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A Minor Poet and other Verse. Levy, Amy, 1861–1889.
page: 62

A Greek Girl.

  • I MAY not weep, not weep, and he is dead.
  • A weary, weary weight of tears unshed
  • Through the long day in my sad heart I bear ;
  • The horrid sun with all unpitying glare
  • Shines down into the dreary weaving‐room,
  • Where clangs the ceaseless clatter of the loom,
  • And ceaselessly deft maiden‐fingers weave
  • The fine‐wrought web ; and I from morn till eve
  • Work with the rest, and when folk speak to me
  • I smile hard smiles ; while still continually
  • The silly stream of maiden speech flows on :—
  • And now at length they talk of him that’s gone,
  • Lightly lamenting that he died so soon—
  • Ah me ! ere yet his life’s sun stood at noon.
  • Some praise his eyes, some deem his body fair,
  • And some mislike the colour of his hair !
  • Sweet life, sweet shape, sweet eyes, and sweetest hair,
  • What form, what hue, save Love’s own, did ye wear ?
  • I may not weep, not weep, for very shame.
page: 63
  • He loved me not. One summer’s eve he came
  • To these our halls, my father’s honoured guest,
  • And seeing me, saw not. If his lips had prest
  • My lips, but once, in love ; his eyes had sent
  • One love‐glance into mine, I had been content,
  • And deemed it great joy for one little life ;
  • Nor envied other maids the crown of wife :
  • The long sure years, the merry children‐band—
  • Alas, alas, I never touched his hand !
  • And now my love is dead that loved not me.
  • Thrice‐blest, thrice‐crowned, of gods thrice‐lovèd she—
  • That other, fairer maid, who tombward brings
  • Her gold, shorn locks and piled‐up offerings
  • Of fragrant fruits, rich wines, and spices rare,
  • And cakes with honey sweet, with saffron fair ;
  • And who, unchecked by any thought of shame,
  • May weep her tears, and call upon his name,
  • With burning bosom prest to the cold ground,
  • Knowing, indeed, that all her life is crown’d,
  • Thrice‐crowned, thrice honoured, with that love of his ;—
  • No dearer crown on earth is there, I wis.
  • While yet the sweet life lived, more light to bear
  • page: 64
  • Was my heart’s hunger ; when the morn was fair,
  • And I with other maidens in a line
  • Passed singing through the city to the shrine,
  • Oft in the streets or crowded market‐place
  • I caught swift glimpses of the dear‐known face ;
  • Or marked a stalwart shoulder in the throng ;
  • Or heard stray speeches as we passed along,
  • In tones more dear to me than any song.
  • These, hoarded up with care, and kept apart,
  • Did serve as meat and drink my hungry heart.
  • And now for ever has my sweet love gone ;
  • And weary, empty days I must drag on,
  • Till all the days of all my life be sped,
  • By no thought cheered, by no hope comforted.
  • For if indeed we meet among the shades,
  • How shall he know me from the other maids ?—
  • Me, that had died to save his body pain !
  • Alas, alas, such idle thoughts are vain !
  • O cruel, cruel sunlight, get thee gone !
  • O dear, dim shades of eve, come swiftly on !
  • That when quick lips, keen eyes, are closed in sleep,
  • Through the long night till dawn I then may weep.