Wit, weight, or wealth there was not
In anything that was said,
In anything that was done;
All was of scope to cause not
A triumph, dazzle, or dread
To even the subtlest one,
To even the subtlest one.
But there was a new afflation —
An aura zephyring round,
That care infected not:
It came as a salutation,
And, in my sweet astound,
I scarcely witted what
I scarcely witted what.
The hills in samewise to me
Spoke, as they grayly gazed,
—First hills to speak so yet!
The thin-edged breezes blew me
What I, though cobwebbed, crazed,
Was never to forget,
Was never to forget!
O do not praise my beauty more,
In such word-wild degree,
And say I am one all eyes adore;
For these things harass me!
But do for ever softly say:
“From now unto the end
Come weal, come wanzing, come what may,
Dear, I will be your friend.”
I hate my beauty in the glass:
My beauty is not I:
I wear it: none cares whether, alas,
Its wearer live or die!
The inner I O care for, then,
Yea, me and what I am,
And shall be at the gray hour when
My cheek begins to clam.
Note.—“The Regent Street beauty, Miss Verrey, the Swiss confectioner’s daughter, whose personal attractions have been so mischievously exaggerated, died of fever on Monday evening, brought on by the annoyance she had been for some time subject to.”—London paper, October 1828.
Fili hominis, ecce ego tollo a te desiderabile oculorum tuorom in plaga.—EZECH. xxiv. 16.
How I remember cleaning that strange picture!
I had been deep in duty for my sick neighbour —
His besides my own—over several Sundays,
Often, too, in the week; so with parish pressures,
Baptisms, burials, doctorings, conjugal counsel —
All the whatnots asked of a rural parson —
Faith, I was well-nigh broken, should have been fully
Saving for one small secret relaxation,
One that in mounting manhood had grown my hobby.
This was to delve at whiles for easel-lumber,
Stowed in the backmost slums of a soon-reached city,
Merely on chance to uncloak some worthy canvas,
Panel, or plaque, blacked blind by uncouth adventure,
Yet under all concealing a precious art-feat.
Such I had found not yet. My latest capture
Came from the rooms of a trader in ancient house-gear
Who had no scent of beauty or soul for brushcraft.
Only a tittle cost it—murked with grime-films,
Gatherings of slow years, thick-varnished over,
Never a feature manifest of man’s painting.