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A Portrait.

Nathaniel Parker Willis 1806 (Portland) – 1867



She was not very beautiful, if it be beauty's test
To match a classic model when perfectly at rest;
And she did not look bewitchingly, if witchery it be,
To have a forehead and a lip transparent as the sea.
 
The fashion of her gracefulness was not a follow'd rule,
And her effervescent sprightliness was never learnt at school;
And her words were all peculiar, like the fairy's who 'spoke pearls;'
And her tone was ever sweetest midst the cadences of girls.
 
Said I she was not beautiful? Her eyes upon your sight
Broke with the lambent purity of planetary light,
And an intellectual beauty, like a light within a vase,
Touched every line with glory of her animated face.
 
Her mind with sweets was laden, like a morning breath in June,
And her thoughts awoke in harmony, like dreamings of a tune,
And you heard her words like voices that o'er the waters creep,
Or like a serenader's lute that mingles with your sleep.
 
She had an earnest intellect - a perfect thirst of mind,
And a heart by elevated thoughts and poetry refin'd,
And she saw a subtle tint or shade with every careless look,
And the hidden links of nature were familiar as a book.
 
She's made of those rare elements that now and then appear,
As if remov'd by accident unto a lesser sphere,
Forever reaching up, and on, to life's sublimer things,
As if they had been used to track the universe with wings.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Nathaniel Parker Willis

Nathaniel Parker Willis, also known as N. P. Willis, was an American author, poet and editor who worked with several notable American writers including Edgar Allan Poe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He became the highest-paid magazine writer of his day. For a time, he was the employer of former slave and future writer Harriet Jacobs. His brother was the composer Richard Storrs Willis and his sister wrote under the name Fanny Fern. Born in Portland, Maine, Willis came from a family of publishers. His grandfather Nathaniel Willis owned newspapers in Massachusetts and Virginia, and his father Nathaniel Willis was the founder of Youth's Companion, the first newspaper specifically for children. Willis developed an interest in literature while attending Yale College and began publishing poetry. After graduation, he worked as an overseas correspondent for the New York Mirror. He eventually moved to New York and began to build his literary reputation. Working with multiple publications, he was earning about $100 per article and between $5,000 and $10,000 per year. In 1846, he started his own publication, the Home Journal, which was eventually renamed Town & Country. Shortly after, Willis moved to a home on the Hudson River where he lived a semi-retired life until his death in 1867. more…

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