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Best Famous Amy Levy Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Amy Levy poems. This is a select list of the best famous Amy Levy poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Amy Levy poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Amy Levy poems.

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Written by Amy Levy |

Oh Is It Love?

 O is it Love or is it Fame,
This thing for which I sigh?
Or has it then no earthly name
For men to call it by?

I know not what can ease my pains,
Nor what it is I wish;
The passion at my heart-strings strains
Like a tiger in a leash.

Written by Amy Levy |

On the Threshold

 O God, my dream! I dreamed that you were dead;
Your mother hung above the couch and wept
Whereon you lay all white, and garlanded
With blooms of waxen whiteness.
I had crept Up to your chamber-door, which stood ajar, And in the doorway watched you from afar, Nor dared advance to kiss your lips and brow.
I had no part nor lot in you, as now; Death had not broken between us the old bar; Nor torn from out my heart the old, cold sense Of your misprision and my impotence.

Written by Amy Levy |

A Farewell

 (After Heine.
) The sad rain falls from Heaven, A sad bird pipes and sings ; I am sitting here at my window And watching the spires of "King's.
" O fairest of all fair places, Sweetest of all sweet towns! With the birds, and the greyness and greenness, And the men in caps and gowns.
All they that dwell within thee, To leave are ever loth, For one man gets friends, and another Gets honour, and one gets both.
The sad rain falls from Heaven; My heart is great with woe-- I have neither a friend nor honour, Yet I am sorry to go.

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Written by Amy Levy |

Between the Showers

 Between the showers I went my way,
The glistening street was bright with flowers;
It seemed that March had turned to May
Between the showers.
Above the shining roofs and towers The blue broke forth athwart the grey; Birds carolled in their leafless bowers.
Hither and tither, swift and gay, The people chased the changeful hours; And you, you passed and smiled that day, Between the showers.

Written by Amy Levy |

Felo de Se

 With Apologies to Mr.
For repose I have sighed and have struggled ; have sigh'd and have struggled in vain; I am held in the Circle of Being and caught in the Circle of Pain.
I was wan and weary with life ; my sick soul yearned for death; I was weary of women and war and the sea and the wind's wild breath; I cull'd sweet poppies and crush'd them, the blood ran rich and red:-- And I cast it in crystal chalice and drank of it till I was dead.
And the mould of the man was mute, pulseless in ev'ry part, The long limbs lay on the sand with an eagle eating the heart.
Repose for the rotting head and peace for the putrid breast, But for that which is 'I' indeed the gods have decreed no rest; No rest but an endless aching, a sorrow which grows amain:-- I am caught in the Circle of Being and held in the Circle of Pain.
Bitter indeed is Life, and bitter of Life the breath, But give me Life and its ways and its men, if this be Death.
Wearied I once of the Sun and the voices which clamour'd around: Give them me back--in the sightless depths there is neither light nor sound.
Sick is my soul, and sad and feeble and faint as it felt When (far, dim day) in the fair flesh-fane of the body it dwelt.
But then I could run to the shore, weeping and weary and weak; See the waves' blue sheen and feel the breath of the breeze on my cheek: Could wail with the wailing wind; strike sharply the hands in despair; Could shriek with the shrieking blast, grow frenzied and tear the hair; Could fight fierce fights with the foe or clutch at a human hand; And weary could lie at length on the soft, sweet, saffron sand.
I have neither a voice nor hands, nor any friend nor a foe; I am I--just a Pulse of Pain--I am I, that is all I know.
For Life, and the sickness of Life, and Death and desire to die;-- They have passed away like the smoke, here is nothing but Pain and I.

Written by Amy Levy |

In a Minor Key

) That was love that I had before Years ago, when my heart was young; Ev'ry smile was a gem you wore; Ev'ry word was a sweet song sung.
You came--all my pulses burn'd and beat.
(O sweet wild throbs of an early day!) You went--with the last dear sound of your feet The light wax'd dim and the place grew grey.
And I us'd to pace with a stealthy tread By a certain house which is under a hill; A cottage stands near, wall'd white, roof'd red-- Tall trees grow thick--I can see it still! How I us'd to watch with a hope that was fear For the least swift glimpse of your gown's dear fold! (You wore blue gowns in those days, my dear-- One light for summer, one dark for cold.
) Tears and verses I shed for you in show'rs; I would have staked my soul for a kiss; Tribute daily I brought you of flow'rs, Rose, lily, your favourite eucharis.
There came a day we were doomed to part; There's a queer, small gate at the foot of a slope: We parted there--and I thought my heart Had parted for ever from love and hope.
* * * * Is it love that I have to-day? Love, that bloom'd early, has it bloom'd late For me, that, clothed in my spirit's grey, Sit in the stillness and stare at Fate? Song nor sonnet for you I've penned, Nor passionate paced by your home's wide wall I have brought you never a flow'r, my friend, Never a tear for your sake let fall.
And yet--and yet--ah, who understands? We men and women are complex things! A hundred tunes Fate's inexorable hands May play on the sensitive soul-strings.
Webs of strange patterns we weave (each owns) From colour and sound; and like unto these, Soul has its tones and its semitones, Mind has its major and minor keys.
Your face (men pass it without a word) It haunts my dreams like an odd, sweet strain; When your name is spoken my soul is stirr'd In its deepest depths with a dull, dim pain.
I paced, in the damp grey mist, last night In the streets (an hour) to see you pass: Yet I do not think that I love you--quite; What's felt so finely 'twere coarse to class.
And yet--and yet--I scarce can tell why (As I said, we are riddles and hard to read), If the world went ill with you, and I Could help with a hidden hand your need; But, ere I could reach you where you lay, Must strength and substance and honour spend; Journey long journeys by night and day-- Somehow, I think I should come, my friend!

Written by Amy Levy |

In the Black Forest

 I lay beneath the pine trees,
And looked aloft, where, through
The dusky, clustered tree-tops,
Gleamed rent, gay rifts of blue.
I shut my eyes, and a fancy Fluttered my sense around: "I lie here dead and buried, And this is churchyard ground.
"I am at rest for ever; Ended the stress and strife.
" Straight I fell to and sorrowed For the pitiful past life.
Right wronged, and knowledge wasted; Wise labour spurned for ease; The sloth and the sin and the failure; Did I grow sad for these? They had made me sad so often; Not now they made me sad; My heart was full of sorrow For joy it never had.

Written by Amy Levy |


 Ere all the world had grown so drear,
When I was young and you were here,
'Mid summer roses in summer weather,
What pleasant times we've had together!

We were not Phyllis, simple-sweet,
And Corydon; we did not meet
By brook or meadow, but among
A Philistine and flippant throng

Which much we scorned; (less rigorous
It had no scorn at all for us!)
How many an eve of sweet July,
Heedless of Mrs.
Grundy's eye, We've scaled the stairway's topmost height, And sat there talking half the night; And, gazing on the crowd below, Thanked Fate and Heaven that made us so;-- To hold the pure delights of brain Above light loves and sweet champagne.
For, you and I, we did eschew The egoistic "I" and "you;" And all our observations ran On Art and Letters, Life and Man.
Proudly we sat, we two, on high, Throned in our Objectivity; Scarce friends, not lovers (each avers), But sexless, safe Philosophers.
* * * * * * * Dear Friend, you must not deem me light If, as I lie and muse to-night, I give a smile and not a sigh To thoughts of our Philosophy.

Written by Amy Levy |

The End of the Day

 To B.
Dead-tired, dog-tired, as the vivid day Fails and slackens and fades away.
-- The sky that was so blue before With sudden clouds is shrouded o'er.
Swiftly, stilly the mists uprise, Till blurred and grey the landscape lies.
* * * * * * * All day we have plied the oar; all day Eager and keen have said our say On life and death, on love and art, On good or ill at Nature's heart.
Now, grown so tired, we scarce can lift The lazy oars, but onward drift.
And the silence is only stirred Here and there by a broken word.
* * * * * * * O, sweeter far than strain and stress Is the slow, creeping weariness.
And better far than thought I find The drowsy blankness of the mind.
More than all joys of soul or sense Is this divine indifference; Where grief a shadow grows to be, And peace a possibility.

Written by Amy Levy |

The Lost Friend

 The people take the thing of course,
They marvel not to see
This strange, unnatural divorce
Betwixt delight and me.
I know the face of sorrow, and I know Her voice with all its varied cadences; Which way she turns and treads; how at her ease Things fit her dreary largess to bestow.
Where sorrow long abides, some be that grow To hold her dear, but I am not of these; Joy is my friend, not sorrow; by strange seas, In some far land we wandered, long ago.
O faith, long tried, that knows no faltering! O vanished treasure of her hands and face!-- Beloved--to whose memory I cling, Unmoved within my heart she holds her place.
And never shall I hail that other "friend," Who yet shall dog my footsteps to the end.

Written by Amy Levy |

The Old House

 In through the porch and up the silent stair;
Little is changed, I know so well the ways;--
Here, the dead came to meet me; it was there
The dream was dreamed in unforgotten days.
But who is this that hurries on before, A flitting shade the brooding shades among?-- She turned,--I saw her face,--O God, it wore The face I used to wear when I was young! I thought my spirit and my heart were tamed To deadness; dead the pangs that agonise.
The old grief springs to choke me,--I am shamed Before that little ghost with eager eyes.
O turn away, let her not see, not know! How should she bear it, how should understand? O hasten down the stairway, haste and go, And leave her dreaming in the silent land.

Written by Amy Levy |

Ralph to Mary

 Love, you have led me to the strand,
Here, where the stilly, sunset sea,
Ever receding silently,
Lays bare a shining stretch of sand;

Which, as we tread, in waving line,
Sinks softly 'neath our moving feet;
And looking down our glances meet,
Two mirrored figures--yours and mine.
To-night you found me sad, alone, Amid the noisy, empty books And drew me forth with those sweet looks, And gentle ways which are your own.
The glory of the setting sun Has sway'd and softened all my mood; This wayward heart you understood, Dear love, as you have always done.
Have you forgot the poet wild, Who sang rebellious songs and hurl'd His fierce anathemas at 'the world,' Which shrugg'd its shoulders, pass'd and smil'd? Who fled in wrath to distant lands, And sitting, thron'd upon a steep, Made music to the mighty deep, And thought, 'Perhaps it understands.
' Who back return'd, a wanderer drear, Urged by the spirit's restless pain, Sang his wild melodies in vain-- Sang them to ears that would not hear.
A weary, lonely thing he flies, His soul's fire with soul's hunger quell'd, Till, sudden turning, he beheld His meaning--mirrored in your eyes! .
Ah, Love, since then have passed away Long years ; some things are chang'd on earth; Men say that poet had his worth, And twine for him the tardy bay.
What care I, so that hand in hand, And heart in heart we pace the shore? My heart desireth nothing more, We understand,--we understand.

Written by Amy Levy |

Last Words

 Dead! all's done with!
-- R.
These blossoms that I bring, This song that here I sing, These tears that now I shed, I give unto the dead.
There is no more to be done, Nothing beneath the sun, All the long ages through, Nothing--by me for you.
The tale is told to the end; This, ev'n, I may not know-- If we were friend and friend, If we were foe and foe.
All's done with utterly, All's done with.
Death to me Was ever Death indeed; To me no kindly creed Consolatory was given.
You were of earth, not Heaven.
This dreary day, things seem Vain shadows in a dream, Or some strange, pictured show; And mine own tears that flow, My hidden tears that fall, The vainest of them all.

Written by Amy Levy |

London in July

 What ails my senses thus to cheat?
What is it ails the place,
That all the people in the street
Should wear one woman's face?

The London trees are dusty-brown
Beneath the summer sky;
My love, she dwells in London town,
Nor leaves it in July.
O various and intricate maze, Wide waste of square and street; Where, missing through unnumbered days, We twain at last may meet! And who cries out on crowd and mart? Who prates of stream and sea? The summer in the city's heart-- That is enough for me.

Written by Amy Levy |

London Poets

 (In Memoriam.
) They trod the streets and squares where now I tread, With weary hearts, a little while ago; When, thin and grey, the melancholy snow Clung to the leafless branches overhead; Or when the smoke-veiled sky grew stormy-red In autumn; with a re-arisen woe Wrestled, what time the passionate spring winds blow; And paced scorched stones in summer:--they are dead.
The sorrow of their souls to them did seem As real as mine to me, as permanent.
To-day, it is the shadow of a dream, The half-forgotten breath of breezes spent.
So shall another soothe his woe supreme-- "No more he comes, who this way came and went.