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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 |


 The lion remembers the forest,
The lion in chains;
To the bird that is captive a vision
Of woodland remains.
One strains with his strength at the fetter, In impotent rage; One flutters in flights of a moment, And beats at the cage.
If the lion were loosed from the fetter, To wander again; He would seek the wide silence and shadow Of his jungle in vain.
He would rage in his fury, destroying; Let him rage, let him roam! Shall he traverse the pitiless mountain, Or swim through the foam? If they opened the cage and the casement, And the bird flew away; He would come back at evening, heartbroken, A captive for aye.
Would come if his kindred had spared him, Free birds from afar-- There was wrought what is stronger than iron In fetter and bar.
I cannot remember my country, The land whence I came; Whence they brought me and chained me and made me Nor wild thing nor tame.
This only I know of my country, This only repeat :-- It was free as the forest, and sweeter Than woodland retreat.
When the chain shall at last be broken, The window set wide; And I step in the largeness and freedom Of sunlight outside ; Shall I wander in vain for my country? Shall I seek and not find? Shall I cry for the bars that encage me The fetters that bind?

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 Village Garden

 To E.
Here, where your garden fenced about and still is, Here, where the unmoved summer air is sweet With mixed delight of lavender and lilies, Dreaming I linger in the noontide heat.
Of many summers are the trees recorders, The turf a carpet many summers wove; Old-fashioned blossoms cluster in the borders, Love-in-a-mist and crimson-hearted clove.
All breathes of peace and sunshine in the present, All tells of bygone peace and bygone sun, Of fruitful years accomplished, budding, crescent, Of gentle seasons passing one by one.
Fain would I bide, but ever in the distance A ceaseless voice is sounding clear and low;-- The city calls me with her old persistence, The city calls me--I arise and go.
Of gentler souls this fragrant peace is guerdon; For me, the roar and hurry of the town, Wherein more lightly seems to press the burden Of individual life that weighs me down.
I leave your garden to the happier comers For whom its silent sweets are anodyne.
Shall I return? Who knows, in other summers The peace my spirit longs for may be mine?

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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 |

A Dirge

 "Mein Herz, mein Herz ist traurig
Doch lustig leuchtet der Mai"

There's May amid the meadows,
There's May amid the trees;
Her May-time note the cuckoo
Sends forth upon the breeze.
Above the rippling river May swallows skim and dart; November and December Keep watch within my heart.
The spring breathes in the breezes, The woods with wood-notes ring, And all the budding hedgerows Are fragrant of the spring.
In secret, silent places The live green things upstart; Ice-bound, ice-crown'd dwells winter For ever in my heart.
Upon the bridge I linger, Near where the lime-trees grow; Above, swart birds are circling, Beneath, the stream runs slow.
A stripling and a maiden Come wand'ring up the way; His eyes are glad with springtime, Her face is fair with May.
Of warmth the sun and sweetness All nature takes a part; The ice of all the ages Weighs down upon my heart.

Written by Amy Levy |

Ballade of a Special Edition

 He comes; I hear him up the street--
Bird of ill omen, flapping wide
The pinion of a printed sheet,
His hoarse note scares the eventide.
Of slaughter, theft, and suicide He is the herald and the friend; Now he vociferates with pride-- A double murder in Mile End! A hanging to his soul is sweet; His gloating fancy's fain to bide Where human-freighted vessels meet, And misdirected trains collide.
With Shocking Accidents supplied, He tramps the town from end to end.
How often have we heard it cried-- A double murder in Mile End.
War loves he; victory or defeat, So there be loss on either side.
His tale of horrors incomplete, Imagination's aid is tried.
Since no distinguished man has died, And since the Fates, relenting, send No great catastrophe, he's spied This double murder in Mile End.
Fiend, get thee gone! no more repeat Those sounds which do mine ears offend.
It is apocryphal, you cheat, Your double murder in Mile End.

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 |

At a Dinner Party

 With fruit and flowers the board is deckt,
The wine and laughter flow;
I'll not complain--could one expect
So dull a world to know?

You look across the fruit and flowers,
My glance your glances find.
-- It is our secret, only ours, Since all the world is blind.

Written by Amy Levy |

In September

 The sky is silver-grey; the long
Slow waves caress the shore.
-- On such a day as this I have been glad, Who shall be glad no more.

Written by Amy Levy |

A Prayer

 Since that I may not have
Love on this side the grave,
Let me imagine Love.
Since not mine is the bliss Of 'claspt hands and lips that kiss,' Let me in dreams it prove.
What tho' as the years roll No soul shall melt to my soul, Let me conceive such thing; Tho' never shall entwine Loving arms around mine Let dreams caresses bring.
To live--it is my doom-- Lonely as in a tomb, This cross on me was laid; My God, I know not why; Here in the dark I lie, Lonely, yet not afraid.
It has seemed good to Thee Still to withhold the key Which opes the way to men; I am shut in alone, I make not any moan, Thy ways are past my ken.
Yet grant me this, to find The sweetness in my mind Which I must still forego; Great God which art above, Grant me to image Love,-- The bliss without the woe.

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 |

To E.

 The mountains in fantastic lines
Sweep, blue-white, to the sky, which shines
Blue as blue gems; athwart the pines
The lake gleams blue.
We three were here, three years gone by; Our Poet, with fine-frenzied eye, You, stepped in learned lore, and I, A poet too.
Our Poet brought us books and flowers, He read us Faust; he talked for hours Philosophy (sad Schopenhauer's), Beneath the trees: And do you mind that sunny day, When he, as on the sward he lay, Told of Lassalle who bore away The false Louise? Thrice-favoured bard! to him alone That green and snug retreat was shown, Where to the vulgar herd unknown, Our pens we plied.
(For, in those distant days, it seems, We cherished sundry idle dreams, And with our flowing foolscap reams The Fates defied.
) And after, when the day was gone, And the hushed, silver night came on, He showed us where the glow-worm shone;-- We stooped to see.
There, too, by yonder moon we swore Platonic friendship o'er and o'er; No folk, we deemed, had been before So wise and free.
* * * * * * * And do I sigh or smile to-day? Dead love or dead ambition, say, Which mourn we most? Not much we weigh Platonic friends.
On you the sun is shining free; Our Poet sleeps in Italy, Beneath an alien sod; on me The cloud descends.

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 |

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.

Written by Amy Levy |


 Last June I saw your face three times;
Three times I touched your hand;
Now, as before, May month is o'er,
And June is in the land.
O many Junes shall come and go, Flow'r-footed o'er the mead; O many Junes for me, to whom Is length of days decreed.
There shall be sunlight, scent of rose; Warm mist of summer rain; Only this change--I shall not look Upon your face again.