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Emily Jane Pfeiffer - The winged soul

Identifier

010276

Type of spiritual experience

Background

Emily Jane Pfeiffer, née Davis, (26 November 1827 - 23 January 1890) was an English poet.

Following the financial collapse of her grandfather's bank in 1831, her family lacked the resources to send her to school, but her father, Thomas Richard Davis, encouraged her to paint and write poetry. In 1842, Pfeiffer published her first book, The holly branch, an album for 1843. In 1850, she married Jurgen Edward Pfeiffer, a tea merchant. Pfeiffer was a prolific writer, publishing several books and compilations of poems. Her 1876 collection, Poems, was a critical success; Flowers of the night, a collection of sonnets published in 1889, after the death of her husband, dealt with themes of grief and consolation as well as the disadvantageous legal position of women.

A description of the experience

Emily Pfeiffer – The Winged Soul

My soul is like some cage born bird, that hath
A restless prescience – howsoever won -
Of a broad pathway leading to the sun
With promptings of an oft reproved faith
In sun-ward yearnings.  Stricken though her breast
And faint her wings with beating at the bars
Of sense, she looks beyond outlying stars
And only in the Infinite sees rest

Sad soul!  If ever thy desire be bent
Or broken to thy doom, and made to share
The ruminant's beatitude – content -
Chewing the cud of knowledge, with no care
For germs of life within; then will I say
Thou art not caged, but fitly stalled in clay

The source of the experience

Poet other

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