The Rhythm of Life by Alice Christiana Thompson Meynell


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Rhythm of Life, by Alice Meynell

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Rhythm of Life

Author: Alice Meynell

Release Date: March 14, 2005 [eBook #1276]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1893 John Lane edition by David Price, email

The Rhythm of Life and Other Essays


The Rhythm of Life
A Remembrance
The Sun
The Flower
Unstable Equilibrium
The Unit of the World
By the Railway Side
Pocket Vocabularies
The Point of Honour
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes
James Russell Lowell
Domus Angusta
The Lesson of Landscape
Mr. Coventry Patmore's Odes
Innocence and Experience
Penultimate Caricature


If life is not always poetical, it is at least metrical. Periodicity
rules over the mental experience of man, according to the path of the
orbit of his thoughts. Distances are not gauged, ellipses not measured,
velocities not ascertained, times not known. Nevertheless, the
recurrence is sure. What the mind suffered last week, or last year, it
does not suffer now; but it will suffer again next week or next year.
Happiness is not a matter of events; it depends upon the tides of the
mind. Disease is metrical, closing in at shorter and shorter periods
towards death, sweeping abroad at longer and longer intervals towards
recovery. Sorrow for one cause was intolerable yesterday, and will be
intolerable tomorrow; today it is easy to bear, but the cause has not
passed. Even the burden of a spiritual distress unsolved is bound to
leave the heart to a temporary peace; and remorse itself does not
remain--it returns. Gaiety takes us by a dear surprise. If we had made
a course of notes of its visits, we might have been on the watch, and
would have had an expectation instead of a discovery. No one makes such
observations; in all the diaries of students of the interior world, there
have never come to light the records of the Kepler of such cycles. But
Thomas a Kempis knew of the recurrences, if he did not measure them. In
his cell alone with the elements--'What wouldst thou more than these? for
out of these were all things made'--he learnt the stay to be found in the
depth of the hour of bitterness, and the remembrance that restrains the
soul at the coming of the moment of delight, giving it a more conscious
welcome, but presaging for it an inexorable flight. And 'rarely, rarely
comest thou,' sighed Shelley, not to Delight merely, but to the Spirit of
Delight. Delight can be compelled beforehand, called, and constrained to
our service--Ariel can be bound to a daily task; but such artificial
violence throws life out of metre, and it is not the spirit that is thus
compelled. _That_ flits upon an orbit elliptically or parabolically or
hyperbolically curved, keeping no man knows what trysts with Time.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Thu 2nd Dec 2021, 2:52