This pictured work, with ancient graces fraught,
(Or so they say) Albertinelli wrought.
He who that touching piece achieved, where meet
The Sisters twain, in Visitation sweet.
Of which the Tuscan city, 'mid her crowd
Of miracles, e'en yet is justly proud.
Oh! matchless line of years, whose generous strife
Reared the reviving arts to perfect life.
Then Petrarch's native lay refined on love;
Then Angelo the impetuous chisel drove;
Then oracles, that stirred young Raphael's breast,
Spoke forth in colours, clear as words, exprest.
Thou too, the pencil's scarce less gifted seer,
Fair is the dream thy hand interprets here.
How sweet yon infant Christ's down-beaming smile
On bright Saint John; who lifts his own the while!
That bliss of young maternity how sweet!
Where mildly mingling Saint and Mother meet.
Nay, more than mother's rapture; to behold
Her Saviour-Son, by prophet-bards foretold.
Or, if adoring meekness e'er had shrine
In human face, Fond Catherine! 'tis in thine.
In that one present joy of all possest;
Heedless of Future; and by Past—unprest.
But Her's, who stands a-near that elder boy,—
Margaret's—I ween is no untroubled joy.
In Her, methinks, the painter's hand hath sought
Meanings to plant of more than common thought.
A look, as if that calm, yet clouded, eye
Had glimpsed the minglings of futurity.
And, 'mid the glories of each final doom,
Foresaw, not less, the sorrows first to come.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010