To the Painter Preparing to Draw M.M.H.
Be not too forward, painter; 'tis
More for thy fame, and art, to miss
All other faces, than come near
The Lady, that expecteth here.
Be wise, and think it less disgrace
To draw an angel, than her face;
For in such forms, who is so wise
To tell thee where thy error lies?
But since all beauty (that is known)
Is in her virgin sweetness one,
How can it be, that painting her
But every look should make thee err?
But thou art resolute I see;
Yet let my fancy walk with thee:
Compose a ground more dark and sad,
Than that the early Chaos had,
And show, to the whole sex's shame,
Beauty was darkness till she came.
Then paint her eyes, whose active light
Shall make the former shadows bright,
And with their every beam supply
New day, to draw her picture by.
Now, if thou wilt complete the face,
A wonder paint in every place.
Beneath these, for her fair neck's sake,
White as the Paphian Turtles, make
A pillar, whose smooth base doth show
It self lost in a mount of snow;
Her breast, the house of chaste desire,
Cold, but increasing others' fire.
But how I lose (instructing thee)
Thy pencil, and my poetry!
For when thou hast expressed all art,
As high as truth, in every part,
She can resemble at the best,
One, in her beauty's silence dressed,
Where thou, like a dull looker-on,
Art lost, and all thy art undone;
For if she speak, new wonders rise
From her teeth, chin, lip, and eyes;
So far above that excellent
Did take thee first, thou should repent
To have begun, and lose i'th'end
Thy eyes with wonder how to mend.
At such a loss, here's all thy choice,
Leave off, or paint her with a voice.
James Shirley's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (To the Painter Preparing to Draw M.M.H. by James Shirley )
- It Really Ain't So Bad.... In Hell ......., Bri Edwards
- Crushed Cookies...... [HUMOR; SHORT; re.., Bri Edwards
- Where Did Mommy Go, Stephen Morris Jr
- me sisters dog, lee fones
- On Cold Grey Mountain, John Martinez
- I KNEW LOVE, SHARON YAKOWA
- I'm Still Here, Stephen Morris Jr
- tramp, lee fones
- Leaves On The Grass, Poetic Lilly Emery
- Thought Process, Mitta Xinindlu
Poem of the Day
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- "Hope" is the thing with feathers, Emily Dickinson
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)