Men call you fair, Ellen, and you deserve it,
For that yourself you daily do see:
But the greater fair of a gentle wit,
And virtuous mind’s more praised by me.
For all the rest, how ever fair it be,
Shall turn to nothing and lose its hue:
But your soul is permanent and free
From failures which with time ensue.
That is true beauty: that does show you,
To be divine, and born of heavenly seed:
Born of that fair Spirit, from whom all true,
And perfect beauty did at first proceed.
He only is fair, and fair Ellen He has made,
All other fair, like flowers, untimely fade.
William Weightman to Ellen Nussey, friend of Charlotte Bronte
Oh soul divine, now learn to wield,
The weight of your immortal shield.
Place on your head thy helmet bright.
Ready your sword against the fight.
For see – an army, strong as fair,
With silken banners breaks the air.
Now, if you beat that thing divine,
In this day’s combat let it shine:
And show that you have all the art,
To conquer this resolvèd heart.