Archive for January 20th, 2016

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Picture by John Hughes

Come, my Muse, a Venus draw;
Not the same the Grecians saw,
By the fam’d Apelles wrought,
Beauteous Offspring of his Thought.
No fantastick Goddess mine,
Fiction far She do’s outshine.

Queen of Fancy! hither bring
On thy gaudy-feather’d Wing
All the Beauties of the Spring.
Like the Bee’s industrious Pains
To collect his Golden Gains,
So from ev’ry Flow’r and Plant
Gather first th’ immortal Paint.
Fetch me Lillies, fetch me Roses,
Daisies, Vi’lets, Cowslip-Posies,
Amaranthus’ Parrot Pride,
Woodbines, Pinks, and what beside
Do’s th’ embroider’d Meads adorn,
Where the Fawns and Satyrs play
In the merry Month of May.
Steal the Blush of op’ning Morn;
Borrow Cynthia’s Silver White,
When She shines at Noon of Night,
Free from Clouds to veil her Light.
Juno’s Bird his Tail shall spread,
Iris’ Bow its Colours shed,
All to deck this Charming Piece,
Far surpassing Ancient Greece.

First her Graceful Stature show,
Not too Tall, not yet too Low.
Fat She must not be, nor Lean;
Let her Shape be Straight and Clean;
Small her Waste, and thence increast,
Gently swells her rising Breast.
Next, in comely Order trace
All the Glories of her Face.
Paint her Neck of Ivory,
Smiling Cheeks, and Forehead high,
Ruby Lips, and sparkling Eyes,
Whence resistless Lightning flies.

Foolish Muse! what hast thou done?
Scarce th’ Outlines are yet begun,
Ere thy Pencil’s thrown aside!
‘Tis no matter, Love reply’d;
(Love’s unlucky God stood by)
At one Stroke behold how I
Will th’ unfinish’d Draught supply.

Smiling then He took his Dart,
And drew her Picture in my Heart.

From: Hughes, John and Johnson, Samuel (ed.), The Works of the English Poets. With Prefaces, Biographical and Critical. Volume the Twenty-Second. The Poems of Hughes, 1779, H. Goldney (et al): London, pp. 65-67.

Date: 1714

By: John Hughes (1677-1720)