Biography of Muriel Stuart
Muriel Stuart (1885, Norbury, South London - 1967) The daughter of a Scottish barrister, was a poet, particularly concerned with the topic of sexual politics, though she first wrote poems about World War I. She later gave up poetry writing; her last work was published in the 1930s. She was born Muriel Stuart Irwin.
She was hailed by Hugh MacDiarmid as the best woman poet of the Scottish Renaissance although she was not Scottish, but English. Despite this, his comment led to her inclusion in many Scottish anthologies. Thomas Hardy described her poetry as "Superlatively good".
Her most famous poem "In the Orchard" is entirely dialogs and in no kind of verse form, which makes it innovative for its time. She does use rhyme: a mixture of half-rhyme and rhyming couplets (a,b,a,b form)
Other famous poems of hers are "The Seed Shop", "The Fools" and "Man and his Makers"
Muriel also wrote a gardeninonbg book called Gardener's Nightcap (1938) which was later reprinted by Persephone Books:.
She died on 18th December 1967.
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Muriel Stuart Poems
In the Orchard
'I thought you loved me.' 'No, it was only fun.' 'When we stood there, closer than all?' 'Well, the harvest moon Was shining and queer in your hair, and it turned my head.' 'That made you?' 'Yes.' 'Just the moon and the light it made
Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie, Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand, Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry - Meadows and gardens running through my hand.
At a Life's End
COME here, rekindle the old fire, This last night leave no lamp unlit! In later days we twain shall sit, Remembering the joys of it,--
A Song for Old Love
There shall be a song for both of us that day Though fools say you have long outlived your songs, And when, perhaps, because your hair is grey,
WHEN, on an empty night in later years Thou ponderest over sorrowful sweet things, While troubling with cold hands the muted strings Of Memory's lute now silent in thine ears,
Christ at Carnival
THE hand of carnival was at my door, I listened to its knocking, and sped down: Faith was forgotten, Duty led no more: I heard a wonton revelry in the town;
ASK not my pardon! For if one hath need Once to forgive the god that he hath raised, No further creed Can that god give; but 'neath the soul who praised
IN days of ancient history Who were you? Tell me if you know. Between your kisses answer me To-night, Chicot.
Ave et Vale
FAREWELL is said! Yea, but I cannot take All that my Greeting gave. In you hath Hope her doom and Joy her grave; Still you go crowned with old imaginings,
CHANGE shall accustom me in after years To kingdom's builded on life's overthrow; Onward with other poets I shall go, Unpraised of thee. though praised of all my peers,
Forgotten Dead, I Salute You
Dawn has flashed up the startled skies, Night has gone out beneath the hill Many sweet times; before our eyes Dawn makes and unmakes about us still
Men wondered why I loved you, and none guessed How sweet your slow, divine stupidity, Your look of earth, your sense of drowsy rest,
Mrs. Effingham's Swan Song
I am growing old: I have kept youth too long, But I dare not let them know it now. I have done the heart of youth a grievous wrong,
Round them a fierce, wide, crazy noon Heaves with crushed lips and glowing sides Against the huge and drowsy sun.
MOST blessed one, how can I let thee go?
Canst thou forswear the nightingale its tune--
Stay the young sea from following his moon--
Bid hyacinth put out her blue light? Oh,
Thou art not mine but Me! and being so
How canst thou bid my year stop short of June,
Or hold my feet from following thine so soon,
Or bid me build on Heaven's overthrow?
Nay, how can I put off thy presence? Where