Anna Laetitia Barbauld

(20 June 1743 – 9 March 1825 / Leicestershire, England)

On A Portrait - Poem by Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Blest art! What magic powers with thine may vie,
That brings (too seldom seen) a Brother nigh?
That gives, by colours into canvass wrought,
The hue of sentiment, and tinge of thought?
The lips, with soft affection's smile that glow,
And the mild wisdom of the studious brow?
I look, again I look, and still 'tis there;
I catch, with varying lights, a happier air;
Approach, step back, the favouring distance choose,
And, line by line, the well known face peruse:
Almost expect the opening lips to pour
With usual flow the treasured mental store,
And fondly dream our meeting glances prove
The' accustomed beamings of fraternal love.
But O! should fate in some disastrous day,—
Avert it Heaven!—the living form decay;
Hide, hide, ye pitying friends, the mimic light,
Veil, veil the image from my tortured sight;
The shadow of past joys I could not bear,
Nor would it speak of comfort, but despair.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010



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