The Portrait

The portrait there above my bed
They tell me is a work of art;
My Wife,--since twenty years she's dead:
Her going nearly broke my heart.
Alas! No little ones we had
To light our hearth with joy and glee;
Yet as I linger lone and sad
I know she's waiting me.

The picture? Sargent painted it,
And it has starred in many a show.
Her eyes are on me where I sit,
And follow me where'er I go.
She'll smile like that when I am gone,
And I am frail and oh so ill!
Aye, when I'm waxen, cold and wan,
Lo! She'll be smiling still.

So I have bade them slash in strips
That relic of my paradise.
Let flame destroy those lovely lips
And char the starlight of her eyes!
No human gaze shall ever see
Her beauty,--stranger heart to stir:
Nay, her last smile shall be for me,
My last look be for her.

by Robert William Service

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