Poem “November 1837” Emily Bronte

(( Updating 10/29/16  Reposting from last year A Poem to start the Month off rightly. ))

A bit of darkness for All Hallows Eve and a look forward to November

November 1837

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow;
The storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

-Emily Bronte

Questions for the reader

One reviewer has commented that …

“It has been suggested that the poem describes an incident in which one of their imaginary heroines has to leave her child to die on the mountains in winter. The heroine can neither watch nor leave: she is spellbound by her circumstances.” BBC GCSE Article


This would probably lead me to agree, the author most likely knowing vastly more than I about the sisters’ lives, writing and imaginary world of Gondal.

My Take

But origins and meanings aside for the moment, I found this piece to be hauntingly sad and breathtakingly descriptive of the mind of the woman in the poem, whoever she may be. She seems, in a sense, to feel trapped in the darkness by her own inability/unwillingness to leave for safety. The reason for her reticence or reluctance ( or is it obligation?) is not revealed, but she is definitely aware of the dangers of the darkened woods, or it maybe just be the fear of unknown darkness, and the impending storm approaching. However something holds her there, glued to the scene for some unspoken reason.

Now it’s your turn

  • What do you think of this Poem?
  • Have you read any Emily Bronte?
  • How about the sisters Charlotte and Anne?
  • How would you describe the situation and the feelings of the woman in the woods, knowing approaching storms and darkness but unwilling to move for safety?

Tell me in the Comments below. Thanks for reading The Recovering Know it All. Like, Share and Subscribe if you dare.





5 thoughts on “Poem “November 1837” Emily Bronte

  1. sorry, I updated the post to remove the reference to the Canadian rebellions of 1837. The Wife ™ didn’t correct me in time for the first posting that the sisters were not New Englanders, but Old Englanders. My Bad.


  2. LOL. Shame TW got there first. I would have had a fine time as I come from Brontë country.

    Don’t remember reading any Brontë poetry but I’ve read all the novels. Tenant is probably my favourite followed by Wuthering, both very passionate and emotive. But I liked The Professor and Villette too, not so keen on Jane Eyre and can’t remember Shirley, which says little for it. I haven’t read any of Branwell’s writings. Pretty eclipsed by his sisters really.

    I don’t like the sing-song rhythm of the poem, reminds me of Betjeman, although I appreciate she came first. Tbh I found it trite and insubstantial. If this is an example of her poetry, she was better employed on Wuthering.


    • Wow. Tell us how you really feel. Hold nothing back LOL
      I’m not sure the brother write much, he was a failed artist and drunk/opium addict. I have only read this and one other poem by Anne on calvinism. But Emily ‘ s wuthering will probably be on my book list in the coming months. Thx as always for the comment, insight and your refreshing directness. We just watched a video on Bronte country. Amazing and sad story of the family


      • Hmm. Brontë country, ie Yorkshire is known for ‘refreshing directness’. Actually, it is a beautiful part of our county, and there are also Brontë links with Scarborough, I think it is Anne who is buried there, I stayed in a house not far up from the cemetery (which is actually very nice) when I was working on a dig at Scarborough castle.
        I was looking at bookbub/readcheaply and saw someone has written a sequel to Jane Eyre, which reminded me of Rhys’ Sagasso Sea, have you read that?


        • Haven’t read that or Jane eyre. My wife is the lit major. I just love to read. It will go on the ever increasing list too. I took a brief gander at SB’ new offering. Looks like it might be very inviting

          Liked by 1 person

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