To A Beautiful Female Portrait

by Henry Alford

Henry Alford

Whereto shall I liken thee,
Thou with sunbright eyes divine?
Twilight never dimmeth thee,
Evermore thy sharp eyes shine;
Thou art like the morning star
On the forehead of the day,
Looking earthward from afar
When the night clouds float away;--

Thou art like the sparkling fly
Dancing on the Eastern night,
Through a trellised gallery,
Up and down all fiery bright;
Thou art like a starry flower
Hidden in a mist of green,
From beneath a woven bower
Here and there in glimpses seen.

All bright things are not so bright,
Not so deep as are thine eyes;
Not the hollow blue at night,
Fading into other skies;
Not the blue Forget--me--not,
Bright and deep although it be;
Not the rays from chrystals shot,
Nor the twinkling summer sea.

Fix thy full deep eyes on me,
Let me lose my being there;
Let me pass out into thee
From my house of sin and care:
Surely all thine inner soul
Whence such lights for ever shine,
Must with mild and sweet controul
Purify and brighten mine.

Or if this may never be,
Fix them full upon me still;
Let me borrow light from thee;--
Losing all my thought and will,
Quite absorbed, and emptied quite,--
In their lustrous brightness lost,--
All my sunshine turned to night,--
I'm contented with the cost.

Last updated February 10, 2018