Alaric Alexander Watts

(1797-1864 / England)

To A Portrait, Painted By The Late G.S. Newton, Esq. - Poem by Alaric Alexander Watts

Beautiful and radiant girl!
I have heard of teeth of pearl,
Lips of coral, cheeks of rose,
Necks and brows like drifted snows,
Eyes, as diamonds sparkling bright,
Or the stars of summer's night,
And expression, grace, and soul,
Softly tempering down the whole:
But a form so near divine,
With a face so fair as thine,
And so sunny bright a brow,
Never met my gaze till now:
Thou wert Venus' sister twin,
If this shade be thine”Nell Gwynn!
Cast that carcanet away,
Thou hast need of no display,”
Gems, however rare, to deck
Such an alabaster neck.
Can the brilliant's lustre vie
With the glories of thine eye;
Or the ruby's red compare
With the two lips breathing there?
Can they add a richer glow
To thy beauties? No, sweet, no!
Though thou bear'st the name of one
Whom 'twas virtue once to shun,”
It were sure to taste a sin,
Now to pass thee by—Nell Gwynn.
But they've wronged thee; and I swear
By that brow so dazzling fair,”
By the chastened light that flashes
From thy drooping 'lids' long lashes;
By the deep blue eyes beneath them;
By the clustering curls that wreathe them;
By thy softly blushing cheek;
By thy lips, that more than speak;
By thy stately, swan-like neck,
Glossy white without a speck;
By thy form, so passing fair,
Modest mien, and graceful air;
'Twas a burning shame and sin,
Sweet, to christen thee Nell Gwynn!
Wreathe for aye thy snowy arms,
Thine can be no wanton's charms!
Like the fawn's, as bright and shy,
Beams thy soft, retiring eye;
No bold invitation's given
From the depths of that blue heaven,
Nor one glance of lightness hid
'Neath its pale, declining 'lid!
No; I'll not believe thy name
Can be aught allied to shame!
Then let them call thee what they will,
I've sworn, and I'll maintain it still,”
Despite tradition's idle din,”
Thou art not, canst not be, Nell Gwynn!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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