The extremely rare manuscript, measuring a scant three square inches, sold at Bonhams Auction House for about £100,000 (about $140,000 USD) – more than twice its estimated worth, reported the Guardian.
Titled "I've Been Wandering in the Greenwoods," signed "C. Brontë," and dated December 14, 1829, the poem is one of about four of Charlotte Brontë's 200 poems in private hands. The rest have been collected by institutions. All the Brontë siblings (including Emily, Anne, and brother Branwell) wrote with small, cramped letters to get the most out of their limited, expensive supply of paper. The poem is difficult to read unaided.
"Greenwoods" appeared in "The Young Man's Intelligencer," the Brontë sibling's literary magazine that they wrote and edited themselves. Charlotte took over editing the magazine from Branwell in 1829, the year the poem was published.
Here's the text of the poem:
"I've Been Wandering in the Greenwoods"
I've been wandering in the greenwoods
And mid flowery smiling plains
I've been listening to the dark floods
To the thrushes thrilling strains
I have gathered the pale primrose
And the purple violet sweet
I've been where the Asphodel grows
And where lives the red deer fleet.
I've been to the distant mountain,
To the silver singing rill
By the crystal murmering fountain,
And the shady verdant hill.
I've been where the poplar is springing
From the fair Inamelled ground
Where the nightingale is singing
With a solemn plaintive sound.
-C. Brontë, December 14, 1829
Ben Frederick is a contributor to The Christian Science Monitor