Puslapio vaizdai

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 !"

Deep in the fruit her hands Rosina buries,
Soon in the scale the ruby bunches lay.
The painter, watching the suspended cherries,
Never had seen such little fingers play ;-
As for the arm, no Hebè's could be rounder;
Low in his heart a whisper said "I've found her."

"Woo first the mother, if you'd win the daughter!" Boucher was charmed, and turned to Madame Mère, Almost with tears of suppliance besought her

Leave to immortalize a face so fair;
Praised and cajoled so craftily that straightway
Voici Rosina,-standing at his gateway.

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,
Petulant pains, and fleeting pale contritions,
Mute little moods of misery and wrong;

Only a child, of Nature's rarest making,

Wistful and sweet,—and with a heart for breaking!

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;
Blessed, as the blind that blesses God for seeing;
Grew, as a flower on which the sun-rays fall;
Loved if you will; she never named it so :
Love comes unseen,-we only see it go.

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 loved the little "nut-brown maid";

If, of a truth, he counted this to carry

Straight to the end, or just the whim obeyed,
Nothing we know, but only that before
More had been done, a finger tapped the door.

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; Bread was so dear, and,-oh! but want was bitter, Would Monsieur pay to have her for a sitter?

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 enjoy-with yet a rarer merit,

Power to forget! Our Boucher rose, I say,
With hand still prest to heart, with pulses throbbing,
And blankly stared at poor Rosina sobbing.

"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 que 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, Sparest to strike thy sorely-running quarry,

Following not less with unrelenting face.

Time, if Love hunt, and Sorrow hunt, with thee,
Woe to the Fawn! There is no way to flee.

Woe to Rosina! By To-morrow stricken,

Swift from her life the sun of gold declined.
Nothing remained but those gray shades that thicken,
Cloud and the cold,-the loneliness-the wind.

Only a little by the door she lingers,—
Waits, with wrung lip and interwoven fingers.

No, not a sign. Already with the Painter

Grace and the nymphs began recovered reign; Truth was no more, and Nature, waxing fainter, Paled to the old sick Artifice again.

Seeing Rosina going out to die,

How should he know what Fame had passed him by?

« AnkstesnisTęsti »