world may judge for itself. Shielded by my own obscurity, and by the lapse of years, and a few fictitious names, I do not fear to venture; and will candidly lay before the public what I would not disclose to the most intimate friend.
    • Ch. I : The Parsonage
  • "Oh, Richard!" exclaimed she, on one occasion, "if you would but dismiss such gloomy subjects from your mind, you would live as long as any of us; at least you would live to see the girls married, and yourself a happy grandfather, with a canty old dame for your companion."
    • Ch. VI : The Parsonage Again
  • "As an animal, Matilda was all right, full of life, vigour, and activity; as an intelligent being, she was barbarously ignorant, indocile, careless, and irrational; and consequently, very distressing to one who had the task of cultivating her understanding, reforming her manners, and aiding her to acquire those ornamental attainments which, unlike her sister, she despised as much as the rest..."
    • Ch. VII : Horton Lodge
  • "I've done you a piece of good service, Nancy," he began: then seeing me, he acknowledged my presence by a slight bow. I should have been invisible to Hatfield, or any other gentleman of those parts. "I've delivered your cat," he continued, "from the hands, or rather the gun, of Mr. Murray's gamekeeper."
    • Ch. XII : The Shower
  • "If you mean Mr. Weston to be one of your victims," said I, with affected indifference, "you will have to make such overtures yourself that you will find it difficult to draw back when he asks you to fulfil the expectations you have raised."
    • Ch. XVI : The Substitution
  • "Why," said I — "why should you suppose that I dislike the place?"
    "You told me so yourself," was the decisive reply. "You said, at least, that you could not live contentedly, without a friend; and that you had no friend here, and no possibility of making one — and, besides, I know you must dislike it."
    • Ch. XX : The Farewell
  • "But I can't devote myself entirely to a child," said she; "it may die — which is not at all improbable."
    "But, with care, many a delicate infant has become a strong man or woman."
    "But it may grow so intolerably like its father that I shall hate it."
    "That is not likely; it is a little girl, and strongly resembles its mother."
    • Ch. XXIII : The Park
  • "I settled everything with Mrs. Grey, while you were putting on your bonnet," replied he. "She said I might have her consent, if I could obtain yours; and I asked her, in case I should be so happy, to come and live with us — for I was sure you would like it better. But she refused, saying she could now afford to employ an assistant, and would continue the school till she could purchase an annuity sufficient to maintain her in comfortable lodgings; and, meantime, she would spend her vacations alternately with us and your sister, and should be quite contented if you were happy. And so now I have overruled your objections on her account. Have you any other?"
    "No — none."
    "You love me then?" said he, fervently pressing my hand.
    "Yes."
    • Ch. XXV : Conclusion

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)Edit

Full text at Wikisource
  • But as the priceless treasure too frequently hides at the bottom of well, it needs some courage to dive for it, especially as he that does so will be likely to incur more scorn and obloquy for the mud and water into which he has ventured to plunge, than thanks for the jewel he procures; as like in manner, she who undertakes the cleansing of a careless bachelor's apartment will be liable to more abuse for the dust she raises than commendation for the clearance she effects.
    • Preface, 2nd edition (July 22, 1848)
  • Such humble talents as God had given me I will endeavour to put to their greatest use; if I am able to amuse, I will try to benefit too; and when I fell it my duty to speak unpalatable truth, with the help of God, I will speak it, through it be to the prejudice of my name and to the detriment of my reader's immediate pleasure as well as my own.
    • Preface, 2nd edition (July 22, 1848)
  • All novels are, or should be, written for both men and women to read, and I am at loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.
    • Preface, 2nd edition (July 22, 1848)
  • "You must go back with me to the autumn of 1827."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. I : A Discovery)
  • "She was trusted and valued by her father, loved and courted by all dogs, cats, children, and poor people, and slighted and neglected by everybody else."
    • Gilbert about Mary Millward (Ch. I : A Discovery)
  • "Now, Halford, I bid you adieu for the present. This is the first instalment of my debt. If the coin suits you, tell me so, and I'll send you the rest of my leisure: if you would rather remain my creditor than stuff your purse with such ungainly heavy pieces — tell me still, and I'll pardon your bad taste, and willingly keep the treasure to myself."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. I : A Discovery)
  • "I perceive, with joy, my most valued friend, that the cloud of your displeasure has past away; the light of your countenance blesses me once more, and you desire the continuation of my story: therefore, without more ado, you shall have it."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. II : An Interwiew)
  • "I went home very happy, with a heart brimful of complacency for myself, and overflowing with love for Eliza."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. II : An Interwiew)
  • "It is natural for our unamiable sex to dislike the creatures, for you ladies lavish so many caresses upon them."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. II : An Interwiew)
  • "If you would have your son to walk honourably through the world, you must not attempt to clear the stones from his path, but teach him to walk firmly over them — not insist upon leading him by the hand, but let him learn to go alone."
    • Gilbert to Helen (Ch. III : A Controversy)
  • "It is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble your foe."
    • Gilbert to Helen (Ch. III : A Controversy)
  • "I would not send a poor girl into the world, ignorant of the snares that beset her path; nor would I watch and guard her, till, deprived of self-respect and self-reliance, she lost the power or the will to watch and guard herself."
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. III : A Controversy)
  • "If you would have a boy to despise his mother, let her keep him at home, and spend her life in petting him up, and slaving to indulge his follies and caprices."
    • Mrs. Markham to Helen(Ch. III : A Controversy)
  • "You may have as many words as you please, – only I can’t stay to hear them."
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. III : A Controversy)
  • "When a lady does consent to listen to an argument against her own opinions, she is always predetermined to withstand it - to listen only with her bodily ears, keeping the mental organs resolutely closed against the strongest reasoning."
    • Gilbert to Helen (Ch. III : A Controversy)
  • His heart was like a sensitive plant, that opens for a moment in the sunshine, but curls up and shrinks into itself at the slightest touch of the finger, or the lightest breath of wind.
    • Gilbert Markham about Frederick Lawrence (Ch. IV : The Party)
  • "I have heard that, with some persons, temperance – that is, moderation – is almost impossible; and if abstinence be an evil (which some have doubted), no one will deny that excess is a greater. Some parents have entirely prohibited their children from tasting intoxicating liquors; but a parent’s authority cannot last for ever; children are naturally prone to hanker after forbidden things; and a child, in such a case, would be likely to have a strong curiosity to taste, and try the effect of what has been so lauded and enjoyed by others, so strictly forbidden to himself – which curiosity would generally be gratified on the first convenient opportunity; and the restraint once broken, serious consequences might ensue."
    • Frederick to Reverend Millward (Ch. IV : The Party)
  • "High time, my girl - high time! Moderation in all things, remember. That's the plan—"Let your moderation be known unto all men!"
    • Reverend Millward to Eliza (Ch. IV : The Party)
  • "I’ll promise to think twice before I take any important step you seriously disapprove of."
    • Gilbert to Mrs. Markham (Ch. IV : The Party)
  • 'You see there is a sad dearth of subjects,' observed the fair artist. 'I took the old hall once on a moonlight night, and I suppose I must take it again on a snowy winter's day, and then again on a dark cloudy evening; for I really have nothing else to paint. I have been told that you have a fine view of the sea somewhere in the neighbourhood - Is it true? - and is it within walking distance?'
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. V : The Studio)
  • "When a lady condescends to apologise, there is no keeping one’s anger."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. V : The Studio)
  • "I may be permitted, like the doctors, to cure a greater evil by a less, for I shall not fall seriously in love with the young widow, I think, nor she with me - that's certain - but if I find a little pleasure in her society I may surely be allowed to seek it; and if the star of her divinity be bright enough to dim the lustre of Eliza's, so much the better, but I scarcely can think it."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. VI : Progression)
  • "If you would really study my pleasure, mother, you must consider your own comfort and convenience a little more than you do."
    • Gilbert to Mrs. Markham (Ch. VI : Progression)
  • No one can be happy in eternal solitude.
    • Helen to Fergus (Ch. VII : The Excursion)
  • 'I have often wished in vain,' said she, 'for another's judgment to appeal to when I could scarcely trust the direction of my own eye and head, they having been so long occupied with the contemplation of a single object as to become almost incapable of forming a proper idea respecting it.'
    'That,' replied I, 'is only one of many evils to which a solitary life exposes us.'
    • Helen and Gilbert (Ch. VII : The Excursion)
  • "I tried to cheer her up, and apparently succeeded in some degree, before the walk was over; but in the very act my conscience reproved me, knowing, as I did, that, sooner or later, the tie must be broken, and this was only nourishing false hopes and putting off the evil day."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. VII : The Excursion)
  • "She, however, attentively watched my looks, and her artist's pride was gratified, no doubt, to read my heartfelt admiration in my eyes."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. VIII : The Present)
  • "It’s well to have such a comfortable assurance regarding the worth of those we love. I only wish you may not find your confidence misplaced."
    • Eliza to Gilbert (Ch. IX : A Snake in the Grass)
  • If we can only speak to slander our betters, let us hold our tongues.
    • Gilbert to Eliza (Ch. IX : A Snake in the Grass)
  • "I thought Mr. Millward never would cease telling us that he was no tea-drinker, and that it was highly injurious to keep loading the stomach with slops to the exclusion of more wholesome sustenance, and so give himself time to finish his fourth cup."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. IX : A Snake in the Grass)
  • "I possess the faculty of enjoying the company of those I - of my friends as well in silence as in conversation."
    • Gilbert to Helen (Ch. IX : A Snake in the Grass)
  • 'I almost wish I were not a painter,' observed my companion.
    'Why so? one would think at such a time you would most exult in your privilege of being able to imitate the various brilliant and delightful touches of nature.'
    No; for instead of delivering myself up to the full enjoyment of them as others do, I am always troubling my head about how I could produce the same effect upon canvas; and as that can never be done, it is more vanity and vexation of spirit.'
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. IX : A Snake in the Grass)
  • "In love affairs, there is no mediator like a merry, simple-hearted child - ever ready to cement divided hearts, to span the unfriendly gulf of custom, to melt the ice of cold reserve, and overthrow the separating walls of dread formality and pride."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. X : A Contract and a Quarrel)
  • There is such a thing as looking through a person's eyes into the heart, and learning more of the height, and breadth, and depth of another's soul in one hour than it might take you a lifetime to discover, if he or she were not disposed to reveal it, or if you had not the sense to understand it.
    • Gilbert to Rose (Ch. XI : The Vicar Again)
  • "I feared to lose the ground I had already gained with so much toil and skill, and destroy all future hope by one rash effort, when time and patience might have won success."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. XII : A Tête-à-tête and a Discovery)
  • "What are their thoughts to you or me, so long as we are satisfied with ourselves - and each other."
    • Gilbert to Helen (Ch. XII : A Tête-à-tête and a Discovery)
  • "However little you may esteem them as individuals, it is not pleasant to be looked upon as a liar and a hypocrite, to be thought to practise what you abhor, and to encourage the vices you would discountenance, to find your good intentions frustrated, and your hands crippled by your supposed unworthiness, and to bring disgrace on the principles you profess.'
    'True; and if I, by my thoughtlessness and selfish disregard to appearances, have at all assisted to expose you to these evils, let me entreat you not only to pardon me, but to enable me to make reparation; autorize me to clear your name from every imputation; give me the right to identify your honor with my own, and to defend your reputation as more precious than my life!” Are you hero enough to unite yourself to one whom you know to be suspected and despised by all around you, and identify your interests and your honour with hers? Think! it is a serious thing.'
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. XII : A Tête-à-tête and a Discovery)
  • 'I should be proud to do it, Helen! - most happy - delighted beyond expression! - and if that be all the obstacle to our union, it is demolished, and you must - you shall be mine!”
    • Gilbert and Helen (Ch. XII : A Tête-à-tête and a Discovery)
  • “You couldn't have given me less encouragement, or treated me with greater severity than you did! And if you think you have wronged me by giving me your friendship, and occasionally admitting to me to the enjoyment of your company and conversation, when all hopes of close intimacy were vain - as indeed you always gave me to understand - if you think you have wronged me by this, you are mistaken; for such favours, in themselves alone, are not only delightful to my heart, but purifying, exalting, ennobling to my soul; and I would rather have your friendship than the love of any other woman in the world!
    • Gilbert to Helen (Ch. XII : A Tête-à-tête and a Discovery)
  • "Bad news flies fast."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. XIV : An Assault)
  • "A light wind swept over the corn; and all nature laughed in the sunshine."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. XV : An Encounter and its Consequences)
  • "Smiles and tears are so alike with me, they are neither of them confined to any particular feelings: I often cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad."
    • Gilbert Markham (Ch. XV : An Encounter and its Consequences)
  • "I imagine, there must be only a very, very few men in the world that I should like to marry; and of those few, it is ten to one I may never be acquainted with one; or if I should, it is twenty to one he may not happen to be single, or to take a fancy to me."
    • Helen to Mrs. Maxwell (Ch. XVI : The Warning of Experience)
  • "A girl's affections should never be won unsought."
    • Mrs. Maxwell to Helen (Ch. XVI : The Warning of Experience)
  • Beauty is that quality which, next to money, is generally the most attractive to the worst kinds of men; and, therefore, it is likely to entail a great deal of trouble on the possessor."
    • Mrs. Maxwell to Helen (Ch. XVI : The Warning of Experience)
  • "Remember Peter, Helen! Don't boast, but watch. Keep a guard over your eyes and ears as the inlets of your heart, and over your lips as the outlet, lest they betray you in a moment of unwariness. Receive, coldly and dispassionately, every attention, till you have ascertained and duly considered the worth of the aspirant; and let your affections be consequent upon approbation alone. First study; then approve; then love. Let your eyes be blind to all external attractions, your ears deaf to all the fascinations of flattery and light discourse. - These are nothing - and worse than nothing - snares and wiles of the tempter, to lure the thoughtless to their own destruction. Principle is the first thing, after all; and next to that, good sense, respectability, and moderate wealth. If you should marry the handsomest, and most accomplished and superficially agreeable man in the world, you little know the misery that would overwhelm you if, after all, you should find him to be a worthless reprobate, or even an impracticable fool."
    • Mrs. Maxwell to Helen (Ch. XVI : The Warning of Experience)
  • The brightest attractions to the lover too often prove the husband's greatest torments
    • Mr. Boarham to Helen (Ch. XVI : The Warning of Experience)
  • "But to tell you the truth, Mr. Boarham, it is on my own account I principally object; so let us - drop the subject, for it is worse than useless to pursue it any further"
    • Helen to Mr. Boarham (Ch. XVI : The Warning of Experience)
  • If I hate the sins, I love the sinner, and would do much for his salvation.
    • Helen to Mrs. Maxwell (Ch. XVII : Further Warnings)
  • "I cannot express my joy. I find it very difficult to conceal it from my aunt; but I don't wish to trouble her with my feelings till I know whether I ought to indulge them or not. If I find it my absolute duty to suppress them, they shall trouble no one but myself; and if I can really feel myself justified in indulging this attachment, I can dare anything, even the anger and grief of my best friend."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XVIII : The Miniature)
  • "This paper will serve instead of a confidential friend into whose ear I might pour forth the overflowings of my heart. It will not sympathise with my distresses, but then it will not laugh at them, and, if I keep it close, it cannot tell again; so it is, perhaps, the best friend I could have for the purpose."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XVIII : The Miniature)
  • "I perceive the backs of young ladies' drawings, like the postscripts of their letters, are the most important and interesting part of the concern."
    • Arthur Huntingdon (Ch. XVIII : The Miniature)
  • "He despises me, because he knows I love him."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XVIII : The Miniature)
  • "I am truly miserable - more so than I like to acknowledge to myself. Pride refuses to aid me. It has brought me into the scrape, and will not help me out of it."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XVIII : The Miniature)
  • "There goes the dinner-bell, and here comes my aunt to scold me for sitting here at my desk all day, instead of staying with the company: wish the company were - gone."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XVIII : The Miniature)
  • "No indulgence for you, Mr. Huntingdon, must come between me and the consideration of my niece's happiness."
    • Mrs. Maxwell to Arthur Huntingdon (Ch. XIX : An Incident)
  • "It is not money my aunt thinks about. She knows better than to value worldly wealth above its price."
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XX : Persistence)
  • "You will form a very inadequate estimate of a man's character, if you judge by what a fond sister says of him. The worst of them generally know how to hide their misdeeds from their sisters' eyes, and their mother's, too."
    • Mrs. Maxwell to Helen (Ch. XX : Persistence)
  • "A good honest answer - wonderful for a girl!"
    • Mr. Maxwell to Helen (Ch. XX : Persistence)
  • "At your time of life, it's love that rules the roast: at mine, it's solid, serviceable gold."
    • Mr. Maxwell to Helen (Ch. XX : Persistence)
  • "My cup of sweets is not unmingled: it is dashed with a bitterness that I cannot hide from myself, disguise it as I will."
    • Helen Graham (Ch.XXII : Traits of Friendship)
  • "When I spend my money I like to enjoy the full value of it."
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch.XXII : Traits of Friendship)
  • "A man can live without his money as merrily as a tortoise without its head, or a wasp without its body."
    • Arthur to Lord Lowborough (Ch.XXII : Traits of Friendship)
  • "The demon of drink was as black as the demon of play, and nearly as hard to get rid of - especially as his kind friends did all they could to second the promptings of his own insatiable cravings."
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch.XXII : Traits of Friendship)
  • "If you choose to visit the bottomless pit, I won't go with you - we must part company, for I swear I'll not move another step towards it!"
    • Lord Lowborough (Ch.XXII : Traits of Friendship)
  • I see that a man cannot give himself up to drinking without being miserable one half his days and mad the other; besides, I like to enjoy my life at all sides and ends, which cannot be done by one that suffers himself to be the slave of a single propensity.
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch.XXII : Traits of Friendship)
  • I do believe a young lady can't be too careful who she marries.
    • Rachel to Helen (Ch.XXII : Traits of Friendship)
  • There is always a 'but' in this imperfect world.
    • Helen Graham (Ch.XXII : Traits of Friendship)
  • "Since I love him so much, I can easily forgive him for loving himself"
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XXIII : First weeks of Matrimony)
  • "I think your piety one of your greatest charms; but then, like all other good things, it may be carried too far. To my thinking, a woman's religion ought not to lessen her devotion to her earthly lord. She should have enough to purify and etherealise her soul, but not enough to refine away her heart, and raise her above all human sympathies"
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch. XXIII : First weeks of Matrimony)
  • "What are you, sir, that you should set yourself up as a god, and presume to dispute possession of my heart with Him to whom I owe all I have and all I am, every blessing I ever did or ever can enjoy - and yourself among the rest - if you are a blessing, which I am half inclined to doubt."
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XXIII : First weeks of Matrimony)
  • "The more you loved your God the more deep and pure and true would be your love to me."
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XXIII : First weeks of Matrimony)
  • "Of him to whom less is given, less will be required, but our utmost exertions are required of us all. You are not without the capacity of veneration, and faith and hope, and conscience and reason, and every other requisite to a Christian's character, if you choose to employ them; but all our talents increase in the using, and every faculty, both good and bad, strengthens by exercise: therefore, if you choose to use the bad, or those which tend to evil, till they become your masters, and neglect the good till they dwindle away, you have only yourself to blame. But you have talents, Arthur - natural endowments both of heart and mind and temper, such as many a better Christian would be glad to possess, if you would only employ them in God's service. I should never expect to see you a devotee, but it is quite possible to be a good Christian without ceasing to be a happy, merry-hearted man"
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XXIII : First weeks of Matrimony)
  • "This is double selfishness displayed to me and to the victims of his former love."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXIV : First Quarrel)
  • If your wife gives you her heart, you must take it, thankfully, and use it well, and not pull it in pieces, and laugh in her face, because she cannot snatch it away.
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XXIV : First Quarrel)
  • "Alas! poor Milicent, what encouragement can I give you? - or what advice - except that it is better to make a bold stand now, though at the expense of disappointing and angering both mother and brother, and lover, than to devote your whole life, hereafter, to misery and vain regret?"
    • Helen to Milicent (Ch. XXV : First Absence)
  • "The greater the happiness that nature sets before me, the more I lament that he is not here to taste it: the greater the bliss we might enjoy together, the more I feel our present wretchedness apart."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXV : First Absence)
  • "If ever I am a mother I will zealously strive against this crime of over- indulgence. I can hardly give it a milder name when I think of the evils it brings."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXV : First Absence)
  • "I trust she may yet be happy; but, if she is, it will be entirely the reward of her own goodness of heart; for had she chosen to consider herself the victim of fate, or of her mother's worldly wisdom, she might have been thoroughly miserable; and if, for duty's sake, she had not made every effort to love her husband, she would, doubtless, have hated him to the end of her days."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXV : First Absence)
  • "To wheedle and coax is safer than to command."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXVI : The Guests)
  • He knows he is my sun, but when he chooses to withhold his light, he would have my sky to be all darkness; he cannot bear that I should have a moon to mitigate the deprivation.
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXVI : The Guests)
  • "I ever give a thought to another, you may well spare it, for those fancies are here and gone like a flash of lightning, while my love for you burns on steadily, and for ever, like the sun."
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch. XXVII : Misdemeanour)
  • "You may think it all very fine, Mr. Huntingdon, to amuse yourself with rousing my jealousy; but take care you don't rouse my hate instead. And when you have once extinguished my love, you will find it no easy matter to kindle it again."
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XXVII : Misdemeanour)
  • It is a woman's nature to be constant - to love one and one only, blindly, tenderly, and for ever.
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch. XXVII : Misdemeanour)
  • "You've been weeping, I see - that's our grand resource, you know. But doesn't it make your eyes smart? and do you always find it to answer?"
    • Annabella to Helen (Ch. XXVII : Misdemeanour)
  • "Where hope rises fear must lurk behind."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXVIII : Parental Feelings)
  • "The bud, though plucked, would not be withered, only transplanted to a fitter soil to ripen and blow beneath a brighter sun; and though I might not cherish and watch my child's unfolding intellect, he would be snatched away from all the suffering and sins of earth; and my understanding tells me this would be no great evil; but my heart shrinks from the contemplation of such a possibility, and whispers I could not bear to see him die."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXVIII : Parental Feelings)
  • "I can't love it - what is there to love? It can't love me - or you either; it can't understand a single word you say to it, or feel one spark of gratitude for all your kindness. Wait till it can show some little affection for me, and then I'll see about loving it. At present it is nothing more than a little selfish, senseless sensualist, and if you see anything adorable in it, it's all very well - I only wonder how you can."
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch. XXVIII : Parental Feelings)
  • "His idea of a wife is a thing to love one devotedly, and to stay at home - to wait upon her husband, and amuse him and minister to his comfort in every possible way, while he chooses to stay with her; and, when he is absent, to attend to his interests, domestic or otherwise, and patiently wait his return; no matter how he may be occupied in the meantime."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXIX : The Neighbour)
  • "How shall I teach him hereafter to respect his father, and yet to avoid his example?"
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXIX : The Neighbour)
  • "Whatever my husband's faults may be, it can only aggravate the evil for me to hear them from a stranger's lips."
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXIX : The Neighbour)
  • Intimate acquaintance must precede real friendship
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXIX : The Neighbour)
  • "Instead of combating my slight prejudice against you as uncharitable, I mean to cherish it, until I am convinced that I have no reason to distrust this kind, insinuating friendship you are so anxious to push upon me."
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXIX : The Neighbour)
  • "You're at that game of threatening me with the loss of your affection again, are you? I think it couldn't have been very genuine stuff to begin with, if it's so easily demolished."
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch. XXX : Domestic Scenes)
  • "Friends as we are, we would willingly keep your failings to ourselves - even from ourselves if we could, unless by knowing them we could deliver you from them."
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XXX : Domestic Scenes)
  • "A burst of passion is a fine rousing thing upon occasion, Helen, and a flood of tears is marvellously affecting, but, when indulged too often, they are both deuced plaguy things for spoiling one's beauty and tiring out one's friends."
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch. XXX : Domestic Scenes)
  • "And indeed I know not whether, at the time, it was not for him rather than myself that I blushed; for, since he and I are one, I so identify myself with him, that I feel his degradation, his failings, and transgressions as my own; I blush for him, I fear for him; I repent for him, weep, pray, and feel for him as for myself; but I cannot act for him; and hence, I must be and I am, debased, contaminated by the union, both in my own eyes, and in the actual truth."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXX : Domestic Scenes)
  • "It is painful to doubt the sincerity of those we love."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXXI : Social Virtues)
  • "Considerations will doubtless have more weight with him than any that I could urge."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXXI : Social Virtues)
  • "If the generous ideas of youth are too often over- clouded by the sordid views of after-life, that scarcely proves them to be false"
    • Helen to Milicent (Ch. XXXII : Comparisons: Information Rejected)
  • Life and hope must cease together.
    • Helen to Milicent (Ch. XXXII : Comparisons: Information Rejected)
  • "How odd it is that we so often weep for each other’s distresses, when we shed not a tear for our own!"
    • Helen (Ch. XXXII : Comparisons: Information Rejected)
  • "Adoration isn’t love. I adore Annabella, but I don’t love her; and I love thee, Milicent, but I don’t adore thee."
    • Ralph to Milicent (Ch. XXXII : Comparisons: Information Rejected)
  • A man must have something to grumble about; and if he can’t complain that his wife harries him to death with her perversity and ill-humour, he must complain that she wears him out with her kindness and gentleness.
    • Ralph to Milicent (Ch. XXXII : Comparisons: Information Rejected)
  • "But no generous mind delights to oppress the weak, but rather to cherish and protect."
    • Helen to Ralph (Ch. XXXII : Comparisons: Information Rejected)
  • "I sometimes think she has no feeling at all; and then I go on till she cries - and that satisfies me."
    • Ralph to Helen (Ch. XXXII : Comparisons: Information Rejected)
  • "Chess-players are so unsociable, they are no company for any but themselves."
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXXIII : Two Evenings)
  • "I wanted no confidante in my distress. I deserved none, and I wanted none. I had taken the burden upon myself; let me bear it alone."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXXIII : Two Evenings)
  • "I have no cause to fear; and if they scorn me as a victim of their guilt, I can pity their folly and despise their scorn."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXXIII : Two Evenings)
  • "God have mercy on his miserable soul! and make him see and feel his guilt - I ask no other vengeance! If he could but fully know and truly feel my wrongs I should be well avenged, and I could freely pardon all."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXXIV : Concealment)
  • "Then, go, and sin no more"
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXXV : Provocations)
  • "Forgetfulness is not to be purchased with a wish; and I cannot bestow my esteem on all who desire it, unless they deserve it too."
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXXV : Provocations)
  • "It is a hard, embittering thing to have one's kind feelings and good intentions cast back in one's teeth."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXXVI : Dual Solitude)
  • Revenge! No - what good would that do? - it would make him no better, and me no happier
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXXVII : The Neighbour Again)
  • "I fear you must be very much worse than you should be, if I, a mere ordinary mortal, am, by your own confession, so vastly your superior; and since there exists so little sympathy between us, I think we had better each look out for some more congenial companion"
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXXVII : The Neighbour Again)
  • "I will not allow myself to be worse than my fellows"
    • Walter to Helen (Ch. XXXVII : The Neighbour Again)
  • "In the first place, I don't believe you,' answered I;: 'in the second, if you will be such a fool, I can't hinder it."
    • Helen to Walter (Ch. XXXVII : The Neighbour Again)
  • Though I hate him from my heart, and should rejoice at any calamity that could befall him, I'll leave him to God; and though I abhor my own life, I'll leave that, too, to Him that gave it.
    • Lord Lowborough to Ralph (Ch. XXXVIII : The Injured Man)
  • "You will have no credit for your virtue (if you call it such): even your best friends will not believe in it; because it is monstrous, and not to be credited but by those who suffer, from the effects of it, such cruel torments that they know it to be indeed reality."
    • Walter to Helen (Ch. XXXVIV : A Scheme of Escape)
  • "A hardness such as this is taught by rough experience and despair alone."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XXXVIV : A Scheme of Escape)
  • God will judge us by our own thoughts and deeds, not by what others say about us.
    • Helen to Little Arthur (Ch. XXXVIV : A Scheme of Escape)
  • "And you thought to rob me of my son too, and bring him up to be a dirty Yankee tradesman, or a low, beggarly painter?"
    "Yes, to obviate his becoming such a gentleman as his father."
    • Helen and Arthur (Ch. XL : A Misadventure)
  • "It's well these women must be blabbing. If they haven't a friend to talk to, they must whisper their secrets to the fishes, or write them on the sand or something;"
    • Arthur to Helen (Ch. XL : A Misadventure)
  • "You might as well sell yourself to slavery at once, as marry man you dislike."
    • Helen to Esther (Ch. XLI : Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Breast)
  • Keep both heart and hand in your own possession, till you see good reason to part with them; and if such an occasion should never present itself, comfort your mind with this reflection, that though in single life your joys may not be very many, your sorrows, at least, will not be more than you can bear. Marriage may change your circumstances for the better, but, in my private opinion, it is far more likely to produce a contrary result.
    • Helen to Esther (Ch. XLI : Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Breast)
  • "I shall expect my husband to have no pleasures but what he shares with me; and if his greatest pleasure of all is not the enjoyment of my company —- why — it will be the worse for him —- that's all."
    "If such are your expectations of matrimony, Esther, you must, indeed, be careful whom you marry - or rather, you must avoid it altogether"
    • Helen and Esther (Ch. XLI : Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Breast)
  • "I'd rather be like myself, bad as I am."
    • Ralph to Helen (Ch. XLII : A Reformation)
  • It is never too late to reform, as long as you have the sense to desire it, and the strength to execute your purpose.
    • Helen to Ralph (Ch. XLII : A Reformation)
  • "He cannot endure Rachel, because he knows she has a proper appreciation of him."
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XLIV : The Boundary Post)
  • "Thank heaven, I am free and safe at last!"
    • Helen Graham (Ch. XLIV : The Retreat)
  • "Don't you know that every time we meet the thoughts of the final parting will become more painful? Don't you feel that every interview makes us dearer to each other than the last?"
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. XLV : Raconsiliation)
  • "Never mind our kind friends: if they can part our bodies, it is enough; in God's name, let them not sunder our souls!"
    • Gilbert to Helen (Ch. XLV : Raconsiliation)
  • There is perfect love in heaven!
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. XLV : Raconsiliation)
  • Increase of love brings increase of happiness, when it is mutual, and pure as that will be.
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. XLV : Raconsiliation)
  • "To regret the exchange of earthly pleasures for the joys of heaven, is as if the grovelling caterpillar should lament that it must one day quit the nibbled leaf to soar aloft and flutter through the air, roving at will from flower to flower, sipping sweet honey from their cups, or basking in their sunny petals."
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. XLV : Raconsiliation)
  • "She is not determined to forget me. It would be wrong to forget one so deeply and fondly devoted to her, who can so thoroughly appreciate her excellencies, and sympathise with all her thoughts, as I can do, and it would be wrong in me to forget so excellent and divine a piece of God's creation as she, when I have once so truly loved and known her."
    • Gilbert to Frederick (Ch. XLVI : Friendly Councels)
  • "There's nothing like active employment to console the afflicted;"
    • Eliza to Gilbert (Ch. XLVII : Startling Intelligence)
  • "Mamma does all she can,' said she, 'to make me feel myself a burden and incumbrance to the family, and the most ungrateful, selfish, and undutiful daughter that ever was born;"
    • Esther to Helen (Ch. XLVIII : Further Intelligences)
  • God is Infinite Wisdom, and Power, and Goodness - and Love; but if this idea is too vast for your human faculties - if your mind loses itself in its overwhelming infinitude, fix it on Him who condescended to take our nature upon Him, who was raised to heaven even in His glorified human body, in whom the fulness of the Godhead shines.
    • Helen to Arthur (Ch. XLIX : "The Rain Descended...")
  • "It is a troublesome thing this susceptibility to affronts where none are intended."
    • Gilbert to Jack Halford (Ch. L : Doubts and Disappointments)
  • 'But what is this?' he murmured. 'Why, Esther, you're crying now!'
    'Oh, it's nothing - it's only too much happiness - and the wish,' sobbed she, 'that our dear Helen were as happy as ourselves.'
    • Frederick and Esther (Ch. LI : An Unexpected Occurence)
  • "If you loved as I do,' she earnestly replied, 'you would not have so nearly lost me - these scruples of false delicacy and pride would never thus have troubled you - you would have seen that the greatest worldly distinctions and discrepancies of rank, birth, and fortune are as dust in the balance compared with the unity of accordant thoughts and feelings, and truly loving, sympathising hearts and souls."
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. LIII : Conclusion)
  • "Though she leads a retired and contemplative life, she is apt to get low-spirited if left too much alone."
    • Helen to Gilbert (Ch. LIII : Conclusion)

The Narrow Way (1848)Edit

Written 24 April 1848, first published in the December edition of Fraser's Magazine. - Full text at Wikisource
  • On all her breezes borne
    Earth yields no scents like those;
    But he, that dares not grasp the thorn
    Should never crave the rose.

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Last modified on 9 April 2014, at 02:23