LINES TO A PORTRAIT, BY A SUPERIOR PERSON
by: Bret Harte (1836-1902)
- HEN I bought
you for a song,
- Years ago -- Lord knows how long!--
- I was struck -- I may be wrong--
- By your features,
- And -- a something in your air
- That I could n't quite compare
- To my other plain or fair
- In your simple, oval frame
- You were not well known to fame,
- But to me -- 't was all the same --
- Whoe'er drew you;
- For your face I can't forget,
- Though I oftentimes regret
- That, somehow, I never yet
- Saw quite through you.
- Yet each morning, when I rise,
- I go first to greet your eyes;
- And, in turn, you scrutinize
- My presentment.
- And when shades of evening fall,
- As you hang upon my wall,
- You're the last thing I recall
- With contentment.
- It is weakness, yet I know
- That I never turned to go
- Anywhere, for weal or woe,
- But I lingered
- For one parting, thrilling flash
- From your eyes, to give that dash
- To the curl of my moustache,
- That I fingered.
- If to some you may seem plain,
- And when people glance again
- Where you hang, their lips refrain
- From confession;
- Yet they turn in stealth aside,
- And I note, they try to hide
- How much they are satisfied
- In expression.
- Other faces I have seen;
- Other forms have come between;
- Other things I have, I ween,
- Done and dared for!
- But our ties they cannot sever,
- And, though I should say it never,
- You're the only one I ever
- Really cared for!
- And you'll still be hanging there
- When we're both the worse for wear,
- And the silver's on my hair
- And off your backing;
- Yet my faith shall never pass
- In my dear old shaving-glass,
- Till my face and yours, alas!
- Both are lacking!
POEMS BY BRET HARTE
"Lines to a Portrait, by a
Superior Person" is reprinted from The Writings of Bret
Harte, Vol. XX. Ed. Charles Meeker Kozlay. Cambridge: Riverside