To Lallie

(Outside the British Museum)

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.
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:
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. Back to Line
39] Hermes: messenger of the Greek gods.
Apollo: Greek god of music and poetry. Back to Line
40] Aphrodite: Greek goddess of love.
Apollo: Greek shepherd god of pipes. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.