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To a Painter, drawing Dorinda's Picture.

1 Painter, the utmost of thy Judgment show,
2 Exceed even Titan, and great Angelo;
3 With all the liveliness of Thought express
4 The moving Features of Dorinda's Face.
5 Thou canst not flatter, where such Beauty dwells;
6 Her Charms thy Colours, and thy Art excels.
7 Others, less Fair, may from thy Pencil have
8 Graces, which sparing Nature never gave:
9 But in Dorinda's Aspect thou wilt see
10 Such as will pose thy famous Art, and Thee:
11 So great, so many in her Face unite,
12 So well proportion'd, and so wond'rous bright;
13 No human Skill can e'er express 'em all,
14 But must do wrong to th'fair Original.
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15 An Angel's Hand alone the Pencil fits,
16 To mix the Colours, when an Angel sits.
17 Thy Picture may as like Dorinda be,
18 As Art of Man can paint a Deity;
19 And justly may perhaps, when she withdraws,
20 Excite our Wonder, and deserve Applause:
21 But when compar'd, you'll be oblig'd to own,
22 No Art can equal, what's by Nature done.
23 Great Lely's noble Hand, excell'd by few,
24 The Picture fairer than the Person drew:
25 He took the best that Nature could impart,
26 And made it better by his pow'rful Art.
27 But had he seen that bright surprizing Grace,
28 Which spreads its self o'er all Dorinda's Face,
29 Vain had been all the Essays of his Skill,
30 She must have been confest the fairest still.
31 Heaven in a Landscape may be wond'rous fine,
32 And look as bright as painted Light can shine,
33 But still the real Glories of that place
34 All Art by infinite Degrees surpass.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To a Painter, drawing Dorinda's Picture.
Author: John Pomfret
Themes: art; painting; beauty
Genres: heroic couplet; address

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Source edition

Poems upon Several Occasions. By the Reverend Mr. John Pomfret. The Sixth Edition, Corrected. With some Account Of his Life and Writings. To which are added, His Remains. London: printed for D. Brown without Temple Bar, J. Walthoe in the Temple Cloysters, A. Bettesworth, and E. Taylor, in Pater-Noster-Row, and J. Hooke in Fleetstreet, 1724, pp. 65-66. [12], 132, vi, 17p. (ESTC N21233)

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