Robert Southey: Ariste

Let ancient stories round the painter’s art,
Who stole from many a maid his Venus’ charms,
Till warm devotion fired each gazer’s heart
And every bosom bounded with alarms.
He culled the beauties of his native isle,
From some the blush of beauty’s vermeil dyes,
From some the lovely look, the winning smile,
From some the languid lustre of the eyes.

Low to the finished form the nations round
In adoration bent the pious knee;
With myrtle wreaths the artist’s brow they crowned,
Whose skill, Ariste, only imaged thee.
Ill-fated artist, doomed so wide to seek
The charms that blossom on Ariste’s cheek!

 

Robert Southey, 1774-1843

Ariste (perfect), is the title of the Greek god Artemis

Image: 18th century portrait of Artemis (Artist unknown)

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Author: jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space

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