When painters would by art
Beauty in unloveliness,
Thee, Herodias’ daughter, thee,
They fittest subject take to be.
They give thy form and features grace;
But ever in thy beauteous face
They show a steadfast cruel gaze,
An eye unpitying; and amaze
In all beholders deep they mark,
That thou betrayest not one spark
Of feeling for the ruthless deed,
That did thy praiseful dance succeed.
For on the head they make you look,
As if a sullen joy you took,
A cruel triumph, wicked pride,
That for your sport a saint had died.
* * * * *
SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF TWO FEMALES BY LIONARDO DA VINCI.
The lady Blanch, regardless of all her
To the Urs’line convent hastens, and long the Abbess hears,
“O Blanch, my child, repent ye of the courtly life ye lead.”
Blanch look’d on a rose-bud and little seem’d to heed.
She look’d on the rose-bud, she look’d round, and thought
On all her heart had whisper’d, and all the Nun had taught.
“I am worshipp’d by lovers, and brightly shines my fame,
All Christendom resoundeth the noble Blanch’s name.
Nor shall I quickly wither like the rose-bud from the tree,
My queen-like graces shining when my beauty’s gone from me.
But when the sculptured marble is rais’d o’er my head,
And the matchless Blanch lies lifeless among the noble dead,
This saintly lady Abbess hath made me justly fear,
It nothing will avail me that I were worshipp’d here.”
* * * * *
ON THE SAME PICTURE BEING REMOVED TO MAKE PLACE FOR A PORTRAIT OF A LADY BY TITIAN.
Who art thou, fair one, who usurp’st
Of Blanch, the lady of the matchless grace?
Come, fair and pretty, tell to me,
Who, in thy lifetime, thou might’st be.
Thou pretty art and fair,
But with the lady Blanch thou never must compare.
No need for Blanch her history to tell;
Whoever saw her face, they there did read it well.
But when I look on thee, I only know
There lived a pretty maid some hundred years ago.
* * * * *
ON THE CELEBRATED PICTURE BY LIONARDO DA VINCI, CALLED THE VIRGIN OF THE ROCKS.
While young John runs to greet
The greater Infant’s feet,
The Mother standing by, with trembling passion
Of devout admiration,
Beholds the engaging mystic play, and pretty adoration;
Nor knows as yet the full event
Of those so low beginnings,
From whence we date our winnings,
But wonders at the intent
Of those new rites, and what that strange