Ah, thus she was: that very face.
The self-same look, the self-same grace;
With the same blush she coloured then,
That vision I knew long ago
Then, when of love I dreamt, and so
In dreams I lost myself again.
Exactly thus: the lofty stance,
Yes, and the pensive countenance,
And a sweet gentle sadness played
Around her, as it were a veil
Falling about her: tender, pale
Her beauty softened through that shade.
Thus was she: her ingenuous speech,
Half-vulgar even, yet could reach
Beyond the power of reason’s art,
Not to seduce but to strike deep;
A light and not a flame, to keep
To guide upon its ways the heart.
But oh, thou art not she, not she:
All the illusion fades; I see
No more the vision I knew long ago,
And that thou art not she I tell
By this: she had a heart, and well
I knew, I felt, its throb and glow!
From the Portuguese of Joao Baptista, Visconde de Almeida Garret (1799-1854)
Translated by O.H.K. Spate
Image credit: Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Transfer from the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, American Professional Photographers Collection