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No Coward Soul Is Mine Analysis

Author: Poetry of Emily Brontë Type: Poetry Views: 1564

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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 Thine 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 man were gone,

And suns and universes ceased to be,

And Thou were left alone,

Every existence would exist in Thee.There is not room for Death,

Nor atom that his might could render void:

Thou-Thou art Being and Breath,

And what Thou art may never be destroyed.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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“No Coward Soul Is Mine” is a poem about Emily Bronte’s feelings for god. It tells Bronte’s views on God, through a series of descriptions of the being himself, and how other things relate back to him, things like death and faith.

Bronte’s purpose in this poem is to express her thoughts on God, as is shown in her use of first person, and issues relating to her, like Death. The very first line of the poem, “No coward soul is mine”- also the name of the poem, shows the closeness of the poem, and conveys a feeling of reflection and need of expression. Bronte needs to tell the world that she is no coward, and does so in a way suited to her- verse.

The tone of this poem is reflective, yet full of passion. The language used is emotive, potent and even accusatory, “vain”, and “worthless” when she talks of others. Her use of words is striking and effective in this context. Bronte is talking about something which means everything to her, “…thou art Being and Breath”, and she uses suitable language to convey this meaning.
Bronte also uses many vast and powerful images, “Storm-troubled sphere,” and “suns and universe ceased to be,” to talk of her God. These images evoke awe in the reader, an emotional connection to the contents of the poem. Bronte, while simply communicating her faith, entreats others to join her with her passionate proclamation. Bronte uses simple metaphors:

So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of immortality

These serve to exult God throughout the poem. Bronte compares God to things that are strong such as rocks, or as all encompassing,
Though Earth and moon were gone
And suns and universes ceased to be
And though wert left alone
Every Existence would exist in thee

Apart from metaphor, which is used in almost every line of this poem, there is one example of simile, when referring to men

Worthless and withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main

The use of the word “as” and the particular simile used here gives this phrase a nice tone, and also expresses Bronte’s contempt for the vain men.

This poem is structured fairly conservatively, which is fitting considering its contents. The poem is in seven stanzas of four lines each, in which every second line rhymes. There are a few exceptions to this, in the first and third line of the fourth and sixth verse, but this appears to be more out of necessity than design. Bronte has given up her rhyme in the midst of particularly vivid images.
The poem moves quite well, though without a rhythm of its own. It is very flowing, almost soothing in sound. There are a few cases of repetition, such as in the very first couplet,

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere

This serves to reinforce the concept; in this case, that Bronte isn’t a coward.
Also in this first couplet is a good example of Bronte’s subtle use of alliteration, in this case the soft “s” sound. This helps to soften what would otherwise be a violent image of storms. One more obvious use of alliteration is in the very last couplet,

Since thou art Being and Breath

Again, the alliteration softens the poem, creating a mood of quiet admiration and wonder.

This poem is a very successful relation of one persons view of God. That this person happens to be a very talented writer helps create some sympathy for the opinion in the reader. It achieves its goal of expression, and also makes others think of God themselves.
Rachel Westwood

| Posted on 2005-08-14 | by Approved Guest

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