Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
Preludes (1875)
III. In Early Spring
By Alice Meynell (1847–1922)
        “L’océan connu, l’âme reste ô sonder.”

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.
Mine ear, awake to silence, can fortell        5
            The cuckoo’s fitful bell.
I wander in a grey time that encloses
            June and the wild hedge-roses.
A year’s procession of the flowers doth pass
            My feet, along the grass.        10
And all you sweet birds silent yet, I know
            The notes that stir you so,
Your songs yet half devised in the dim dear
            Beginnings of the year.
In these young days you meditate your part;        15
            I have it all by heart.
I know the secrets of the seeds of flowers
            Hidden, and warm with showers,
And how, in kindling Spring, the cuckoo shall
            Alter his interval.        20
But not a flower or song I ponder is
            My own, but memory’s.
I shall be silent in those days desired
            Before a world inspired.
O dear brown birds, compose your old song-phrases,        25
            Earth, thy familiar daisies.
The poet mused upon the dusky height,
            Between the stars towards night,
His purpose in his heart. I watched, a space,
            The meaning of his face;        30
There was the secret, fled from earth and skies,
            Hid in his grey young eyes.
My heart and all the Summer wait his choice,
            And wonder for his voice.
Who shall foretell his songs, and who aspire        35
            But to divine his lyre?
Sweet earth, we know thy dimmest mysteries,
            But he is lord of his.

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