- Year Published: 1846
- Language: English
- Country of Origin: England
- Source: Bronte, A., Bronte, C., and Bronte, E. (1846). Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. London, England: Aylott and Jones.
- Flesch–Kincaid Level: 8.0
- Word Count: 218
Brontë, E. (1846). The Elder’s Rebuke. Poems of Emily Brontë (Lit2Go Edition). Retrieved April 18, 2014, from
Brontë, Emily. "The Elder’s Rebuke." Poems of Emily Brontë. Lit2Go Edition. 1846. Web. <>. April 18, 2014.
Emily Brontë, "The Elder’s Rebuke," Poems of Emily Brontë, Lit2Go Edition, (1846), accessed April 18, 2014,.
“Listen! When your hair, like mine,
Takes a tint of silver gray;
When your eyes, with dimmer shine,
Watch life’s bubbles float away:
When you, young man, have borne like me
The weary weight of sixty-three,
Then shall penance sore be paid
For those hours so wildly squandered;
And the words that now fall dead
On your ear, be deeply pondered—
Pondered and approved at last:
But their virtue will be past!
“Glorious is the prize of Duty,
Though she be ’a serious power’;
Treacherous all the lures of Beauty,
Thorny bud and poisonous flower!
“Mirth is but a mad beguiling
Of the golden-gifted time;
Love—a demon-meteor, wiling
Heedless feet to gulfs of crime.
“Those who follow earthly pleasure,
Heavenly knowledge will not lead;
Wisdom hides from them her treasure,
Virtue bids them evil-speed!
“Vainly may their hearts repenting.
Seek for aid in future years;
Wisdom, scorned, knows no relenting;
Virtue is not won by fears.”
Thus spake the ice-blooded elder gray;
The young man scoffed as he turned away,
Turned to the call of a sweet lute’s measure,
Waked by the lightsome touch of pleasure:
Had he ne’er met a gentler teacher,
Woe had been wrought by that pitiless preacher.