James Shirley

(September 1596 – October 1666 / London, England)

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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: beauty, poetry, loss, angel, lost, snow, silence, sad, house, truth, fire, dark, light, rose

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (To the Painter Preparing to Draw M.M.H. by James Shirley )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. My Bird, Harold R Hunt Sr
  2. Two Thumbs Up., Harold R Hunt Sr
  3. A basket سلة, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  4. The pond, Harold R Hunt Sr
  5. All We Need Is Love, Sandra Feldman
  6. The train., Harold R Hunt Sr
  7. No lights., Harold R Hunt Sr
  8. Tail of Two Buffalo s, Harold R Hunt Sr
  9. Not A Dream But Maybe What We Will, Hirotsugu Daba
  10. Remembering., Harold R Hunt Sr

Poem of the Day

poet Charles Stuart Calverley

He stood, a worn-out City clerk —
Who'd toil'd, and seen no holiday,
For forty years from dawn to dark —
Alone beside Caermarthen Bay.
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  3. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  4. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  5. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  6. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
  9. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  10. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]