Analysis of the poem " No Cowards Soul is Mine" (2022)

Analysis of the poem “ No Cowards 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 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.

Emily Brontë is a well-known Victorian writer. She wrote many poems and one famous novel with the title “Wuthering Heights.” One of her poems is called “No Coward Soul Is Mine” it was written near the end of her life, but it was not published until the 2nd of January 1846 by her sister Charlotte, according to some sources. This poem is a about Emily Brontë’s feelings for god. It expresses her views on God, by describing the divine himself, and how every living thing is related to him, such as death and faith, and this can be the poem’s main theme. The poem shows that through faith death is not an obstacle and that the speaker will continue to live long after s/he physically dies.

Moreover, it is strange that her poetry is profoundly religious, because some critics have the assumption that she turned her back on religious institutions. When in fact, it is said that for Brontë, religious fulfillment was to be found in the union of the individual spirit with the eternal spirits that she found in nature, thus it is believed that her most famous poem, “No Coward Soul is Mine,” unveils that she had a deep faith. It is just that she did not want to speak about it to others or share it in the fellowship of the Church.

Furthermore, the structure of this brilliant poem is a seven stanzas of four lines each, in which every second line rhymes. There are a few exceptions to this, in the 1st and the 3rd line of the fourth and sixth verse, but this is not very important as it is more a bout the poem’s design. However, the poem flows smoothly in sound and has a reflective tone, but full of passion.

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.

The 1st line in this stanza begins with the title of the poem which indicates a strong affirmation; that negates the cowardliness from the soul of the speaker. It also conveys a feeling of reflection, and a desire of expression, since the speaker needs to tell the world that s\he is not a coward. In Victorian England they used to promise women and children that they can find comfort in the afterlife, and this is reflected in this poem. When this promise is combined with the faith the speaker possesses- which is as strong as the promised “Heaven’s glories”- both will give him or her the power to conquer any fear. That is why the speaker says that evidences are found in the sky, and that all troubles of the world are not scaring her or him because faith protects all those who believe in it.

In addition, in the 3rd and 4th line of this stanza, the speaker states that by looking at the sky s/he receives strength and support from God, thus this power is God given.

O God within my breast,

Almighty, ever-present Deity!

Life - that in me hast rest,

As I - Undying Life- have power in Thee!

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This poem does not clarify if the gender of the speaker is a male or a female, yet in this stanza the tone is shifting to a female’s tone. Also, when reading this stanza one is reminded of the situation of Victorian women at that time, when women felt helpless they were told to seek the help of God only, and this is why here if we assume that the speaker is a woman, then she has clearly turned to God.

The speaker says there is a life within her and this undying life- referring to continuity- gives her power and this type of power is a spiritual one. The speaker talks about an “undying life,” which is the fetus that is growing in women’s wombs. This cycle of life shows the connection between women and God. That is by women giving birth, the spirit of God is associated with women as they are responsible of bringing another creature to life.

Moreover, it is obvious that the speaker is speaking of God, as a part of her and of the force that pervades all of nature; which can be understood as the mingling of both the power/faith of the speaker and the power/faith of the Deity/nature idea. Thus, the speaker claims that anyone can possess the power of God by believing in the eternal life and their existence with God; which makes these lines demonstrate the words of a woman who has come to know a concept of God.

Vain are the thousand creeds

That move men’s hearts, unutterably vain;

Worthless as withered weeds

Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

In this third stanza, the speaker claims that all men are vain and worthless; because they list many kinds of rules which women in Victorian England should follow, but someday those men will simply just vanish. Thus, one can assume that this stanza implies a request to people-especially to men- to turn from their “vain”, idle methods and to put both their trust and faith in something more solid. Moreover, there is something significant about this stanza as it holds an interesting formal feature; which is the running-on of this stanza to stanza four. This marvelous technique-unusual in Victorian era- illustrates a courageous approach to poetic syntax.

To waken doubt in one

Holding so fast by Thine infinity;

So surely anchored on

The steadfast rock of immortality.

The punctuating of this stanza is very important because it was a famous feature in the Victorian poetry. Thus the semicolon creates a binary to represent two opposing opinions. On one hand, it is thought that the speaker here is saying: men in Victorian England were forcing the idea of women occupying a weak position as they were unable to do anything beyond their daily duties. Therefore, women started questioning “to waken doubt”, did God create them to be worthless and with no beneficial purpose in life!

Moreover, it is believed that women did hold “fast by Thine infinity,” as before women took everything for granted, however now they are starting to question the ideas that are forced by religion. For instance, women started to think that they are created for a reason, to inhabit a higher position, and not to be treated less than men.

On the other hand, this stanza could convey the meaning that though men are trying to associate themselves with God, it is actually women who are linked to the divine. The proof of this is the fact that women are a breed of creatures who are able to bring other creatures to life. Thus, men’s previous claim is a vain attempt to make themselves immortal.

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With wide-embracing love

Thy Spirit animates eternal years,

Pervades and broods above,

Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears

On one hand, these are the most important lines, where the speaker links the functions of God: “changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears,” to what women do for their children. Thus, just like what God functions above, women do the same below on earth as they all sustain life. This idea can be elaborated more by explaining the last line of this stanza. The line states how nature works to bring about the universal transformation: “changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears,” which is a perfect description of the cyclic evolution. Therefore, this means beings continue to exist for a while, and then they dissolve, only to be re-created once more through the process of women carrying the fetus in their wombs.

On the other hand, these lines evoke to the speaker that compassion is a life-giving force which is able to guide all evolutions. And the speaker believes that compassion is indeed capable of making the great number of beings closer to the Divine.

Moreover, it can be assumed that stanza four and five are somehow connected. For instance, women in Victorian England started looking at their position and questioned why their lives would be like tombs, when they were given a parallel life and a function that was similar to God’s, as they were all responsible for the whole creation.

Though Earth and man were gone,

And suns and universes ceased to be,

And Thou wert left alone,

Every Existence would exist in Thee.

The “doubt” that arose in the previous stanza does not make the speaker’s faith any less. That is the speaker knows and declares that God has been present, will eternally be present, and even if the world would come to an end, life would still exist in this Superlative Being/Nature. Thus, this is a reassurance that the Devine is always with us. Also it is said that Brontë uses a great deal of elements, for example, this stanza has a reference to nature, which is one of her popular writing habits.

There is not room for Death,

Nor atom that his might could render void:

Thou - Thou art Being and Breath,

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And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Once again the belief of life after death is very strong in the final stanza: “There is not room for Death.” The speaker argues that there is no place for death because nobody vanishes to nothing; which can be seen in the line “could render avoid.” Moreover, ultimate elimination is not what God wants. That is God is about life and not about death, so humans do not die and disappear, but actually there is an afterlife. So although it is true that nothing vanishes, there is a transformation which is a different form of existence.

Furthermore, those lines show God’s art of “Being and Breath;” which are the combination of physical objects and souls, such as making the fetus alive in women’s uteruses. Moreover, the speaker concludes the poem saying that life and earth are never going to be destroyed, because God is about life and thus women are objects in which to keep and sustain life.

Style

Brontë’s tone of this poem is reflective, yet full of passion. She uses language that is emotional, powerful and even harsh, “vain”, and “worthless” when she talks of others. Also her use of words in this framework is outstanding and valuable. Brontë uses vast and strong images, such as “Storm-troubled sphere,” and “suns and universe ceased to be,” when talking about God. These images convey awe in the reader, an emotional link to the contents of the poem.

Moreover, Brontë invites readers to join her passionate declaration while simply communicating her faith. In her poem, Brontë uses a great number of simple metaphors which means; words or expressions that in literal usage denotes one kind of thing is applied to a distinctly different kind of thing, without asserting a comparison. Also she uses mostly one simile which is; a comparison between two distinctly different things is explicitly indicated by the word “like” or “as,” just like in the following examples:

So surely anchored on

The steadfast rock of immortality

She uses metaphors that glorify God throughout the entire poem. Thus, Brontë compares God to strong things such as rocks.

Though Earth and man were gone

And suns and universes ceased to be

And though wert left alone

Every Existence would exist in thee

In spite of the metaphors, which are used in almost every line of this poem, there is one example of a simile, when referring to men.

Moreover, Brontë uses other poetic devices to move her poems to a higher rank. For instance, there are a few cases of repetition, such as in the very first couplet,

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No coward soul is mine

No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere

This serves to support the concept; that the speaker is not a coward. Also this first couplet is a good example of Brontë’s delicate uses of alliteration, in this case the soft “s” sound. This helps to soften the image of storms, which is usually violent. One more obvious use of alliteration is in the very last couplet,

Since thou art Being and Breath

Once more, the alliteration of this line softens the poem, creating a mood of admiration and wonder.

In conclusion, one can assume that “No Cowards Soul is Mine,” is one of the greatest poems because a genius has caught a great truth and set it down in words of fire. This poem has a quite successful relation of one person’s view of God. It accomplishes its aim of expression, and also has the ability of making others think of God themselves.

Works cited

Abraham, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.2009, 2005

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2009/aug/17/poem-of-the-week-emily-bronte

http://wonderingminstrels.blogspot.com/1999/11/no-coward-soul-is-mine-emily-bronte.html

http://mural.uv.es/paenfer/poesia/Emily%20Bronte.html

http://courses.wcupa.edu/fletcher/britlitweb/srittera.htm

http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/poetry.htm

http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/novel_19c/wuthering/poetry.html#coward

http://www.eliteskills.com/c/8593

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FAQs

Analysis of the poem " No Cowards Soul is Mine"? ›

The speaker of “No Coward Soul Is Mine” expresses an unshakeable belief in the strength and goodness of God, that “ever-present Deity.” Despite living in a world of suffering and loss, the speaker sees no reason to despair: a deep faith in God assures the speaker that all life is everlasting and that death has no real ...

What kind of poem is No Coward Soul Is Mine? ›

'No Coward Soul Is Mine' by Emily Brontë is a seven stanza poem that is made up of four-line stanzas, or quatrains. Each of these quatrains adheres to a strict pattern of rhyme that carries through the entire poem. The first line and third lines of each stanza rhyme, and the second and fourth lines rhyme.

What Thou art may never be destroyed? ›

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.

What is Emily Brontes most famous poem? ›

8 Short Poems by Emily Brontë Everyone Should Read
  1. 'All hushed and still within the house'. This is a short piece, almost a fragment. ...
  2. 2. ' O come with me'. ...
  3. 'Had there been falsehood in my breast'. ...
  4. 4. ' ...
  5. 'What winter floods, what showers of spring'. ...
  6. 6. ' ...
  7. 'It will not shine again'. ...
  8. 'I know not how it falls on me'.

Who was the writer of lines? ›

"Lines" is a poem written by English writer Emily Brontë in December 1837. It is understood that the poem was written in the Haworth parsonage, two years after Brontë had left Roe Head, where she was unable to settle as a pupil. At that time, she had already lived through the death of her mother and two of her sisters.

What is the meaning of the poem A Brave and Startling Truth? ›

The title of the poem hints that when we get there, we will learn something amazing: a brave and startling truth that will change us forever. This ties into the other theme of the poem: destination. Humanity is traveling on this little planet through time and space, towards a destination called 'the day of peacemaking.

What does Shall the earth no more inspire thee mean? ›

'Shall earth no more inspire thee' is made up of one person's impassioned plea to another to leave behind emotional darkness and return to past peace.

How could I seek the empty world again? ›

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish, Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain; Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish, How could I seek the empty world again? This poem is in the public domain. Emily Brontë, born in 1818, is best known for her novel Wuthering Heights (Thomas Cautley Neuby, 1847).

Why is Emily Bronte important? ›

Emily Brontë was an English novelist and poet who wrote a single novel, Wuthering Heights (1847), a highly imaginative work of passion and hate set on the Yorkshire moors. It received terrible reviews when first published but came to be considered one of the finest novels in the English language.

What poem was read at Emily Dickinson's funeral? ›

In the months preceding her death on May 15, 1886, Emily Dickinson requested that Emily Brontë's poem "No coward soul is mine" be read at her funeral, thereby enlisting Brontë's defiant declaration of immortality in what can be interpreted as Dickinson's own equally defiant final statement on the relation of fame to ...

When was no coward soul is mine written? ›

Emily Brontë published “No Coward Soul Is Mine” in 1846. The poem appeared in Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, these names being male pseudonyms for Emily and her sisters Charlotte and Anne.

What is Emily Brontë's writing style? ›

The writing style of Emily Bronte was figurative and self-effacing interspersed with poetic prose. Emily was famous for romantic poetic style because she explored the themes of nature, solitude, romanticism, religion, loss, death, revenge and class.

What influenced Emily Brontë's writing? ›

Like most authors, Emily Brontë was a product of her environment, and this directly influenced her writing. During her life she had no close friends, was interested in mysticism, and enjoyed her solitude outdoors. All of these elements grace both her poems and Wuthering Heights.

What are the main themes of Wordsworth's poetry? ›

Themes
  • The Beneficial Influence of Nature. Throughout Wordsworth's work, nature provides the ultimate good influence on the human mind. ...
  • The Power of the Human Mind. Wordsworth praised the power of the human mind. ...
  • The Splendor of Childhood. In Wordsworth's poetry, childhood is a magical, magnificent time of innocence.

What is a stanza in a poem? ›

stanza, a division of a poem consisting of two or more lines arranged together as a unit. More specifically, a stanza usually is a group of lines arranged together in a recurring pattern of metrical lengths and a sequence of rhymes.

What does the poet believe are the true wonders of the world? ›

According to Angelou's speaker, human beings are the real wonders of the world.

WHEN WAS A Brave and Startling Truth written? ›

This famous poem was composed in 1995 and was read aloud at the 50th-anniversary commemoration of the United Nations. Today, it is commonly regarded as one of Angelou's best and most universally relatable compositions.

What is Maya Angelou short poem? ›

You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise.

When was long neglect has worn away written? ›

Long Neglect Has Worn Away By Emily Brontë (1818 48)

What does Divinest anguish mean? ›

"Divinest Anguish" refers to severe pain that only God could bestow. In context of the question, it only makes sense that the answer refers to pain. "Rapturous Pain" is the only answer that refers to pain and refers to theology as well, which proves the similarities between the concepts.

Who is the speaker in remembrance? ›

In summary, 'Remembrance' is an elegy addressed to someone the speaker of the poem loved dearly, who died some fifteen years ago. (We say 'the speaker' rather than 'the poet' because we know Brontë isn't writing directly from personal experience, but instead speaking in the persona of the Gondal heroine.)

What is a remembrance poem? ›

A remembrance poem or funeral reading can be a wonderful way of saying your final goodbyes to a loved one. It's often considered an important part of any funeral service, religious or not, and can bring comfort at this difficult time.

What does Brontë mean? ›

Meaning:Thunder; Bestower. Bronte is a gender neutral name of mixed origin. The Bronte sisters were English, but this word also exists in Greek and Gaelic dialects. Taking turns between "thunder" and "bestower" respectively, this name has facets for days.

Why Wuthering Heights wrote Emily? ›

Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights because she needed to give way to her passions. She was eager to unveil the wild side of an English person's personality. She also strove for freedom and self-expression through her characters.

Who are called the Brontes? ›

The Brontës (/ˈbrɒntiz/) were a nineteenth-century literary family, born in the village of Thornton and later associated with the village of Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. The sisters, Charlotte (1816–1855), Emily (1818–1848), and Anne (1820–1849), are well-known poets and novelists.

What do the mourners symbolize? ›

Mourners. In general, mourners symbolize sadness and loss.

What might Dickinson imply by comparing her brain and her feelings to a Funeral? ›

“I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” is a poem that, in part, presents the impending mental collapse of its speaker, a collapse that Dickinson likens to the rituals of a funeral to ultimately explore the figurative “death” of the speaker's sanity.

What poem is Emily Dickinson most famous for? ›

“Hope” is the thing with feathers (1861)

With its sweet message and singable rhythm, this tribute to hope is arguably Dickinson's best-known work.

What are Sylvia Plath poems about? ›

Sylvia Plath

When I am dead my dearest stanza explanation? ›

In the second stanza, the speaker explains why she isn't fussed about what her beloved does to remember her after she has died: she will not be there to see the shadows or feel the rain, or hear the nightingale singing; after death, she will be 'dreaming', and sleeping, through a perpetual 'twilight', and she may ...

What is the theme of when I am dead my dearest? ›

The poem focuses on death and mourning, with the speaker urging a loved one not to waste too much time grieving for her when she dies.

What is Wuthering Heights irony? ›

Situational irony is when the outcome is unexpected. Heathcliff spends his entire life planning and plotting to bring misery to those who have wronged him, but it does nothing to improve his life. Everyone dies except young Cathy and Hareton. He has managed to make them miserable, but loses interest.

What kind of language is used in Wuthering Heights? ›

In Wuthering Heights regional dialect is used by the author to delineate social class and manners. Each principal character is given a distinctive form of speaking to denote his or her social standing. The outsider Lockwood speaks received English while the servant Joseph speaks the purest form of Yorkshire dialect.

What are the symbols in Wuthering Heights? ›

Wuthering Heights represents the epitome of evil while Thrushcross represents the good physically. The moors would be a place between Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The moors to Cathy and Heathcliff represent freedom from religion, social barriers, and their happiness.

What killed Emily Brontë? ›

Did Emily Brontë beat her dog? ›

The brutal Brontes! Emily beat up her pet dog. Charlotte - plain, toothless and dull - was so spiteful children threw stones at her. Although the Brontes have been written about more than any other literary family, it still comes as a shock to be reminded of just how weird they were.

What is the theme of this is a photograph of me? ›

Through the free verse poem, “This is a Photograph of Me,” Margaret Atwood touches upon themes of feminism, the distortion of reality, and the importance of understanding others in society. Upon further analysis, this once simple poem is filled with symbols to the brim and weaves an extended metaphor.

What is the theme of when I am dead my dearest? ›

The poem focuses on death and mourning, with the speaker urging a loved one not to waste too much time grieving for her when she dies.

When I am dead my dearest poetic devices? ›

Throughout Song Rossetti also uses alliteration and sibilance to create a song-like tone: Phrases such as 'sad songs' (line 2) highlight the melancholy voice of the speaker. The soft 'sh' sounds in the words 'shady' and 'showers' reinforce his/her weary tone.

When I am dead my dearest stanza explanation? ›

In the second stanza, the speaker explains why she isn't fussed about what her beloved does to remember her after she has died: she will not be there to see the shadows or feel the rain, or hear the nightingale singing; after death, she will be 'dreaming', and sleeping, through a perpetual 'twilight', and she may ...

What is the critical analysis of the poem this is a photograph of me? ›

The speaker tells us that if we look hard enough, we should be able to see them beneath the lake's surface. 'This Is a Photograph of Me' is a troubling poem because of the casual way in which the poem turns from a matter-of-fact description into a terrible revelation: the poem is being spoken from beyond the grave.

Who is the speaker of the poem a photograph? ›

'A Photograph' is a powerful poem about loss, memory, and time. Despite the fact that it focuses on one speaker's mother and a very specific photograph, it is incredibly moving and relatable.

What did the poet mostly like about the photograph? ›

The poet talks about a particular cardboard to which is pasted her mother's photograph taken at the sea beach. The mother seems to have been enjoying her sea holiday. The photograph is special as she has lost her mother sometime back and looking at the photograph makes her happy as well as sad.

What will the poet not experience after her death? ›

What will the poet not experience after her death? She will not experience three things after her death. She will not see the shadows of the tree. She will not feel the rain.

What is the rhyming scheme of the poem when I am dead my dearest? ›

The poem "When I Am Dead, My Dearest" is composed using quatrains crafted using the rhyme scheme "abcb".

Who is the author of the poem when I am dead your tears will flow? ›

Rabindra Nath Tagore. Born: C.E. 7th May 1861 - never died because he still lives on in our hearts and minds.

What good shall my life do me? ›

Is Love for Love is infinite. Up to the hills, grow glad and wise. With pomp of blossoms veined or pied.

What is the theme of Go and catch a falling star? ›

John Donne's "Go and catch a falling star," first published in 1633, is a fantastical take on a traditional (and misogynistic) theme: women's supposedly inevitable infidelity.

What is the poem Remember by Christina Rossetti about? ›

“Remember” is a Petrarchan sonnet. The speaker addresses her beloved and encourages him to remember her after her death. She asks him to remember her even when his memory of her begins to fade.

How does the structure of the poem affect its meaning? ›

Poetry is literature written in stanzas and lines that use rhythm to express feelings and ideas. Poets will pay particular attention to the length, placement, and grouping of lines and stanzas. This is called form. Lines or whole stanzas can be rearranged in order to create a specific effect on the reader.

What is the context of the poem uphill? ›

The answerer replies that there is plenty of room for all who have successfully made the journey "uphill." The poem speaks to the fact that life is a constant struggle and challenge. Those who are able to succeed at passing the uphill journey will be rewarded by having a place where they will be able to rest.

Who is the speaker in this is a photograph of me? ›

'This Is a Photograph of Me' by Margaret Atwood describes a blurry image of a child who has tragically died by drowning in a lake nearby their “small frame house.” The poem begins with the first-person speaker (the child) describing her photograph.

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