Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern British Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry.  1920.
 
Alice Meynell. 1850–
 
16. A Thrush Before Dawn
 
A VOICE peals in this end of night 
  A phrase of notes resembling stars, 
Single and spiritual notes of light. 
  What call they at my window-bars? 
    The South, the past, the day to be,         5
    An ancient infelicity. 
  
Darkling, deliberate, what sings 
  This wonderful one, alone, at peace? 
What wilder things than song, what things 
  Sweeter than youth, clearer than Greece,  10
    Dearer than Italy, untold 
    Delight, and freshness centuries old? 
  
And first first-loves, a multitude, 
  The exaltation of their pain; 
Ancestral childhood long renewed;  15
  And midnights of invisible rain; 
    And gardens, gardens, night and day, 
    Gardens and childhood all the way. 
  
What Middle Ages passionate, 
  O passionless voice! What distant bells  20
Lodged in the hills, what palace state 
  Illyrian! For it speaks, it tells, 
    Without desire, without dismay, 
    Some morrow and some yesterday. 
  
All-natural things! But more—Whence came  25
  This yet remoter mystery? 
How do these starry notes proclaim 
  A graver still divinity? 
    This hope, this sanctity of fear? 
    O innocent throat! O human ear!  30
 
 
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