Updated: Jul 21
“To Imagination” written by Emily Jane Bronte was published in 1846. She always calls her imagination ‘My Darling Pain’. In this poem, she considers imagination as a necessity in one’s sorrowful life. Imagination has the capacity to enlighten everything one beholds. All through the poem the poet expresses her gratefulness towards imagination and “it’s” i.e. imagination’s presence in human life.
When weary with the long day’s care,
And earthly change from pain to pain,
And lost, and ready to despair,
Thy kind voice calls me back again:
Oh, my true friend! I am not lone,
While then canst speak with such a tone!
So hopeless is the world without,
The world within I doubly prize;
Thy world, where guile, and hate, and doubt,
And cold suspicion never rise;
Where thou, and I, and Liberty,
Have undisputed sovereignty.
What matters it, that all around
Danger, and guilt, and darkness lie,
If but within our bosom’s bound
We hold a bright, untroubled sky,
Warm with ten thousand mingled rays
Of suns that know no winter days?
Reason, indeed, may oft complain
For Nature’s sad reality,
And tell the suffering heart how vain
Its cherished dreams must always be;
And Truth may rudely trample down
The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown.
But thou art ever there, to bring
The hovering vision back, and breathe
New glories o’er the blighted spring,
And call a lovelier Life from Death.
And whisper, with a voice divine,
Of real worlds, as bright as thine.
I trust not to thy phantom bliss,
Yet, still, in evening’s quiet hour,
With never-failing thankfulness,
I welcome thee, Benignant Power;
Sure solacer of human cares,
And sweeter hope, when hope despairs!
POEM SUMMARY: To Imagination Poem Summary
Firstly, the poet says how imagination gives her hope in despair. She says when she gets tired of the whole day with all the earthly pain and troubles; and when she goes to the extent of becoming hopeless; Imagination, her “true friend”, calls her. By that call she gets back her will to live and losses her loneliness.
Secondly, she compares the earthly world and the imaginary world. She says the world without her ‘inside’ world (i.e. imaginary world) is filled with despair. She doubly rewards her illusionary world. She personifies ‘imagination’ as ‘thy’. In that world cunningness, hatred, doubtfulness, suspicion, and all the evil emotions never get to rise. It is a world where Imagination, She, and Liberty will remain in inseparable sovereignty.
Thirdly, she speaks of an imaginary possibility where the world that has danger, guilt, and darkness around can be felt entirely luminous. This can be made possible by our heart which is bound by our bosom by imagining a bright untroubled sky that is warm with ten thousand mingled rays of sun which know any winter days.
Fourthly she speaks on the rude nature of reality and truth. She says reason complains and nature’s reality is sad as it tells us all, how vain it is to cherish our dreams. But such ruthless truth can be trampled down by the fantasy of the newly blossomed flowers.
Fifthly, the poet says how imagination has always remained with her ‘always and forever’ and made impossible possibilities. She says fantasy balances her life, makes her blighted spring glorious, and even brings a lovelier life out of death. It also whispers with a divine tone and makes the real world luminous as the imaginary world.
Finally, she praises the qualities of fantasy. She says she does not trust the spirit version of it as it is abstract. Yet in the evening (i.e. the end of the day) at the quiet hours she would be grateful for it (she says she has never failed to feel thankful for it.) She welcomes “it” the one with gracious power, the peacemaker to the human souls, a sweet hope giver that makes life meaningful when hope tries to fade.
~ Literpretation Team for Education