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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Alice Meynell 1847–1922

The Modern Poet


I COME from nothing; but from where

Come the undying thoughts I bear?

Down, through long links of death and birth,

From the past poets of the earth.

My immortality is there.

I am like the blossom of an hour.

But long, long vanished sun and shower

Awoke my breath i’ the young world’s air.

I track the past back everywhere

Through seed and flower and seed and flower.

Or I am like a stream that flows

Full of the cold springs that arose

In morning lands, in distant hills;

And down the plain my channel fills

With melting of forgotten snows.

Voices I have not heard possessed

My own fresh songs; my thoughts are blessed

With relics of the far unknown;

And mixed with memories not my own

The sweet streams throng into my breast.

Before this life began to be,

The happy songs that wake in me

Woke long ago, and far apart

Heavily on this little heart

Presses this immortality.