Amy Levy

(1861 - 10 September 1889 / London)

Alma Mater


A haunted town thou art to me.
-- Andrew Lang


To-day in Florence all the air
Is soft with spring, with sunlight fair;
In the tall street gay folks are met;
Duomo and Tower gleam overhead,
Like jewels in the city set,
Fair-hued and many-faceted.
Against the old grey stones are piled
February violets, pale and sweet,
Whose scent of earth in woodland wild
Is wafted up and down the street.
The city's heart is glad ; my own
Sits lightly on its bosom's throne.


* * * * * * *

Why is it that I see to-day,
Imaged as clear as in a dream,
A little city far away,
A churlish sky, a sluggish stream,
Tall clust'ring trees and gardens fair,
Dark birds that circle in the air,
Grey towers and fanes ; on either hand,
Stretches of wind-swept meadow-land?


* * * * * * *

Oh, who can sound the human breast?
And this strange truth must be confessed;
That city do I love the best
Wherein my heart was heaviest!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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