(Amy Levy)

In a Minor Key


That was love that I had before
Years ago, when my heart was young;
Evry smile was a gem you wore;
Evry word was a sweet song sung.

You came--all my pulses burnd and beat.
(O sweet wild throbs of an early day!)
You went--with the last dear sound of your feet
The light waxd dim and the place grew grey.

And I usd to pace with a stealthy tread
By a certain house which is under a hill;
A cottage stands near, walld white, roofd red--
Tall trees grow thick--I can see it still!

How I usd to watch with a hope that was fear
For the least swift glimpse of your gowns dear fold!
(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 showrs;
I would have staked my soul for a kiss;
Tribute daily I brought you of flowrs,
Rose, lily, your favourite eucharis.

There came a day we were doomed to part;
Theres 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 bloomd early, has it bloomd late
For me, that, clothed in my spirits grey,
Sit in the stillness and stare at Fate?

Song nor sonnet for you Ive penned,
Nor passionate paced by your homes wide wall
I have brought you never a flowr, 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 Fates inexorable hands
May play on the sensitive soul-strings.

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 stirrd
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;
Whats 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!

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