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You lounged, like a boy of the South,
Cap and blouse nay, a bit of beard too;
Or you got it, rubbing your mouth
With fingers the clay adhered to.

And I


soon managed to find

Weak points in the flower-fence facing, Was forced to put up a blind

And be safe in my corset-lacing.

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If you never turned your eyes' tail up

As I shook upon E in alt.,

Or ran the chromatic scale up:


For spring bade the sparrows pair,
And the boys and girls gave guesses,
And stalls in our street looked rare
With bulrush and watercresses.


Why did not you pinch a flower
In a pellet of clay and fling it?
Why did not I put a power

Or thanks in a look, or sing it?


I did look, sharp as a lynx,

(And yet the memory rankles,) When models arrived, some minx Tripped up-stairs, she and her ankles.

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Could you say so, and never say,

"Suppose we join hands and fortunes,

And I fetch her from over the way,

Her, piano, and long tunes and short tunes"?


No, no you would not be rash,
Nor I rasher and something over:
You've to settle yet Gibson's hash,
And Grisi yet lives in clover.


But you meet the Prince at the Board,
I'm queen myself at bals-paré,
I've married a rich old lord,

And you 're dubbed knight and an R. A.


Each life unfulfilled, you see;

It hangs still, patchy and scrappy: We have not sighed deep, laughed free, Starved, feasted, despaired,


been happy.

And nobody calls you a dunce,
And people suppose me clever :
This could but have happened once,
And we missed it, lost it forever.


IF one could have that little head of hers
Painted upon a background of pale gold,
Such as the Tuscan's early art prefers!
No shade encroaching on the matchless mould
Of those two lips, which should be opening soft
In the pure profile; not as when she laughs,
For that spoils all but rather as if aloft
Yon hyacinth, she loves so, leaned its staff's
Burden of honey-colored buds to kiss
And capture 'twixt the lips apart for this.

Then her lithe neck, three fingers might surround,
How it should waver on the pale gold ground
Up to the fruit-shaped, perfect chin it lifts!
I know, Correggio loves to mass, in rifts
Of heaven, his angel faces, orb on orb

Breaking its outline, burning shades absorb :
But these are only massed there, I should think,
Waiting to see some wonder momently

Grow out, stand full, fade slow against the sky
(That's the pale ground you 'd see this sweet face by),
All heaven, meanwhile, condensed into one eye
Which fears to lose the wonder, should it wink.


SOME people hang portraits up
In a room where they dine or sup:
And the wife clinks tea-things under,
And her cousin, he stirs his cup,

Asks, "Who was the lady, I wonder? " ""T is a daub John bought at a sale,"

Quoth the wife, — looks black as thunder. "What a shade beneath her nose!

Snuff-taking, I suppose,"

Adds the cousin, while John's corns ail.

Or else, there's no wife in the case,
But the portrait 's queen of the place,
Alone 'mid the other spoils

Of youth, masks, gloves and foils,
And pipe-sticks, rose, cherry-tree, jasmine,
And the long whip, the tandem-lasher,
And the cast from a fist ("not, alas! mine,
But my master's, the Tipton Slasher "),
And the cards where pistol-balls mark ace,

And a satin shoe used for cigar-case,

And the chamois-horns (“shot in the Chablais "),
And prints Rarey drumming on Cruiser,
And Sayers, our champion, the bruiser,
And the little edition of Rabelais :

Where a friend, with both hands in his pockets,
May saunter up close to examine it,

And remark a good deal of Jane Lamb in it,
"But the eyes are half out of their sockets;
That hair's not so bad, where the gloss is,
But they've made the girl's nose a proboscis :
Jane Lamb, that we danced with at Vichy!
What, is not she Jane? Then, who is she?"

All that I own is a print,
An etching, a mezzotint;
"T is a study, a fancy, a fiction,
Yet a fact (take my conviction)
Because it has more than a hint
Of a certain face, I never

Saw elsewhere touch or trace of
In women I've seen the face of:
Just an etching, and, so far, clever.

I keep my prints, an imbroglio,
Fifty in one portfolio.

When somebody tries my claret,
We turn round chairs to the fire,
Chirp over days in a garret,
Chuckle o'er increase of salary,
Taste the good fruits of our leisure,
Talk about pencil and lyre,

And the National Portrait Gallery:

Then I exhibit my treasure.

After we've turned over twenty,

And the debt of wonder my crony owes

Is paid to my Marc Antonios,

He stops me "Festina lentè!

What's that sweet thing there, the etching?'

How my waistcoat-strings want stretching,

How my cheeks grow red as tomatos,

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How my heart leaps! But hearts, after leaps, ache.

"By the by, you must take, for a keepsake,

That other, you praised, of Volpato's."

The fool! would he try a flight further and say
He never saw, never before to-day,

What was able to take his breath


A face to lose youth for, to occupy age

With the dream of, meet death with, why, I'll not engage But that, half in a rapture and half in a rage,

I should toss him the thing's self-""T is only a duplicate, A thing of no value! Take it, I supplicate!


Now, don't, sir! Don't expose me! Just this once
This was the first and only time, I'll swear,

Look at me,

see, I kneel, the only time,
I swear, I ever cheated, yes, by the soul
Of Her who hears (your sainted mother, sir!)
All, except this last accident, was truth
This little kind of slip! and even this,

It was your own wine, sir, the good champagne,
(I took it for Catawba, you 're so kind,)

Which put the folly in my head!

"Get up?"

You still inflict on me that terrible face?

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You show no mercy?- Not for Her dear sake,
The sainted spirit's, whose soft breath even now
Blows on my cheek (don't you feel something, sir?)

You'll tell?

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Please, sir! your thumbs are through my windpipe, sir!


Oh Lord!

Well, sir, I hope you've done it now!
I little thought, sir, yesterday,

When your departed mother spoke those words
Of peace through me, and moved you, sir, so much,
(very kind it was of you)

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You gave me

These shirt-studs

(better take them back again,

Please, sir)—yes, little did I think so soon

A trifle of trick, all through a glass too much

Of his own champagne, would change my best of friends Into an angry gentleman!

Though, 't was wrong.

I don't contest the point; your anger 's just:

Whatever put such folly in my head,

I know 't was wicked of me. There's a thick
Dusk undeveloped spirit (I've observed)

Owes me a grudge

a negro's, I should say,

Or else an Irish emigrant's; yourself
Explained the case so well last Sunday, sir,

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