Sir Thomas Lawrence


ST art, the stars above Were fated on thy birth to shine;

Oh, born of beauty and of love,

What early poetry was thine!

The softness of Ionian

Upon Ionian summer lay,

One planet gave its vesper light,

Enough to guide a lover's way;

And gave the fountain as it

The semblance of a silvery shower,

And as its waters fell, they madeA music meet for such an hour;

That, and the tones the gentle

Won from the leaf, as from a lute,

In natural melody combined,

Now that all ruder sound was mute;

And odours floated on the air,

As many a nymph had just

The wreath that bound their raven hair,

And flung the fragrant tresses round.

Pillowed on violet leaves, which

Filled the sweet chamber with their sighs,

Lulled by the lyre's low notes to rest,

A Grecian youth in slumber lies;

And at his side a maiden stands,

The dark hair braided on her brow,

The lute within her slender hands,

But hushed is all its music now.

She would not wake him from his dreams,

Although she has so much to say,

Although the morning's earliest

Will see her warrior torn away.

How fond and earnest is the

Upon these sleeping features thrown,

She who yet never dared to

Her timid eyes to meet his own.

She bends her lover's rest above,

Thoughtful with gentle hopes and fears,

And that unutterable

Which never yet spoke but in tears;

She would not that those tears should

Upon the cherished sleeper's face,

She turns, and sees upon the

Its imaged shade, its perfect grace;

With eager hand she marked each line,

The shadowy brow, the arching head,

Till some creative power divine,

Love's likeness o'er love's shadow spread:

Since then, what passion and what

Has dwelt upon the painter's art;

How has it soothed the absent hour,

With looks that wear life's loveliest part.

Oh, painter of our English isle,

Whose name is now upon my line,

Who gave to beauty's blush and

All that could make them most divine;

The fair Ionian's ancient

Was never paid, till paid by thee,

And thou didst honour to her name,

By showing what her sex can be.

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