Philosophy (1889)

Amy Levy

Ere all the world had grown so drear,
When I was young and you were here,
‘Mid summer roses in summer weather,
What pleasant times we’ve had together!

We were not Phyllis, simple-sweet,
And Corydon; we did not meet
By brook or meadow, but among
A Philistine and flippant throng

Which much we scorned; (less rigorous
It had no scorn at all for us!)
How many an eve of sweet July,
Heedless of Mrs. Grundy’s eye,

We’ve scaled the stairway’s topmost height,
And sat there talking half the night;
And, gazing on the crowd below,
Thanked Fate and Heaven that made us so;–

To hold the pure delights of brain
Above light loves and sweet champagne.
For, you and I, we did eschew
The egoistic “I” and “you;”

And all our observations ran
On Art and Letters, Life and Man.
Proudly we sat, we two, on high,
Throned in our Objectivity;

Scarce friends, not lovers (each avers),
But sexless, safe Philosophers.

Dear Friend, you must not deem me light
If, as I lie and muse to-night,
I give a smile and not a sigh
To thoughts of our Philosophy.

Learn more about the language of this poem in the
Oxford English Dictionary:

philistine  eschew  Grundy, n.3  averse, adj. and n.