Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
Oliver Wendell Holmes. 1809–1894
 
95. To the Portrait of "A Lady"
 
In the Athenæum Gallery
 
WELL, Miss, I wonder where you live, 
  I wonder what 's your name, 
I wonder how you came to be 
  In such a stylish frame; 
Perhaps you were a favorite child,         5
  Perhaps an only one; 
Perhaps your friends were not aware 
  You had your portrait done! 
  
Yet you must be a harmless soul; 
  I cannot think that Sin  10
Would care to throw his loaded dice, 
  With such a stake to win; 
I cannot think you would provoke 
  The poet's wicked pen, 
Or make young women bite their lips,  15
  Or ruin fine young men. 
  
Pray, did you ever hear, my love, 
  Of boys that go about, 
Who, for a very trifling sum, 
  Will snip one's picture out?  20
I 'm not averse to red and white, 
  But all things have their place, 
I think a profile cut in black 
  Would suit your style of face! 
  
I love sweet features; I will own  25
  That I should like myself 
To see my portrait on a wall, 
  Or bust upon a shelf; 
But nature sometimes makes one up 
  Of such sad odds and ends,  30
It really might be quite as well 
  Hushed up among one's friends! 
 
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