To Giovanni Bellini
Thou didst not slight with vain and partial scorn
The inspirations of our nature's youth,
Knowing that Beauty, wheresoe'er 'tis born,
Must ever be the foster--child of Truth.
Nor didst thou lower the Mother of the Lord
To the mere Goddess of a Pagan bower,
But with such grace as Christians have adored
Those sense--delighting charms thou didst empower;
And would that they who followed thee, and gave
To famous Venice yet another fame,
To be the Painter's home, had done the same,
Nor made their Art the imitative slave
Of those dead forms, as if the Christian span
Embraced no living Poetry for man.
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