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Friday, December 16, 2011

Renouncement


Each Friday we provide the link to the blog that is hosting a celebration of poetry around the blogosphere. At that site you can find the links to the many other blogs that are posting poems (new and old), discussions of poems, and reviews of poetry books.

Enjoy the festivities!

The host this week is Kate Coombs. You can visit her here at Book Aunt.


(Alice Meynell by John Singer
Sargent, 1856-1925, American
portrait painter)

Alice Meynell (1847-1922) was an English journalist, suffragette, and poet. She was so respected for her poetry that her name was mentioned as a possible candidate for her country’s poet laureateship.

“The disciplined spareness and surface simplicity of her poetry was unusual in a late Victorian period characterized by much poetic ornamentation. Her friend and admirer G. K. Chesterton stated that ‘she was different from most of the advanced artists of the period in the detail that she was facing the other way, and advancing in the opposite direction.’. . .

“In fact, a number of critics compared her work to that of the seventeenth-century metaphysical poets, whom she much admired. Her poetic restraint was regularly noted, as in the
Pall Mall Gazette review of Later Poems in 1901: ‘She has accustomed us to look for quality rather than quantity and we are not disappointed. The rarity of her verses, measured by the gross test of counting pages and lines, is paralleled by the uncommon beauty of the poetry they embody, and the distinction wherewith it is expressed.’” ~ F. Elizabeth Gray, in Encyclopedia of Catholic Literature, vol. II

The English poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) wrote that he thought the sonnet below is one of the finest love sonnets ever written.

RENOUNCEMENT

I must not think of thee; and, tired yet strong,
I shun the love that lurks in all delight —
The love of thee — and in the blue heaven’s height,
And in the dearest passage of a song.
O just beyond the sweetest thoughts that throng
This breast, the thought of thee waits hidden yet bright;
But it must never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.

But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away, —
With the first dream that comes with the first sleep
I run, I run, I am gather’d to thy heart.

4 comments:

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

I love reading it aloud - primarily because I don't hear this kind of language that often now (unless I watch old movies) that I relish its taste in my tongue.
Yum.

"I run, I run, I am gather'd to thy heart."

Gotta love that last line.
Thanks for sharing. :)

jama said...

Yes, a very beautiful sonnet indeed. Love the volta with its rising energy and unleashing -- "doff my will as raiment laid away"

Why hadn't I heard of Meynell before?

Robyn Hood Black said...

I hadn't heard of her either, but so delighted to be "introduced" here, Maria. The sonnet is lovely. Thank you for sharing!

Mary Lee said...

Maybe the finest love sonnet ever written in Rosetti's opinion, but I kind of go, "Meh." I like the two spunky sonnets from yesterday much better! (Especially Ostrom's!!)