Amy Levy Poems

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Amy Levy
Amy Levy (1861 1889) was a British poet and novelist. She was born in Clapham, London into a secular Jewish family. She was educated at Brighton High School, and studied at Newnham College, Cambridge; she was the first Jewish student at Newnham, when she arrived in 1879, but left after four terms. Her circle of friends included Clementina Black, Dollie Radford, Eleanor Marx (daughter of Karl Marx), and Olive Schreiner. Levy wrote stories essays and poems for periodicals, Her second novel "Reuben Sachs" (1889) was concerned with Jewish identity and mores in the England of her time (and was consequently controversial); "Reuben Sachs," her first novel "Romance of a Shop," and other writings, including the daring "Ballad of Religion and Marrriage," reveal feminist concerns. Xantippe and Other Verses (1881) includes a poem in the voice of Socrates's wife; the volume "A Minor Poet" has dramatic monologues too as well as lyric poems. Her final book of poems, "A London Plane-Tree" (1889), contains lyrics that are among the first to show the influence of French symbolism. She travelled widely in Europe and was said to have fallen in love with Violet Paget (Vernon Lee), the fiction writer and literary theorist, who was six years older than herself. She had suffered from depression from an early age which, together with her growing deafness, led her to commit suicide at the age of twenty-seven by inhaling carbon monoxide.

ich am of irlaunde
 
 
Ich am of Irlaunde
Ant of the holy londe
Of Irlande.

Gode sire, preye ich ye,... [read poem]
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