Amy Levy (1861-1889)
(Outside the British Museum)
1UP those Museum steps you came,
2And straightway all my blood was flame,
3 O Lallie, Lallie !
4The world (I had been feeling low)
5In one short moment's space did grow
6 A happy valley.
7There was a friend, my friend, with you;
8A meagre dame in peacock blue
9 Apparelled quaintly:
10This poet-heart went pit-a-pat;
11I bowed and smiled and raised my hat;
12 You nodded--faintly.
13My heart was full as full could be;
14You had not got a word for me,
15 Not one short greeting;
16That nonchalant small nod you gave
17(The tyrant's motion to the slave)
18 Sole mark'd our meeting.
19Is it so long ? Do you forget
20That first and last time that we met?
21 The time was summer.
22The trees were green; the sky was blue;
23Our host presented me to you--
24 A tardy comer.
25You look'd demure, but when you spoke
26You made a little, funny joke,
27 Yet half pathetic.
28Your gown was grey, I recollect,
29I think you patronized the sect
30 They call "æsthetic."
31I brought you strawberries and cream,
32And plied you long about a stream
33 With duckweed laden ;
34We solemnly discussed the -- heat.
35I found you shy and very sweet,
36 A rosebud maiden.
37Ah me, to-day! You passed inside
38To where the marble gods abide:
40Sweet Aphrodite, Pan; and where,
41For aye reclined, a headless fair
42 Beats all fairs hollow.
43And I, I went upon my way,
44Well -- rather sadder, let us say;
45 The world looked flatter.
46I had been sad enough before,
47A little less, a little more,
48 What does it matter?
1] The main entrance of the British Museum faces Great Russell Street, London WC1. Set back in a great courtyard, visitors walk up a great flight of wide steps to its doors.
39] Hermes: messenger of the Greek gods.
Apollo: Greek god of music and poetry.
40] Aphrodite: Greek goddess of love.
Apollo: Greek shepherd god of pipes.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Amy Levy, A Minor Poet And other Verse, 2nd edn. (1884: London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1891), pp. 80-82. PR 4886 L25M5 Robarts Library.
First publication date:
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/23
Rhyme: aab ccb (repeating pairs of stanzas)
Other poems by Amy Levy