Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Second Book of Modern Verse
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Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Second Book of Modern Verse.  1922.
 
To a Portrait of Whistler in the Brooklyn Art Museum
 
Eleanor Rogers Cox
 
 
WHAT waspish whim of Fate
  Was this that bade you here
Hold dim, unhonored state,
  No single courtier near?
 
Is there, of all who pass,        5
  No choice, discerning few
To poise the ribboned glass
  And gaze enwrapt on you?
 
Sword-soul that from its sheath
  Laughed leaping to the fray,        10
How calmly underneath
  Goes Brooklyn on her way!
 
Quite heedless of that smile—
  Half-devil and half-god,
Your quite unequalled style,        15
  The airy heights you trod.
 
Ah, could you from earth’s breast
  Come back to take the air,
What matter here for jest
  Most exquisite and rare!        20
 
But since you may not come,
  Since silence holds you fast,
Since all your quips are dumb
  And all your laughter past—
 
I give you mine instead,        25
  And something with it too
That Brooklyn leaves unsaid—
  The world’s fine homage due.
 
Ah, Prince, you smile again—
  “My faith, the court is small!”        30
I know, dear James—but then
  It’s I or none at all!
 

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