In this installment, Fanny Howe reads “No Coward Soul is Mine” by Emily Brontë. Howe has written many novels and books of poems. They include The Deep North, Selected Poems, Economics, On the Ground, and Gone and Indivisible. She is Professor Emerita of Literature at the University of California, San Diego and the winner of the Lenore Marshall Award and of a Guggenheim. She lives in New England.
Emily Brontë, “No coward soul is mine”
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And Faith shines equal, arming me from Fear.
O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life, that in me has rest,
As I, undying Life, have power in Thee!
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men’s hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thy infinity,
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality.
With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.
Though earth and moon were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.
There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Since Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.