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A Father of Women and other poems   By: (1847-1922)

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First Page:


by Alice Meynell

BURNS & OATES Ltd 28 Orchard Street London W 1917

To V. L.

THE CONTENTS A Father of Women Page 7 Length of Days: To the Early Dead in Battle 9 Nurse Edith Cavell 11 Summer in England, 1914 12 To Tintoretto in Venice 14 A Thrush Before Dawn 16 The Two Shakespeare Tercentenaries 18 To O—, of her Dark Eyes 19 The Treasure 20 A Wind of Clear Weather in England 22 In Sleep 23 The Divine Privilege 24 Free Will 26 The Two Questions 27 The Lord’s Prayer 29 Easter Night 30



“ Thy father was transfused into thy blood .”

Dryden : Ode to Mrs. Anne Killigrew .

Our father works in us, The daughters of his manhood. Not undone Is he, not wasted, though transmuted thus, And though he left no son.

Therefore on him I cry To arm me: “For my delicate mind a casque, A breastplate for my heart, courage to die, Of thee, captain, I ask.

“Nor strengthen only; press A finger on this violent blood and pale, Over this rash will let thy tenderness A while pause, and prevail.

“And shepherd father, thou Whose staff folded my thoughts before my birth, Control them now I am of earth, and now Thou art no more of earth.

“O liberal, constant, dear! Crush in my nature the ungenerous art Of the inferior; set me high, and here, Here garner up thy heart.”

Like to him now are they, The million living fathers of the War— Mourning the crippled world, the bitter day— Whose striplings are no more.

The crippled world! Come then, Fathers of women with your honour in trust; Approve, accept, know them daughters of men, Now that your sons are dust.


There is no length of days But yours, boys who were children once. Of old The past beset you in your childish ways, With sense of Time untold!

What have you then forgone? A history? This you had. Or memories? These, too, you had of your far distant dawn. No further dawn seems his,

The old man who shares with you, But has no more, no more. Time’s mystery Did once for him the most that it can do: He has had infancy.

And all his dreams, and all His loves for mighty Nature, sweet and few, Are but the dwindling past he can recall Of what his childhood knew.

He counts not any more His brief, his present years. But O he knows How far apart the summers were of yore, How far apart the snows.

Therefore be satisfied; Long life is in your treasury ere you fall; Yes, and first love, like Dante’s. O a bride For ever mystical!

Irrevocable good,— You dead, and now about, so young, to die,— Your childhood was; there Space, there Multitude, There dwelt Antiquity... Continue reading book >>

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