Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO THE PAINTER, by THOMAS CAREW



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TO THE PAINTER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Fond man, that hop'st to catch that face
Last Line: When the glad world shall see their heir.
Subject(s): Paintings & Painters


FOND man, that hop'st to catch that face
With those false colours, whose short grace
Serves but to show the lookers-on
The faults of thy presumption;
Or, at the least, to let us see
That is divine, but yet not she:
Say you could imitate the rays
Of those eyes that outshine the day's,
Or counterfeit in red and white
That most uncounterfeited light
Of her complexion; yet canst thou,
Great master though thou be, tell how
To paint a virtue? Then desist,
This fair your artifice hath miss'd.
You should have mark'd how she begins
To grow in virtue, not in sins;
Instead of that same rosy dye,
You should have drawn out modesty,
Whose beauty sits enthroned there,
And learn to look and blush at her.
Or can you colour just the same,
When virtue blushes or when shame?
When sickness, and when innocence,
Shows pale or white unto the sense?
Can such coarse varnish e'er be said
To imitate her white and red?
This may do well elsewhere, in Spain,
Among those faces dy'd in grain;
So you may thrive, and what you do
Prove the best picture of the two.
Besides, if all I hear be true,
'Tis taken ill by some that you
Should be so insolently vain,
As to contrive all that rich gain
Into one tablet, which alone
May teach us superstition,
Instructing our amazed eyes
To admire and worship imag'ries,
Such as quickly might outshine
Some new saint, were 't allow'd a shrine,
And turn each wand'ring looker-on
Into a new Pygmalion.
Yet your art cannot equalize
This picture in her lover's eyes;
His eyes the pencils are which limn
Her truly, as hers copy him;
His heart the tablet which alone
Is for that portrait the tru'st stone.
If you would a truer see,
Mark it in their posterity:
And you shall read it truly there,
When the glad world shall see their heir.





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