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One Word More
by [?]


TO E.B.B.

 
I

There they are, my fifty men and women
Naming me the fifty poems finished!
Take them, Love, the book and me together;
Where the heart lies, let the brain lie also.

II

Rafael made a century of sonnets, 5
Made and wrote them in a certain volume
Dinted with the silver-pointed pencil
Else he only used to draw Madonnas;
These, the world might view–but one, the volume.
Who that one, you ask? Your heart instructs you. 10
Did she live and love it all her lifetime?
Did she drop, his lady of the sonnets,
Die, and let it drop beside her pillow
Where it lay in place of Rafael’s glory,
Rafael’s cheek so duteous and so loving–
Cheek, the world was wont to hail a painter’s,
Rafael’s cheek, her love had turned a poet’s?

III

You and I would rather read that volume
(Taken to his beating bosom by it),
Lean and list the bosom-beats of Rafael, 20
Would we not? than wonder at Madonnas–
Her, San Sisto names, and Her, Foligno,
Her, that visits Florence in a vision,
Her, that’s left with lilies in the Louvre–
Seen by us and all the world in circle.

IV

You and I will never read that volume.
Guido Reni, like his own eye’s apple, 27
Guarded long the treasure-book and loved it.
Guido Reni dying, all Bologna
Cried, and the world cried too, “Ours, the treasure!” 30
Suddenly, as rare things will, it vanished.

V

Dante once prepared to paint an angel: 32
Whom to please? You whisper “Beatrice.” 33
While he mused and traced it and retraced it
(Peradventure with a pen corroded
Still by drops of that hot ink he dipped for,
When, his left-hand i’ the hair o’ the wicked, 37
Back he held the brow and pricked its stigma,
Bit into the live man’s flesh for parchment,
Loosed him, laughed to see the writing rankle, 40
Let the wretch go festering through Florence)–
Dante, who loved well because he hated,
Hated wickedness that hinders loving,
Dante, standing, studying his angel,–
In there broke the folk of his Inferno. 45
Says he–“Certain people of importance”
(Such he gave his daily dreadful line to)
“Entered and would seize, forsooth, the poet.”
Says the poet–“Then I stopped my painting.”

VI

You and I would rather see that angel, 50
Painted by the tenderness of Dante,
Would we not?–than read a fresh Inferno.

VII

You and I will never see that picture.
While he mused on love and Beatrice,
While he softened o’er his outlined angel,
In they broke, those “people of importance”:
We and Bice bear the loss forever. 57