Easter Victorian

Happy Easter: Lines Composed In A Wood On A Windy Day

Easter was a festival that was especially loved by Anne Brontë. As the daughter of a Church Of England priest, you would have expected all of the Brontë sisters to have been devout Christians, yet Charlotte’s writing often hints at a questioning of her faith, and Emily developed a faith of her very own, an almost mystical belief where she saw the power of God through the beauty of nature. Their brother Branwell, once the organist at the parish church, stopped attending altogether as his addictions took hold, although he rediscovered his faith on his death bed.

Anne Brontë, however, found her faith strengthening throughout her life, and turned to it to help her through the losses and tragedies she faced. Anne it was who was almost fanatically devoted to the church, and so she would have been enraptured by the Easter triduum: the Maundy Thursday service that replayed the Last Supper, the silent mourning of Good Friday, and then at last the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday.

Scarborough's roaring waves
Scarborough’s roaring waves this week.

Easter is also a time when spring is making its glorious appearance, and this too would have been a joyous time for Anne, as like Emily she loved nature in all its forms. She adored the sight of primroses and snowdrops reaching up into the sky, and in later years, when governess to the Robinson family of Thorp Green Hall, she loved the sights and sounds of waves crashing against the shore at her beloved Scarborough. We hear this clearly in Anne Brontë’s 1842 poem ‘Lines Composed In A Wood On A Windy Day’; I close this post with the poem and wish you all a very Happy Easter:

‘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.
The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves, beneath them, are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.
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!’

4 thoughts on “Happy Easter: Lines Composed In A Wood On A Windy Day”

  1. A beautiful poem. You can imagine the scene. You can almost feel the wind in your face, hear the crashing waves and seabirds and smell the sea air. Wonderful. Bravo Anne.

  2. I’m coming to Yorkshire soon…like a return as my female lineage belongs there. I lived in Whitby as a child and often walked down to the sea, and sometimes a family trip to Scarborough too. I can still hear the haunting cry of seagulls and that roar of wave upon wave crashing and dissolving in the sand. Most appreciate your picture and description that re-birthed these memories, thank you.

    1. Thanks Zanna! Scarborough is a town I love very much, I’m sure you’ll enjoy re-visiting it.

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