Lines On Returning a Picture (Written for a Friend)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Drawing of an 1879 Dress



It seems that my great-grandfather had a series of failed relationships before he married.  At least that is the impression his published poems give me.



Fair maid, once loved and still esteemed

With a regard time cannot move,

I send you back what I once deemed

My tenderest trust, save but thy love.


‘Tis but a picture; why so dear,

So precious to my heart has been it?

‘Tis but a shadow fleet as air

What is there so endearing in it?


The idle tongue may thus inquire,

And how such blisses were begot,

Those joys tho’ that it did inspire

Alone can answer–I can not.


When miles on miles have stretched between

Thyself and me; when lone and drear,

This speechless image oft’ has been

A silent minister of cheer.


It has recalled with something more

Than fancy’s power when bending o’er

It, that thy spirit to was there.


My eyes again thine seemed to meet,

And thine seemed still with love to blaze,

And thy lips looked still no less sweet

Than tasted they in bygone days.


But why say more?  All beauty dies,

‘Tis fair, yet so the rainbow’s hue,

It fades, its glorious beauty flies,

And so will fade the picture too.


But Sol, whose golden tresses twine

Around the pearly drops of rain,

And paint upon the cloud the sign

That storms their fury will retrain;


Tho’ we forget his tinted rays

And mind his glorious wonders not,

Creation dies without his blaze,

And he shall never be forgot.


So tho’ the picture fade away,

As it must do as years shall wear,

Yet, on my memory thou wilt stay,

Whose beauty is reflected there.


Say, do I ask too much of thee,

As down life’s path we severed stray,

That thou wilt sometimes think of me?

If so, forget me then, I pray.


If Heaven decrees we’ll meet no more,

I’ll gladly say: “Thy will be done.”

To see thee would but kindle o’er

A flame not yet entirely gone.


But if we should, our hearts may ache,

Our minds dwell on the past with pain,

Yet let the lips no mention make

Of bliss too sweet to know again.


Some unknown hand,–benign or dire,–

Thee from my mind and heart may take,

Yet fonder hope; that friendship’s fire

From love’s cold ashes might awake.


The cloud that dims the azure skies

Is scattered oft by it its own breath,

And beauties from decay arise,

And life is but the child of death,


Good-bye!  the word with pain is fraught,

Its heart boils o’er my brimming eye,

‘Twas not I only tho’ that wrought

The cureless wound–good-bye, good-bye.


Posted May 4, 2012 by neatnik2009 in John Dodson Taylor Sr.--Poems, Love 1800s

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