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Key-notes. Bevington, L. S. (Louisa Sarah), 1845–1895.
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L.S. Bevington

London C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1, Paternoster Square

page: v


TO A. W.

  • To you, first found, when out of empty days
  • My heart ached youthfully for earnest aim—
  • For sympathy with hunger of its cry—
  • For echo of its better discontent—
  • To you whom quite I reverence and trust,
  • Aimée, most patient listener, most true friend,
  • I send some key‐notes of life’s journeying moods
  • As voice on voice awakened in my soul,
  • Responsive to fresh visions and new springs.
  • Touched one by one they scarcely modulate,—
  • These several strains; no hint connects their tones;
  • This half effaces that with new intent;
  • page: vi
  • And yet the sum of them together cast
  • Makes just one questioning dissonance, such chord
  • As symbolises best unfinished life,
  • Unanswered askings, and unyielded hope;
  • But tends, prophetic, toward a tarrying close
  • In chastened minor.
  • Aimée, you have heard
  • These songs spring singly from me through the years
  • Since the fresh mornings when my spirit went
  • In girlhood’s blindness to its own unsight,
  • Thoughtful, and little learnèd, up and down
  • Among its guesses, groping for a truth
  • Half in heart hunger, half in earnest act
  • Of young thought‐energy, that needs must win
  • Its own conviction from what page of life
  • It opens at; and deems that page the whole.
  • From then, when truth alone seemed worth my will,
  • page: vii
  • Till now, when every truth seems valueless
  • Save as it fosters in the mood of man
  • The growth and fruiting of persistent good:—
  • Fair happiness that ever lifeward tends,
  • Holding affection social; nor reacts
  • In any lessened aptitude for joy:—
  • From then till now, from dawn till more than noon,
  • So far, still singing, I have found my way.
  • And there were seasons. First, the frosty chill
  • That kept the buds asleep, when theories
  • Bristled, clear out‐lined, in such lucid air
  • As breathed no breath to melt them into life.
  • Then wakening spring, when heart first questioned head,
  • And raindrops split the sunlight into hues.
  • After, those fiercer noons and lurid nights,
  • Tense with the testing of all theory;
  • page: viii
  • When many a pallid, passionless, plain truth
  • Philosophy could swear to showed obverse
  • As bloodless irony ’mong human things.
  • Later, the autumn mellowness, and fruit
  • That taught the year the meaning of her life.
  • And now, at last, a folding of the hands
  • And waiting of the will while, quietly,
  • Old loves, old certainties, old sorrows die,
  • And leave deposit softly in my soul
  • To enrich the sources of a future spring.
  • Such parable, my Aimée, gives to you
  • My clustered key‐notes, and their story too;
  • And if not quite their meaning, only so
  • Because no heart may, quite, another know.
  • Yet take them, dear, and let them tribute be
  • For the sweet, patient faithfulness you’ve shown to me.


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