The Lady and the Painter

Robert Browning

She. YET womanhood you reverence,
            So you profess!
He.                            With heart and soul.
She. Of which fact this is evidence!
            To help Art-study,—for some dole
        Of certain wretched shillings, you
        Induce a woman—virgin too—
        To strip and stand stark-naked?
He.                                                    True.
She. Nor feel you so degrade her?
He.                                                    What
            —(Excuse the interruption)—clings
        Half-savage-like around your hat?
She.        Ah, do they please you? Wild-bird-wings!
        Next season,—Paris-prints assert,—
        We must go feathered to the skirt:
        My modiste keeps on the alert.
        Owls, hawks, jays—swallows most approve.
He.        Dare I speak plainly?
She.                                    Oh, I trust!
He. Then, Lady Blanche, it less would move
            In heart and soul of me disgust
        Did you strip off those spoils you wear,
        And stand—for thanks, not shillings—bare
        To help Art like my Model there.
        She well knew what absolved her—praise
            In me for God’s surpassing good,
        Who granted to my reverent gaze
            A type of purest womanhood.
        You—clothed with murder of his best
        Of harmless beings—stand the test!
        What is it you know?
She.                                    That you jest!

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