Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Dollie Radford b. 1858

A Model

YEAR after year I sit for them,

The boys and girls who come and go,

Although my beauty’s diadem

Has lain for many seasons low.

When first I came my hair was bright,—

How hard, they said, to paint its gold,

How difficult to catch the light

Which fell upon it, fold on fold,—

How hard to give my happy youth

In all its pride of white and red;

None would believe, in very truth,

A maiden was so fair, they said.

How could they know they gave to me

The daily hope which made me fair,

Sweet promises of things to be,

The happy things I was to share.

The flowers painted round my face,

The magic seas and skies above,

And many a fair enchanted place

Full of the summer time and love.

They set me in a fairy-land,

So much more real than they knew,

And I was slow to understand

The pictures could not all come true.

But one by one, they died somehow,

The waking dreams which kept me glad,

And as I sat, they told me now,

None would believe a maid so sad.

They paint me still, but now I sit

Just for my neck and shoulder lines,

And for the little lingering bit

Of color in my hair that shines.

And as a figure worn and strange

Into their groups I sometimes stray,

To break the light, to mark their range

Of sun and shade, of grave and gay.

And evermore they come and go,

With life and hope so sweet and high,—

In all the world how should they know

There is no one so tired as I.