Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Portrait
By John Heywood (c. 1497–c. 1580)
 
GIVE place, ye ladies, and begone,
Boast not yourselves at all:
For here at hand approacheth one
Whose face will stain you all.
 
The virtue of her lively looks        5
Excels the precious stone:
I wish to have none other books
To read or look upon.
 
In each of her two crystal eyes
Smileth a naked boy:        10
It would you all in heart suffice
To see that lamp of joy.
 
I think Nature hath lost the mould
Where she her shape did take;
Or else I doubt if Nature could        15
So fair a creature make.
 
In life she is Diana chaste,
In truth Penelope;
In word and eke in deed steadfast:
What will you more we say?        20
 
If all the world were sought so far,
Who could find such a wight?
Her beauty twinkleth like a star
Within the frosty night.
 
Her rosial color comes and goes        25
With such a comely grace,
More ruddier too, than in the rose
Within her lovely face.
 
At Bacchus’ feast none shall her meet,
Nor at no wanton play,        30
Nor gazing in an open street,
Nor gadding as astray.
 
The modest mirth that she doth use
Is mixt with shamefastness;
All vice she doth wholly refuse,        35
And hateth idleness.
 
O Lord! it is a world to see
How virtue can repair
And deck in her such honesty,
Whom Nature made so fair!        40
 
How might I do to get a graffe
Of this unspotted tree?
For all the rest are plain but chaff,
Which seem good corn to be.
 
 
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