Ballade of an Omnibus

Original Text: 
Amy Levy, A London Plane-Tree and other Verse (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1889), pp. 21-22. PR 4886 L25L6 Robarts Library.
      "To see my love suffices me."
                         --Ballades in Blue China.
1SOME men to carriages aspire;
3Some seek a fly, on job or hire;
4Some mount the trotting steed, elate.
5I envy not the rich and great,
6A wandering minstrel, poor and free,
7I am contented with my fate --
8An omnibus suffices me.
9In winter days of rain and mire
10I find within a corner strait;
11The 'busmen know me and my lyre
13When summer comes, I mount in state
14The topmost summit, whence I see
16An omnibus suffices me.
17I mark, untroubled by desire,
19The scene whereof I cannot tire,
20The human tale of love and hate,
21The city pageant, early and late
22Unfolds itself, rolls by, to be
23A pleasure deep and delicate.
24An omnibus suffices me.
25Princess, your splendour you require,
26I, my simplicity; agree
27Neither to rate lower nor higher.
28An omnibus suffices me.


2] hansoms: small two-wheeled covered carriage. Back to Line
12] Brompton: street running from South Kensington station to Hyde Park and Knightsbridge station today. The location of the Bull-and-Gate, likely a pub, is not known. Back to Line
15] Crœsus: wealthy king of Lydia (560-546 BC). Back to Line
18] Lucullus' phaeton: Lucius Licinius Lucullus (born ca. 110 BC), consul of Rome, leader of war against Mithridates, and very wealthy, could have afforded a phaeton, a light four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.