Past, Present, Future by Emily Brontë
Poem written in 1836, but not published during the author's lifetime. Poem was first privately printed by Dodd, Mead and Company of New York in 1902, and later compiled in The Complete Poems of Emily Brontë in 1908.
Tell me, tell me, smiling child,
What the past is like to thee?
'An Autumn evening soft and mild
With a wind that sighs mournfully.'
Tell me, what is the present hour?
'A green and flowery spray
Where a young bird sits gathering its power
To mount and fly away.'
And what is the future, happy one?
'A sea beneath a cloudless sun;
A mighty, glorious, dazzling sea
Stretching into infinity.'
The inspiring music's thrilling sound,
The glory of the festal day,
The glittering splendour rising round,
Have passed like all earth's joys away.
Forsaken by that lady fair,
She glides unheeding through them all;
Covering her brow to hide the tear
That still, though checked, trembles to fall.
She hurries through the outer hall,
And up the stairs through galleries dim,
That murmur to the breezes' call
The night-wind's lonely vesper hymn.
Note: The second half of the above poem was included in The Complete Poems of Emily Brontë without division, but has since been judged by some scholars to be a separate work not belonging to the first half. Others have been reluctant to separate the two.