Essays

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Transcribed from the 1914 Burns & Oates edition by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk Essays by Alice Meynell Contents: WINDS AND WATERS Ceres' Runaway Wells Rain The Tow Path The Tethered Constellations Rushes and Reeds IN A BOOK ROOM A Northern Fancy Pathos Anima Pellegrina! A Point of Biography The Honours of Mortality Composure The Little Language A Counterchange Harlequin Mercutio COMMENTARIES Laughter The Rhythm of Life Domus Angusta Innocence and Experience The Hours of Sleep Solitude Decivilized WAYFARING The Spirit of Place Popular Burlesque Have Patience, Little Saint At Monastery Gates The Sea Wall ARTS Tithonus Symmetry and Incident The Plaid The Flower Unstable Equilibrium Victorian Caricature The Point of Honour "THE CHEARFUL LADIE OF THE LIGHT" The Colour of Life The Horizon In July Cloud Shadows WOMEN AND BOOKS The Seventeenth Century Mrs. Dingley Prue Mrs. Johnson Madame Roland "THE DARLING YOUNG" Fellow Travellers with a Bird The Child of Tumult The Child of Subsiding Tumult The Unready That Pretty Person Under the Early Stars The Illusion of Historic Time CERES' RUNAWAY One can hardly be dull possessing the pleasant imaginary picture of a Municipality hot in chase of a wild crop--at least while the charming quarry escapes, as it does in Rome. The Municipality does not exist that would be nimble enough to overtake the Roman growth of green in the high places of the city. It is true that there have been the famous captures--those in the Colosseum, and in the Baths of Caracalla; moreover a less conspicuous running to earth takes place on the Appian Way, in some miles of the solitude of the Campagna, where men are employed in weeding the roadside. They slowly uproot the grass and lay it on the ancient stones--rows of little corpses--for sweeping up, as at Upper Tooting; one wonders why. The governors of the city will not succeed in making the Via Appia look busy, or its stripped stones suggestive of a thriving commerce. Again, at the cemetery within the now torn and shattered Aurelian wall by the Porta San Paolo, they are often mowing of buttercups. "A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread," says Shelley, whose child lies between Keats and the pyramid. But a couple of active scythes are kept at work there summer and spring--not that the grass is long, for it is much overtopped by the bee-orchis, but because flowers are not to laugh within reach of the civic vigilance. Yet, except that it is overtaken and put to death in these accessible places, the wild summer growth of Rome has a prevailing success and victory. It breaks all bounds, flies to the summits, lodges in the sun, swings in the wind, takes wing to find the remotest ledges, and blooms aloft. It makes light of the sixteenth century, of the seventeenth, and of the eighteenth. As the historic ages grow cold it banters them alike.

Alice Meynell

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