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So just, the life itself was there.
No flattery with his colors laid,
To bloom restored the faded maid;
He gave each muscle all its strength,
The mouth, the chin, the nose's length.
His honest pencil touched with truth,
And marked the date of age and youth.
He lost his friends, his practice failed;
Truth should not always be revealed;
In dusty piles his pictures lay,
For no one sent the second pay.
Two bustos, fraught with every grace,
A Venus' and Apollo's face,
He placed in view; resolved to please,
Whoever sat, he drew from these,
From these corrected every feature,
And spirited each awkward creature.
All things were set; the hour was
His pallet ready o'er his thumb.
My lord appeared; and seated right
In proper attitude and light,
The painter looked, he sketched the
Then dipped his pencil, talked of Greece,
Of Titian's tints, of Guido's air;
"Those eyes, my lord, the spirit there
Might well a Raphael's hand require,
To give them all their native fire;
The features fraught with sense and
You'll grant are very hard to hit; But yet with patience you shall view As much as paint and art can do. Observe the work." My lord replied: "Till now I thought my mouth was wide;
Besides, my nose is somewhat long;
Dear sir, for me, 't is far too young."
"Oh! pardon me," the artist cried, "In this the painters must decide. The piece even common eyes must strike, I warrant it extremely like."
My lord examined it anew;
No looking-glass seemed half so true.
A lady came; with borrowed grace
He from his Venus formed her face.
Her lover praised the painter's art;
So like the picture in his heart!
To every age some charm he lent;
Even beauties were almost content.
Through all the town his art they praised;
His custom grew, his price was raised.
Had he the real likeness shown,
Would any man the picture own?
But when thus happily he wrought,
Each found the likeness in his thought.