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On this day in 1847 Charlotte Brontë completed the manuscript of Jane Eyre.
The longest lived of the four Brontë siblings who reached adulthood, she died aged only 39. Perhaps less well known is her father, Patrick Brontë who outlived all his children to die at the ripe age of 84.
Born to a poor family in Ireland, he had changed his name from Brunty, supposedly in honour of Nelson who had been created Duke of Brontë (in Sicily) in 1799. He may have thought Brontë sounded more distinguished (as indeed it does).
Would we have thought any different of the ‘Brunty sisters’? Patrick wrote some poetry himself, though compared to his children’s work it seems considerably less successful. Perhaps he had read too much Wordsworth.
Here is a fragment, The Happy Cottagers:
One sunny morn of May,
When dressed in flowery green
The dewy landscape, charmed
With Nature’s fairest scene,
In thoughtful mood
I slowly strayed
O’er hill and dale,
Through bush and glade.
Throughout the cloudless sky
Of light unsullied blue,
The larks their matins raised,
Whilst on my dizzy view,
Like dusky motes,
They winged their way
Till vanished in the blaze of day.
Today I ask that I will be grateful for the entire corpus of English literature without the need to be too judgemental.