Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
For a Lady’s Album
By John Pierpont (1785–1866)
 
Grace is deceitful, and beauty vain.—SOLOMON.

OH, say not, wisest of all the kings
  That have risen on Israel’s throne to reign!
Say not, as one of your wisest things,
  That grace is false, and beauty vain.
 
Your harem beauties resign! resign        5
  Their lascivious dance, their voluptuous song!
To your garden come forth, among things divine,
  And own you do grace and beauty wrong.
 
Is beauty vain because it will fade?
  Then are earth’s green robe and heaven’s light vain;        10
For this shall be lost in evening’s shade,
  And that in winter’s sleety rain.
 
But earth’s green mantle, prank’d with flowers,
  Is the couch where life with joy reposes;
And heaven gives down, with its light and showers,        15
  To regale them, fruits; to deck them, roses.
 
And while opening flowers in such beauty spread,
  And ripening fruits so gracefully swing,
Say not, O king, as you just now said,
  That beauty or grace is a worthless thing.        20
 
This willow’s limbs, as they bend in the breeze,
  The dimpled face of the pool to kiss;
Who, that has eyes and a heart, but sees
  That there is beauty and grace in this!
 
And do not these boughs all whisper of Him,        25
  Whose smile is the light that in green arrays them;
Who sitteth, in peace, on the wave they skim,
  And whose breath is the gentle wind that sways them?
 
And are not the beauty and grace of youth,
  Like those of this willow, the work of love?        30
Do they not come, like the voice of truth,
  That is heard all around us here from above?
 
Then say not, wisest of all the kings
  That have risen on Israel’s throne to reign!
Say not, as one of your wisest things,        35
  That grace is false, and beauty vain.
 
 
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