Puslapio vaizdai

For we find it hard to smother

Just one little thought, Marquise ! Wittier perhaps than any other,You were neither Wife nor Mother,

"Belle Marquise!"




"On ne badine pas avec l'amour."

HE scene, a wood. A shepherd tip-toe creeping,
Carries a basket, whence a billet peeps,

To lay beside a silk-clad Oread sleeping

Under an urn; yet not so sound she sleeps But that she plainly sees his graceful act;

"He thinks she thinks he thinks she sleeps," in fact.

One hardly needs the "Peint par François Boucher."
All the sham life comes back again,- -one sees
Alcoves, Ruelles, the Lever, and the Coucher,
Patches and Ruffles, Roués and Marquises;

The little great, the infinite small thing

That ruled the hour when Louis Quinze was king.

For these were yet the days of halcyon weather,-
A "Martin's summer", when the nation swam,
Aimless and easy as a wayward feather,

Down the full tide of jest and epigram ;-
A careless time, when France's bluest blood
Beat to the tune of "After us the flood."

Plain Roland still was placidly "inspecting,"
Not now Camille had stirred the Café Foy;
Marat was young, and Guillotin dissecting,
Corday unborn, and Lamballe in Savoie ;
No faubourg yet had heard the Tocsin ring:-
This was the summer-when Grasshoppers sing.

And far afield were sun-baked savage creatures, Female and male, that tilled the earth, and wrung Want from the soil;—lean things with livid features, Shape of bent man, and voice that never sung: These were the Ants, for yet to Jacques Bonhomme Tumbrils were not, nor any sound of drum.

But Boucher was a Grasshopper, and painted,—
Rose-water Raphael,—
-en couleur de rose,

The crowned Caprice, whose sceptre, nowise sainted,
Swayed the light realm of ballets and bon-mots;-
Ruled the dim boudoir's demi-jour, or drove
Pink-ribboned flocks through some pink-flowered grove.

A laughing Dame, who sailed a laughing cargo
Of flippant loves along the Fleuve du Tendre;
Whose greatest grace was jupes à la Camargo,

Whose gentlest merit gentiment se rendre;—
Queen of the rouge-cheeked Hours, whose footsteps fell
To Rameau's notes, in dances by Gardel;-

Her Boucher served, till Nature's self betraying,

As Wordsworth sings, the heart that loved her not, Made of his work a land of languid Maying,

Filled with false gods and muses misbegot ;A Versailles Eden of cosmetic youth,

Wherein most things went naked, save the Truth.

Once, only once,-perhaps the last night's revels
Palled in the after-taste,- -our Boucher sighed
For that first beauty, falsely named the Devil's,
Young-lipped, unlessoned, joyous, and clear-eyed;
Flung down his palette like a weary man,

And sauntered slowly through the Rue Sainte-Anne.

Wherefore, we know not; but, at times, far nearer
Things common come, and lineaments half-seen
Grow in a moment magically clearer;—

Perhaps, as he walked, the grass he called "too green Rose and rebuked him, or the earth “ill-lighted" Silently smote him with the charms he slighted.

But, as he walked, he tired of god and goddess,
Nymphs that deny, and shepherds that appeal;
Stale seemed the trick of kerchief and of bodice,

Folds that confess, and flutters that reveal;
Then as he grew more sad and disenchanted,
Forthwith he spied the very thing he wanted.

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So, in the Louvre, the passer-by might spy some
Arch-looking head, with half-evasive air,
Start from behind the fruitage of Van Huysum,

Grape-bunch and melon, nectarine and pear:-
Here 'twas no Venus of Batavian city,

But a French girl, young, piquante, bright, and pretty.

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

Seems to have burned right through the skin, and reaches E'en to the core; and if you spoke, it spread

Up till the blush had vanquished all the brown,

And, like two birds, the sudden lids dropped down.

As Boucher smiled, the bright black eyes ceased dancing,
As Boucher spoke, the dainty red eclipse
Filled all the face from cheek to brow, enhancing
Half a shy smile that dawned around the lips.
Then a shrill mother rose upon the view;

"Cerises, M'sieu? Rosine, dépêchez-vous !”

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