Kate Harrington

(1831 - 1917 / Allegheny City, Pennsylvania)

Lines On Receiving Maymie's Picture - Poem by Kate Harrington

Artist, I thank thee for the pictured face,
Thy genius untranscended bade thee trace;
The perfect image of the darling one
Who waits for me when life's sad dream is done.
How bitter my regret, when last I pressed
Her marble cheek unto my yearning breast,
To feel that never more those earnest eyes
Could give returning look of glad surprise;
That never more those pale, cold lips could press
Mine own in their outgushing tenderness!
And when they thought to comfort me, and said
That was but dust,—the soul forever fled,—
It made me yearn more wildly for the clay,—
The precious features they had hid away.
One sunny tress was all that I might claim
To treasure up and link with her dear name;
And a rude picture, so unlike the real,
It pleased me best to fancy an ideal
Of what she was, and send Thought softly back
To meet her, bousding over Memory's track.

But, oh ! how like a vision from the skies
Now dawns on me the light of those dear eyes !
How my pulse quickens as those lips of flame
Seem waiting my approach, to breathe my name!
The silken lashes, brow and cheek so clear,
And sunny tresses too, all, all are here !
Ah ! Heaven forgive me if I dare to bow
To idol such as this, and teach me how
To hush my spirit, that expectant waits,
And flaps her pinions 'gainst her prison-gates,
Impatient to be gone. This mirrored face
Seems sent to comfort me—to fill her place;
To sit beside me in my silent room,
As was her wont, and cheat me of my gloom.

Artist, I love my lyre, and though each strain
That wakes beneath my touch may sleep again
Without evoking a responsive thrill
From other hearts, I love to sound it still.
But, were I called my treasure to resign
And choose a rarer gift, it would be thine,
The inspiration of thy magic Art ;
The power to soothe and thrill the yearning heart.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 8, 2014

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