My Portrait Gallery

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My Portrait Gallery
by James Russell Lowell
Featured in Vol 1., No.2 of The Atlantic Monthly.

My Portrait Gallery

    Oft round my hall of portraiture I gaze,
    By Memory reared, the artist wise and holy,
    From stainless quarries of deep-buried days.
    There, as I muse in soothing melancholy,
    Your faces glow in more than mortal youth,
    Companions of my prime, now vanished wholly,—
    The loud, impetuous boy, the low-voiced maiden.
    Ah, never master that drew mortal breath
    Can match thy portraits, just and generous Death,
    Whose brush with sweet regretful tints is laden!
    Thou paintest that which struggled here below
    Half understood, or understood for woe,
    And, with a sweet forewarning,
    Mak'st round the sacred front an aureole glow
    Woven of that light that rose on Easter morning.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.