Louise Imogen Guiney
Biography of Louise Imogen Guiney
Born on January 7, 1861, in Roxbury (now part of Boston), Massachusetts,
Louise Guiney was educated at Elmhurst, a convent school in Providence, Rhode Island.
To help support her family she began contributing to various newspapers and magazines. Her poems, collected in Songs at the Start (1884) and The White Sail and Other Poems (1887), and her essays, collected in Goose Quill Papers (1885), soon attracted the attention of the Boston literary establishment, and the verse in A Roadside Harp (1893) and the essays in Monsieur Henri (1892), A Little English Gallery (1894), and Patrins (1897) brought her to the center of aesthetic life in Boston.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Thomas W. Higginson, and Edmund Clarence Stedman were among her friends and patrons, and on visits to England in the 1890s she met Edmund Gosse, W.B. Yeats, and others. A walking tour of England with her friend Alice Brown in 1895 led to their collaboration on Robert Louis Stevenson--A Study (1895). Her own models in literature were chiefly William Hazlitt and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
When, toward the end of the 1890s, her health and her muse both deserted her, Guiney turned to scholarship, concentrating mainly on the Cavalier poets (a group of mid-17th century English gentlemen poets). From 1901 she lived happily in England. Her later books included England and Yesterday (1898), Martyr's Idyll and Shorter Poems (1899), Hurrell Froude (1904), Robert Emmet--His Rebellion and His Romance (1904), The Blessed Edmund Campion (1908), and Happy Ending (1909, revised 1927), her collected verse.
She died at her home in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, England, on November 2, 1920. Her unfinished anthology of Catholic poets from Sir Thomas More to Alexander Pope, prepared in collaboration with Geoffrey Bliss, was published as Recusant Poets in 1939.
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Louise Imogen Guiney Poems
Irish Peasant Song
I try to knead and spin, but my life is low the while. Oh, I long to be alone, and walk abroad a mile; Yet if I walk alone, and think of naught at all, Why from me that's young should the wild tears fall?
Among The Flags
In Doric Hall, Massachussetts State House Dear witnesses, all-luminous, eloquent, Stacked thickly on the tessellated floor!
Open, Time, and let him pass Shortly where his feet would be! Like a leaf at Michaelmas Swooning from the tree,
A Song Of The Lilac
Above the wall that's broken, And from the coppice thinned, So sacred and so sweet The lilac in the wind!
A man said unto his Angel: "My spirits are fallen low, And I cannot carry this battle: O brother! where might I go?
I We chose the faint chill morning, friend and friend, Pacing the twilight out beneath an oak,
Ode For A Master Mariner Ashore
THERE in his room, whene’er the moon looks in, And silvers now a shell, and now a fin, And o’er his chart glides like an argosy,
High-hearted Surrey! I do love your ways, Venturous, frank, romantic, vehement, All with inviolate honor sealed and blent, To the axe-edge that cleft your soldier-bays:
GOOD oars, for Arnold’s sake, By Laleham lightly bound, And near the bank, O soft, Darling swan!
SUCH natural debts of love our Oxford knows, So many ancient dues undesecrate, I marvel how the landmark of a hate
Waiting on Him who knows us and our need, Most need have we to dare not, nor desire, But as He giveth, softly to suspire Against His gift, with no inglorious greed,
A Seventeenth-Century Song
She alone of Shepherdesses With her blue disdayning eyes, Wo'd not hark a Kyng that dresses All his lute in sighes:
On First Entering Westminster Abbey
Thabor of England! since my light is short And faint, O rather by the sun anew Of timeless passion set my dial true, That with thy saints and thee I may consort,
The Lights Of London
The evenfall, so slow on hills, hath shot Far down into the valley's cold extreme, Untimely midnight; spire and roof and stream Like fleeing spectres, shudder and are not.
A man said unto his Angel:
"My spirits are fallen low,
And I cannot carry this battle:
O brother! where might I go?
"The terrible Kings are on me
With spears that are deadly bright;
Against me so from the cradle
Do fate and my fathers fight."