Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

Her Portrait Immortal - Poem by Richard Le Gallienne

Must I believe this beauty wholly gone
That in her picture here so deathless seems,
And must I henceforth speak of her as one
Tells of some face of legend or of dreams,
Still here and there remembered-scarce believed,
Or held the fancy of a heart bereaved.

So beautiful she-was; ah! 'was,' say I,
Yet doubt her dead-I did not see her die.
Only by others borne across the sea
Came the incredible wild blasphemy
They called her death-as though it could be true
Of such an immortality as you!

True of these eyes that from her picture gaze,
Serene, star-steadfast, as the heaven's own eyes;
Of that deep bosom, white as hawthorn sprays,
Where my world-weary head forever lies;
True of these quiet hands, so marble-cool,
Still on her lap as lilies on a pool.

Must I believe her dead-that this sweet clay,
That even from her picture breathes perfume,
Was carried on a fiery wind away,
Or foully locked in the worm-whispering tomb;
This casket rifled, ribald fingers thrust
'Mid all her dainty treasure-is
this
dust!

Once such a dewy marvel of a girl,
Warm as the sun, and ivory as the moon;
All gone of her, all lost-except this curl
Saved from her head one summer afternoon,
Tied with a little ribbon from her breast-
This only mine, and Death's now all the rest.

Must I believe it true! Bid me not go
Where on her grave the English violets blow;
Nay, leave me-if a dream, indeed, it be-
Still in my dream that she is somewhere she,
Silent, as was her wont. It is a lie-
She is not dead-I did not see her die.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010



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