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Fair Salome, who did excel
All in that land for dancing well.
The feastful monarch's heart was fired,
And whatsoe'er thing she desired,
Though half his kingdom it should be,
He in his pleasure swore that he
Would give the graceful Salome.
The damsel was Herodias' daughter.
She to the queen hastes, and besought her
To teach her what great gift to name.
Instructed by Herodias, came
The damsel back; to Herod said,
66 Give me John the Baptist's head;
And in a charger let it be
Hither straightway brought to me.'
Herod her suit would fain deny,
But for his oath's sake must comply.
When painters would by art express
Beauty in unloveliness,
Thee, Herodias' daughter, thee,
They fittest subject take to be.
They give thy form and features grace;
But ever in thy beauteous face
They show a steadfast cruel gaze,
An eye unpitying; and amaze
In all beholders deep they mark,
That thou betrayest not one spark
Of feeling for the ruthless deed,
That did thy praiseful dance succeed.
For on the head they make you look,
As if a sullen joy you took,
A cruel triumph, wicked pride,
That for your sport a saint had died.
ON THE CELEBRATED PICTURE BY LEONARDO DA VINCI,
CALLED THE VIRGIN OF THE ROCKS.
WHILE young John runs to greet
The greater Infant's feet,
The Mother standing by, with trembling passion
Of devout admiration,
Beholds the engaging mystic play, and pretty adora-
Nor knows as yet the full event
Of those so low beginnings,
From whence we date our winnings,
But wonders at the intent
Of those new rites, and what that strange child-wor-
But at her side
An angel doth abide,
With such a perfect joy
As no dim doubts alloy,
A glory, an amenity,
Passing the dark condition
Of blind humanity,
As if he surely knew
All the blest wonder should ensue,
Or he had lately left the upper sphere,
And had read all the sovran schemes and divine rid-
MATERNAL lady with the virgin grace,
Heaven-born thy Jesus seemeth sure,
And thou a virgin pure.
Lady most perfect, when thy sinless face
Men look upon, they wish to be
A Catholic, Madonna fair, to worship thee.
This rare tablet doth include
Poverty with Sanctitude.
Past midnight this poor maid hath spun, ,
And yet the work is not half done,
Which must supply from earnings scant
A feeble bed-rid parent's want.
Her sleep-charged eyes exemption ask,
And holy hands take up the task ;
Unseen the rock and spindle ply,
And do her earthly drudgery.
Sleep, saintly poor one! sleep, sleep on;
And, waking, find thy labours done.
Perchance she knows it by her dreams;
Her eye hath caught the golden gleams,
Angelic presence testifying,
That round her everywhere are flying;
Ostents from which she may presume,
That much of heaven is in the room.
Skirting her own bright hair they run,
And to the sunny add more sun:
* Suggested by a drawing in the possession of Charles Aders, Esq., in which is represented the legend of a poor female saint: who, having spun past midnight, to maintain a bed-rid mother, has fallen asleep from fatigue, and angels are finishing her work. In another part of the chamber an angel is tending a lily, the emblem of purity.
Now on that aged face they fix,
Streaming from the Crucifix;
The flesh-clogged spirit disabusing,
Death-disarming sleeps infusing,
Prelibations, foretastes high,
And equal thoughts to live or die.
Gardener bright from Eden's bower,
Tend with care that lily flower;
To its leaves and root infuse
Heaven's sunshine, Heaven's dews.
'Tis a type, and 'tis a pledge,
Of a crowning privilege.
Careful as that lily flower,
This Maid must keep her precious dower;
Live a sainted Maid, or die
Martyr to virginity.
ON AN INFANT DYING AS SOON AS
I saw where in the shroud did lurk
A curious frame of Nature's work.
A floweret crushed in the bud,
A nameless piece of Babyhood,