Lines On A Picture Of A Girl In The Attitude Of Prayer
by Thomas Campbell
By the Artist Gruse, in the possession of Lady Stepney.
Was man e'er doom'd that beauty made
By mimic heart should haunt him;
Like Orpheus, I adore a shade,
And dote upon a phantom.
Thou maid that in my inmost thought
Art fancifully sainted,
Why liv'st thou not -- why art thou nought
But canvas sweetly painted?
Whose looks seem lifted to the skies,
Too pure for love of mortals --
As if they drew angelic eyes
To greet thee at heaven's portals.
Yet loveliness has here no grace,
Abstracted or ideal --
Art ne'er but from a living face
Drew looks so seeming real.
What wert thou, maid? -- thy life -- thy name.
Oblivion hides in mystery;
Though from thy face my heart could frame
A long romantic history.
Transported to thy time I seem,
Though dust thy coffin covers --
And hear the songs, in fancy's dream,
Of thy devoted lovers.
How witching must have been thy breath --
How sweet the living charmer --
Whose every semblance after death
Can make the heart grow warmer!
Adieu, the charms that vainly move
My soul in their possession --
That prompt my lips to speak of love,
Yet rob them of expression.
Yet thee, dear picture, to have praised
Was but a poet's duty;
And shame to him that ever gazed
Impassive on thy beauty.
Source:The Poetical Works Of Thomas Campbell
Little, Brown, And Company, Boston