PAINT me the murmur of the brook,
The breath that summer knows,
The sea-like whispering of the pines,
The odor of the rose ;
The vanished voice, the finished song
That held our hearts a while, —
And then, and not till then, perhaps
You ’ll paint me Lesbia’s smile.
Ah, no ! The auroral gleam that plays
About my Lesbia’s face,
The beaming eyes, the quivering lips,
The lights that o’er it race,
The joy, the innocent sweet glow
That springs from out the heart
And flushes o’er her happy face,
Defy the snares of art.
No ! Zeuxis, Nature mocks at Art:
Her breathing life and charm
Flee from his grasp, and only leave
Her cold and lifeless form.
Shy beauty lures her lover on,
Content his hope to tease,
But at his touch the fitful sprite
Smiles, nods, and vanishes.
She vanishes, but leaves behind
A promise in the air,
A sweet enticement, a fond hope,
That charms away despair.
She whispers to him in his dreams,
She will not set him free,
And in her bondage dear he owns
Life’s best felicity.
W. W. Story.