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Plain Roland still was placidly "inspecting,"
Corday unborn, and Lamballe in Savoie ;
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,—
The crowned Caprice, whose sceptre, nowise sainted,
A laughing Dame, who sailed a laughing cargo
Whose gentlest merit gentiment se rendre;—
Her Boucher served, till Nature's self betraying,
Filled with false gods and muses misbegot ;-
Once, only once,—perhaps the last night's revels
Young-lipped, unlessoned, joyous, and clear-eyed;
Wherefore, we know not; but, at times, far nearer
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.
So, in the Louvre, the passer-by might spy some
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
Fresh as a fresh young pear-tree blossoming;
Sloes were her eyes; but her soft cheeks were peaches,
Seems to have burned right through the skin, and reaches
As Boucher smiled, the bright black eyes ceased dancing,
Half a shy smile that dawned around the lips.
Deep in the fruit her hands Rosina buries,
"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;
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,
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,-
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.