BETA

II.

TO A BEAUTIFUL GIRL,

On her exhibiting a copy she had taken of a head from Raphael’s great picture
The Transfigurationand asking, “ Was not that painter inspired ? ”
Inspired ! —could he, the Stoic cold,1
The sceptred scoffer at whose word,2
(To falsify the doom foretold3
By sinful earth’s offended Lord,)4
’Mid shuddering nature’s threats, in vain,5
The Temple stones were rear’d again ; *6
Could he, fair girl, this instant see7
That draft of glory sketch’d by thee8
From Sanzio’s awful picture, where9
He flash’d the Saviour on our sight,10
So all divinely grand, we dare11
Not trust sensation to declare12
If God or painter be more bright13
Could Julian—deep his master-mind14
By taste and genius was refined15
Behold thee, as thou standest now,16
Holding thy wondrous effort up ;17
With hands upraised and lifted brow,18
As Hebé holds to Jove the cup,19
Thy soul so fill’d with that bright Art,20
It seems prepared thy frame to part,21
And struggling with the soft embrace22
Of thy light figure’s wavy grace,—23
Thy dark eyes flashing, and thy hair24
Lending its shadows to the air,25
That else were all too lustrous, while26
Thy rosy lips, half open, wear27
Pride mix’d with Love’s triumphant smile : —28
If thus, O bright One ! thou could’st beam29
Upon that veriest sceptic’s gaze,30
His unbelief, like sudden dream,31
Would melt to worship and amaze ;32
And he would own the Faith whose power33
Fills and enfolds thee in this hour34
With such soft radiance, as in June35
Lights up the young delicious moon36
And he whose glorious hand it fired,37
The immortal Painter, were—inspired.38

* The Emperor Julian—called by Christian writers the Apostate—to disprove the
prediction in the Gospel, he ordered the Temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt, but, from
some natural or miraculous cause, the design was defeated.