The Visionary Portrait

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As by his lonely hearth he sate,
The shadow of a welcome dream
Pass'd o'er his heart,--disconsolate
His home did seem;
Comfort in vain was spread around,
For something still was wanting found.

Therefore he thought of one who might
For ever in his presence stay;
Whose dream should be of him by night,
Whose smile should be for him by day;
And the sweet vision, vague and far,
Rose on his fancy like a star.


"Let her be young, yet not a child,
Whose light and inexperienced mirth
Is all too wingéd and too wild
For sober earth,--
Too rainbow-like such mirth appears,
And fades away in misty tears.

"Let youth's fresh rose still gently bloom
Upon her smooth and downy cheek,
Yet let a shadow, not of gloom,
But soft and meek,
Tell that some sorrow she hath known,
Tho' not a sorrow of her own.

"And let her eyes be of the grey,
The soft grey of the brooding dove,
Full of the sweet and tender ray
Of modest love;
For fonder shows that dreamy hue
Than lustrous black or heavenly blue.

"Let her be full of quiet grace,
No sparkling wit with sudden glow
Bright'ning her purely chisell'd face
And placid brow;
Not radiant to the stranger's eye,--
A creature easily pass'd by;

"But who, once seen, with untold power
For ever haunts the yearning heart,
Raised from the crowd that self-same hour
To dwell apart,
All sainted and enshrined to be
The idol of our memory!

"And oh! let Mary be her name
It hath a sweet and gentle sound
At which no glories dear to fame
Come crowding round,
But which the dreaming heart beguiles
With holy thoughts and household smiles

"With peaceful meetings, welcomes kind,
And love, the same in joy and tears,
And gushing intercourse of mind
Thro' faithful years;
Oh! dream of something half divine,
Be real--be mortal--and be mine!"

© Caroline Norton