Stand this way–more near the window–
By my desk–you see the light
Falling on my picture better–
Thus I see it while I write!
Who the head may be I know not,
But it has a student air;
With a look half sad, half stately,
Grave sweet eyes and flowing hair.
Little care I who the painter,
How obscure a name he bore;
Nor, when some have named Velasquez,
Did I value it the more.
As it is, I would not give it
For the rarest piece of art;
It has dwelt with me, and listened
To the secrets of my heart.
Many a time, when to my garret,
Weary, I returned at night,
It has seemed to look a welcome
That has made my poor room bright.
Many a time, when ill and sleepless,
I have watched the quivering gleam
Of my lamp upon that picture,
Till it faded in my dream.
When dark days have come, and friendship
Worthless seemed, and life in vain,
That bright friendly smile has sent me
Boldly to my task again.
Sometimes when hard need has pressed me
To bow down where I despise,
I have read stern words of counsel
In those sad reproachful eyes.
Nothing that my brain imagined,
Or my weary hand has wrought,
But it watched the dim Idea
Spring forth into armed Thought.
It has smiled on my successes,
Raised me when my hopes were low,
And by turns has looked upon me
With all the loving eyes I know.
Do you wonder that my picture
Has become so like a friend?–
It has seen my life’s beginnings,
It shall stay and cheer the end!
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