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So, in the Louvre, the passer-by might spy some
Arch-looking head, with half-evasive air,
Grape-bunch and melon, nectarine and pear:-
Graceful she was, as some slim marsh-flower shaken
Among the sallows, in the breezy Spring; Blithe as the first blithe song of birds that waken,
Fresh as a fresh young pear-tree blossoming ; Black was her hair as any blackbird's feather ; Just for her mouth, two rose-buds grew together.
Sloes were her eyes; but her soft cheeks were peaches,
Hued like an Autumn pippin, where the red
E'en to the core ; and if you spoke, it spread
As Boucher smiled, the bright black eyes ceased dancing,
As Boucher spoke, the dainty red eclipse
Half a shy smile that dawned around the lips.
Cerises, M'sieu ? Rosine, dépêchez-vous !”
Deep in the fruit her hands Rosina buries,
Soon in the scale the ruby bunches lay.
Never had seen such little fingers play ;-
“Woo first the mother, if you'd win the daughter !"
Boucher was charmed, and turned to Madame Mère,
Leave to immortalize a face so fair;
Shy at the first, in time Rosina's laughter
Rang through the studio as the girlish face Peeped from some painter's travesty, or after
Showed like an Omphale in lion's case ; Gay as a thrush, that from the morning dew Pipes to the light its clear “ Réveillez-vous.”
Just a mere child with sudden ebullitions,
Flashes of fun, and little bursts of song,
Mute little moods of misery and wrong;
Day after day the little loving creature
Came and returned ; and still the Painter felt, Day after day, the old theatric Nature
Fade from his sight, and like a shadow melt Paniers and Powder, Pastoral and Scene, Killed by the simple beauty of Rosine.
As for the girl, she turned to her new being,
Came, as a bird that hears its fellow call;
Grew, as a flower on which the sun-rays fall ;
There is a figure among Boucher's sketches,
Slim,-a child-face, the eyes as black as beads, Head set askance, and hand that shyly stretches
Flowers to the passer, with a look that pleads. This was no other than Rosina surely ;None Boucher knew could else have looked so purely.
But forth her Story, for I will not tarry,
Whether he lov the little “nut-brown maid ”;
Straight to the end, or just the whim obeyed,
Opened Rosina to the unknown comer.
'Twas a young girl—"une pauvre fille,” she said, “They had been growing poorer all the summer ;
Father was lame, and mother lately dead ;
Men called her pretty." Boucher looked a minute :
Yes, she was pretty; and her face beside Shamed her poor clothing by a something in it,
Grace, and a presence hard to be denied ; This was no common offer it was certain ;“ Allez, Rosina ! sit behind the curtain."
Meantime the Painter, with a mixed emotion,
Drew and re-drew his ill-disguised Marquise, Passed in due, time from praises to devotion ;
Last when his sitter left him on his knees, Rose in a maze of passion and surprise, Rose, and beheld Rosina's saddened eyes.
Thrice-happy France, whose facile sons inherit
Still in the old traditionary way,
Power to forget! Our Boucher rose, I say,
“This was no model, M'sieu, but a lady.”
Boucher was silent, for he knew it true. “Est-ce que vous l'aimez ? ” Never answer made he!
Ah, for the old love fighting with the new ! Est-ce
vous l'aimez?” sobbed Rosina's sorrow. “ Bon!” murmured Boucher; “she will come to-morrow.”
How like a Hunter thou, O Time, dost harry
Us, thine oppressed, and pleasured with the chase,
Following not less with unrelenting face.
Woe to Rosina ! By To-morrow stricken,
Swift from her life the sun of gold declined.
Cloud and the cold,—the loneliness—the wind.
No, not a sign. Already with the Painter
Grace and the nymphs began recovered reign;
Paled to the old sick Artifice again.