The Spirit of Place and Other Essays by Alice Christiana Thompson Meynell


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Spirit of Place, 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 Spirit of Place

Author: Alice Meynell

Release Date: March 15, 2005 [eBook #1309]

Language: English

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


Transcribed from the 1899 John Lane edition by David Price, email

The Spirit of Place and Other Essays


The Spirit of Place
Mrs. Dingley
The Lady of the Lyrics
The Foot
Have Patience, Little Saint
The Ladies of the Idyll
A Derivation
A Counterchange
Letters of Marceline Valmore
The Hours of Sleep
The Horizon
Habits and Consciousness


With mimicry, with praises, with echoes, or with answers, the poets have
all but outsung the bells. The inarticulate bell has found too much
interpretation, too many rhymes professing to close with her inaccessible
utterance, and to agree with her remote tongue. The bell, like the bird,
is a musician pestered with literature.

To the bell, moreover, men do actual violence. You cannot shake together
a nightingale's notes, or strike or drive them into haste, nor can you
make a lark toll for you with intervals to suit your turn, whereas
wedding-bells are compelled to seem gay by mere movement and hustling. I
have known some grim bells, with not a single joyous note in the whole
peal, so forced to hurry for a human festival, with their harshness made
light of, as though the Bishop of Hereford had again been forced to dance
in his boots by a merry highwayman.

The clock is an inexorable but less arbitrary player than the bellringer,
and the chimes await their appointed time to fly--wild prisoners--by twos
or threes, or in greater companies. Fugitives--one or twelve taking
wing--they are sudden, they are brief, they are gone; they are delivered
from the close hands of this actual present. Not in vain is the sudden
upper door opened against the sky; they are away, hours of the past.

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