That tasteless shame be his, and ours the grief,
To gaze on Beauty's band without its chief:
Yet Comfort still one selfish thought imparts,
We lose the portrait, but preserve our hearts.
What can his vaulted gallery now disclose?
A garden with all flowers—except the rose;—
A fount that only wants its living stream;
A night, with every star, save Dian's beam.
Lost to our eyes the present forms shall be,
That turn from tracing them to dream of thee;30
And more on that recalled resemblance pause,
Than all he shall not force on our applause.
Long may thy yet meridian lustre shine,
With all that Virtue asks of Homage thine:
The symmetry of youth—the grace of mien—
The eye that gladdens—and the brow serene;
The glossy darkness of that clustering hair,
Which shades, yet shows that forehead more than fair!
Each glance that wins us, and the life that throws
A spell which will not let our looks repose,40
But turn to gaze again, and find anew
Some charm that well rewards another view.
These are not lessened, these are still as bright,
Albeit too dazzling for a dotard's sight;
And those must wait till ev'ry charm is gone,
To please the paltry heart that pleases none;—
That dull cold sensualist, whose sickly eye
In envious dimness passed thy portrait by;
Who racked his little spirit to combine
Its hate of Freedom's loveliness, and thine.50
May 29, 1814.
[First published in The Champion, July 31, 1814.]
- [See Conversations ... with the Countess of Blessington, 1834, P. 50.]