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Anna Laetitia Barbauld (Анна-Летиция Барбо)

On a Portrait

Blest art! What magic powers with thine may vie,
That brings (too seldom seen) a Brother nigh?
That gives, by colours into canvass wrought,
The hue of sentiment, and tinge of thought?
The lips, with soft affection's smile that glow,
And the mild wisdom of the studious brow?
I look, again I look, and still 'tis there;
I catch, with varying lights, a happier air;
Approach, step back, the favouring distance choose,
And, line by line, the well known face peruse:
Almost expect the opening lips to pour
With usual flow the treasured mental store,
And fondly dream our meeting glances prove
The' accustomed beamings of fraternal love.
But O! should fate in some disastrous day,—
Avert it Heaven!—the living form decay;
Hide, hide, ye pitying friends, the mimic light,
Veil, veil the image from my tortured sight;
The shadow of past joys I could not bear,
Nor would it speak of comfort, but despair. 

Anna Laetitia Barbauld's other poems:
  1. An Inventory of the Furniture in Dr. Priestley's Study
  2. The Invitation, to Miss B—
  3. Song 3 (LEAVE me, simple shepherd, leave me)
  4. Song 4 (WHEN gentle Celia first I knew)
  5. To a Lady, with painted Flowers

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