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Alice Meynell

"Rich meanings of the prophet-Spring adorn, / Unseen, this colorless sky of folded showers, / And folded winds ... "

Alice Meynell, "In February," Preludes (1875)

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"Rome in the ages, dimmed with all her towers, / Floats in the mist, a little cloud at tether."

Alice Meynell, "Spring on the Alban Hills," Preludes (1875)

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"But, visiting Sea, your love doth press / And reach in further than you know, / And fills all these; and, when you go, / There's loneliness in loneliness."

Alice Meynell, "The Visiting Sea," Preludes (1875)

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"O daisy mine, what will it be to look / From God's side even of such a simple thing?"

Alice Meynell, "To a Daisy," Preludes (1875)

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"... no mirror keeps its glances ... "

Alice Meynell, "Your Own Fair Youth," Preludes (1875)

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"O spring, I know thee! Seek for sweet surprise / In the young children's eyes. / But I have learnt the years, and know the yet / Leaf-folded violet."

Alice Meynell, "In Early Spring," Preludes (1875)

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"Now, in our opinion no author should be blamed for obscurity, nor should any pains be grudged in the effort to understand him, provided that he has done his best to be intelligible. Difficult thoughts are quite distinct from difficult words. Difficulty of thought is the very heart of poetry."

Alice Meynell, "Robert Browning," in The Pen (1880)

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"I come from nothing; but from where / Come the undying thoughts I bear?"

Alice Meynell, "A Song of Derivations," Poems (1893)

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"... I am dark but fair, / Black but fair."

Alice Meynell, "The Moon to the Sun," Poems (1893)

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"Red has been praised for its nobility of the color of life. But the true color of life is not red. Red is the color of violence, or of life broken open, edited, and published. Or if red is indeed the color of life, it is so only on condition that it is not seen. Once fully visible, red is the color of life violated, and in the act of betrayal and of waste."

Alice Meynell, title essay, The Color of Life (1896)

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"In the case of women, it is of the living and unpublished blood that the violent world has professed to be delicate and ashamed. See the curious history of the political rights of woman under the Revolution. On the scaffold she enjoyed an ungrudged share in the fortunes of party. Political life might be denied her, but that seems a trifle when you consider how generously she was permitted political death."

Alice Meynell, title essay, The Color of Life (1896)

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" The eyelids confess, and reject, and refuse to reject. They have expressed all things ever since man was man. And they express so much by seeming to hide or to reveal that which indeed expresses nothing. For there is no message from the eye. It has direction, it moves, in the service of the sense of sight; it receives the messages of the world. But expression is outward, and the eye has it not. There are no windows of the soul, there are only curtains ... "

Alice Meynell, "Eyes, The Color of Life (1896)

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"Play is not for every hour of the day, or for any hour taken at random. There is a tide in the affairs of children. Civilization is cruel in sending them to bed at the most stimulating time of dusk."

Alice Meynell, "Under the Early Stars, The Children (1897)

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"Our fathers valued change for the sake of its results; we value it in the act."

Alice Meynell, "That Pretty Person, The Children (1897)

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"Childhood is but change made gay and visible ... "

Alice Meynell, "That Pretty Person, The Children (1897)

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"With mimicry, with praises, with echoes, or with answers, the poets have all but outsung the bell. The inarticulate bell has found too much interpretation, too many rhymes professing to close with her inaccessible utterance, and to agree with her remote tongue. The bell, like the bird, is a musician pestered with literature."

Alice Meynell, "Bells," The Spirit of Place (1898)

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"I have known some grim bells, with not a single joyous note in the whole peal, so forced to hurry for a human festival, with their harshness made light of, as though the Bishop of Hereford had again been forced to dance in his boots by a merry highwayman."

Alice Meynell, "Bells," The Spirit of Place (1898)

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"Spirit of place! It is for this we travel, to surprise its subtlety; and where it is a strong and dominant angel, that place, seen once, abides entire in the memory with all its own accidents, its habits, its breath, its name. It is recalled all a lifetime, having been perceived a week, and is not scattered but abides, one living body of remembrance."

Alice Meynell, "Bells," The Spirit of Place (1898)

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"Solitude is separate experience. "

Alice Meynell, "Solitudes," The Spirit of Place (1898)

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"If there is a look of human eyes that tells of perpetual loneliness, so there is also the familiar look that is the sign of perpetual crowds."

Alice Meynell, "Solitudes," The Spirit of Place (1898)

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"My heart shall be thy garden."

Alice Meynell, "The Garden," Poems (1900)

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"She walks -- the lady of my delight -- / A shepherdess of sheep. / Her flocks are thoughts."

Alice Meynell, "The Shepherdess," Poems (1900)

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"The traveling heart went free / With endless streams; that strife was stopped; / And down a thousand vales I dropped, / I flowed to Italy."

Alice Meynell, "The Watershed," Poems (1913)

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"Brief, on a flying night, / From the shaken tower / A flock of bells take flight, / And go with the hour."

Alice Meynell, "Chimes," Poems (1913)

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"A wall is the safeguard of simplicity."

Alice Meynell, "The Sea Wall," Essays (1914)

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"There is no innocent sleep so innocent as sleep shared between a woman and a child, the little breath hurrying beside the longer, as a child's foot runs."

Alice Meynell, "Solitude," Essays (1914)

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"... the feet should have more of the acquaintance of earth, and know more of flowers, freshness, cool brooks, wild thyme, and salt sand than does anything else about us. ... It is only the entirely unshod that have lively feet."

Alice Meynell, "The Foot," Essays (1914)

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"Tender, too, is the silence of human feet. You have but to pass a season amongst the barefooted to find that man, who, shod, makes so much ado, is naturally as silent as snow."

Alice Meynell, "The Foot," Essays (1914)

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"... for man, woman, and child the tender, irregular, sensitive, living foot, which does not even stand with all its little surface on the ground, and which makes no base to satisfy an architectural eye, is, as it were, the unexpected thing. ... nothing makes a more helpless and unsymmetrical sign than does a naked foot."

Alice Meynell, "The Foot," Essays (1914)

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"In childhood we all have ... a far higher sensibility for April and April evenings -- a heartache for them, which in riper years is gradually and irretrievably consoled."

Alice Meynell, "In July," Essays (1914)

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"Spring and autumn are inconsiderable events in a landscape compared with the shadows of a cloud."

Alice Meynell, "Cloud," Essays (1914)

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"The cloud controls the light ... It is the cloud that, holding the sun's rays in a sheaf as a giant holds a handful of spears, strikes the horizon, touches the extreme edge with a delicate revelation of light, or suddenly puts it out and makes the foreground shine."

Alice Meynell, "Cloud," Essays (1914)

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"We talk of sunshine and moonshine, but not of cloud-shine, which is yet one of the illuminations of our skies. A shining cloud is one of the most majestic of all secondary lights."

Alice Meynell, "Cloud," Essays (1914)

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"Terrestrial scenery is much, but it is not all. Men go in search of it; but the celestial scenery journeys to them; it goes its way round the world. It has no nation, it costs no wearinesss, it knows no bonds."

Alice Meynell, "Cloud," Essays (1914)

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"There is something very cheerful and courageous in the setting-out of a child on a journey of speech with so small baggage and with so much confidence ... "

Alice Meynell, "Fellow Travelers With a Bird," Essays (1914)

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" ... recurrence is sure. What the mind suffered last week, or last year, it does not suffer now; but it will suffer again next week or next year. Happiness is not a matter of events; it depends upon the tides of the mind."

Alice Meynell, "The Rhythm of Life," Essays (1914)

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"If life is not always poetical, it is at least metrical."

Alice Meynell, "The Rhythm of Life," Essays (1914)

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"... the sense of humor has other things to do than to make itself conspicuous in the act of laughter."

Alice Meynell, "Laughter," Essays (1914)

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"Assuredly it would be a pity if laughter should ever become, like rhetoric and the arts, a habit."

Alice Meynell, "Laughter," Essays (1914)

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"Dialect is the elf rather than the genius of place ... "

Alice Meynell, "The Liitle Language," Essays (1914)

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"Children have a fastidiousness that time is slow to cure. It is to be wondered, for example, whether if the elderly were half as hungry as children are they would yet find so many things at table to be detestable."

Alice Meynell, "Injustice," Essays (1914)

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"All things tend to become specialized, except only words. Though in the house of life itself the organs, as life grows more perfect, begin to draw apart to their own separate functions; though the laborer, in the later association of mankind, finds his task by degrees to dwindle in range and to be enforced within closer and closer repetitions; and though only a small division of any of the sciences that have come towards adult and responsible age falls to the share of a single specialist, the word alone grows not expert and special, but general and inexpert. It is obliged to do more various things, and to do them with less directness ... "

Alice Meynell, title essay, The Second Person Singular (1921)

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"... if night comes without thee / She is more cruel than day."

Alice Meynell, "To Sleep," Last Poems of Alice Meynell (1923)

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"My day-mind can endure / Upright, in hope, all it must undergo. / But O, afraid, unsure, / My night-mind waking lies too low, too low."

Alice Meynell, "To Sleep," Last Poems of Alice Meynell (1923)

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"Dear laws, be wings to me! / The feather merely floats. O, be it heard / Through weight of life -- the skylark's gravity -- / That I am not a feather, but a bird."

Alice Meynell, "The Laws of Verse," Last Poems of Alice Meynell (1923)

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"O travelers swift / From secrets to oblivion! Waters wild / That pass in act to bend a flower, or lift / The bright limbs of a child!"

Alice Meynell, "Rivers Unknown to Song," Last Poems of Alice Meynell (1923)

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"Straitened and serious elder daughter of her time, she swept the house of literature ... Encumbered by this drift and refuse of English, Charlotte Brontë yet achieved the miracle of her vocabulary. It is less wonderful that she should have appeared out of such a parsonage than that she should have arisen out of such a language."

Alice Meynell, "The Brontës," Essays of Today and Yesterday (1926)

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Alice Meynell, English poet, essayist, critic
(1847 - 1922)

Full name:Alice Christiana Gertrude Thompson Meynell