THE PORTRAIT.

"THOU has asked me for my portrait,

But I will not grant thy prayer.

I'm not worthy of thine easel;

I am neither great nor fair," -

Said a poet to a painter

In the dreamy days of old,

When the substance of my story

By a better tongue was told.

But the painter urged his comrade

That he should present his face

In the hall, amidst the portraits

Of his old and noble race.

And at last the friend's entreaty

Brought the much-desired permit;

But a strange, unholy message

Were the words he spake; to wit: -

"When the tomb has housed and kept me

For the space of twenty days,

Thou canst paint the wished-for portrait

Of my body as it lays."

When the tomb had called the poet,

And the twenty days were o'er,

Faithful to the very moment

Ruprecht waited at the door.

And within, in richest velvets,

On a marble couch he lay,

With his bowels all burst open

And his face half eaten away.

And his portrait there was painted

As within the tomb he lay,

And was hung up in his castle,

Where it hangeth to this day.

Z.