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A Minor Poet and other Verse. Levy, Amy, 1861–1889.
page: 83

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 !
  • page: 84
  • (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.
page: 85
  • 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 !