To Lallie (Outside the British Museum)

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Amy Levy

UP those Museum steps you came,
And straightway all my blood was flame,
               O Lallie, Lallie !

The world (I had been feeling low)
In one short moment's space did grow
               A happy valley.

There was a friend, my friend with you ;
A meagre dame, in peacock blue
               Apparelled quaintly :

This poet-heart went pit-a-pat ;
I bowed and smiled and raised my hat ;
               You nodded—faintly.

My heart was full as full could be ;
You had not got a word for me,
               Not one short greeting ;

That nonchalant small nod you gave
(The tyrant's motion to the slave)
               Sole mark'd our meeting.

Is it so long ? Do you forget
That first and last time that we met ?
               The time was summer ;

The trees were green ; the sky was blue ;
Our host presented me to you—
               A tardy comer.

You look'd demure, but when you spoke
You made a little, funny joke,
               Yet half pathetic.

Your gown was grey, I recollect,
I think you patronized the sect
               They call "aesthetic."

I brought you strawberries and cream,
I plied you long about a stream
              With duckweed laden ;

We solemnly discussed the—heat.
I found you shy and very sweet,
               A rosebud maiden.

Ah me, to-day! You passed inside
To where the marble gods abide :
               Hermes, Apollo,

Sweet Aphrodite, Pan ; and where,
For aye reclined, a headless fair
               Beats all fairs hollow

And I, I went upon my way,
Well—rather sadder, let us say ;
               The world looked flatter.

I had been sad enough before,
A little less, a little more,
               What does it matter ?

Title of volume of first printing
A Minor Poet and Other Verse
T. Fisher Unwin
Page numbers in original volume