Alice Meynell wrote a poem about a summer she had experienced. This poem, The rainy summer, is part of the book The Oxford Book of twentieth century English verse by Philip Larkin.
About Alice Meynell
Alice Meynell (born: Alice Christiana Gertrude Meynell, 1847 – 1922) was not only a writer. She was also an editor, critic and suffragist. She wrote some beautiful poems.
On November 27 1922, Meynell lived her last day. She was suffering from migraine and depression. This day marked her last day on this Earth. Her life began as one of the Thompson children, who was born in London. Her parents – Thomas James and Christiana Thompson, moved a lot during her childhood. She was raised in England, Switzerland, France and Italy. Her father was a close friend to Charles Dickens. Dickens might have taken a romantic interest in her mother, so Meynell claimed in her biography.
In 1875, Meynell published her first collection of poems entitled Preludes. The illustrations were made by her sister – Elizabeth Butler (married to Sir William Francis Butler). After this book, her writings became more religious inspired.
She took the name Meynell instead of Thompson after she got married to Wilfrid Meynell in 1877. The two of them decided to live in Kensington. They both became editors for various magazines. She even found time to write for herself, as she was raising eight children.
During the time, she started supporting the poet Francis Thompson, she became acquainted with Coventry Patmore. Patmore wanted more than a friendship. Meynell decided to break with him in 1893. This was around the time, she started questioning the way that Brittan ruled the world. There were all sorts of conflicts in the colonies and this made many to believe there was need for change. Meynell was one of them. She also started thinking about women’s rights. She was elected vice-president of the Women Writer’s Suffrage League, that was founded by Cicely Hamilton. She held this position from 1908 to 1919. She decided to quit this job, as her health began to let her down more and more.
The rainy summer
There’s much afoot in heaven and earth this year;
The winds hunt up the sun, hunt up the moon,
Trouble the dubious dawn, hasten the drear
Height of threatening noon.
No breath of boughs, no breath of leaves, of fronds,
May linger or grow warm; the trees are loud;
The forest, rooted, tosses in her bonds,
And strains against the cloud.
No scents may pause within the garden-fold;
The rifled flowers are cold as ocean-shells;
Bees, humming in the storm, carry their cold
Wild honey to cold cells.
— Alice Meynell