The Dead Connoisseur's Friends

GATHERED from many lands,
A company still and strange,
In the shadow of velvet and oak,
Not one to another spoke.
With faces that did not change,
Weird with the night, and dim,
They were looking their last at him.
If ever men were wise,
If ever women were fair,
If ever glory was dust
In a world of moth and rust,
Why, these and this were there.
Guests of the great,—ah me,
How cold is your courtesy!
Does the loveliest lady of all
Drop Titian’s light from her hair
Down into his darkened eyes —
His, who in his coffin lies?
Does that crouching Venus care
That he must forget the charm
Of her broken, beautiful arm?
Yet these are the dead man’s friends,
Wooed in his passionate youth
And won when his head was gray.
Look at them close, I pray.
Ah, these he has loved in sooth;
Yet among them all, I fear,
They cannot give him a tear.
Mrs. S. M. B. Piatt.