To a Portrait of Whistler in the Brooklyn Art Museum
What waspish whim of Fate Was this that bade you here Hold dim, unhonored state, No single courtier near?
Is there, of all who pass, No choice, discerning few To poise the ribboned glass And gaze enwrapt on you?
Sword-soul that from its sheath Laughed leaping to the fray, How calmly underneath Goes Brooklyn on her way!
Quite heedless of that smile — Half-devil and half-god, Your quite unequalled style, The airy heights you trod.
Ah, could you from earth's breast Come back to take the air, What matter here for jest Most exquisite and rare!
But since you may not come, Since silence holds you fast, Since all your quips are dumb And all your laughter past —
I give you mine instead, And something with it too That Brooklyn leaves unsaid — The world's fine homage due.
Ah, Prince, you smile again — "My faith, the court is small!" I know, dear James — but then It's I or none at all!