Robert Anning Bell
British, 1863 - 1933
'When in the chronicle of wasted time'
The full title of this watercolour, enscribed on the painting's frame, is:
'"When in the chronicle of wasted time/ I see description of the fairest wights,/And beauty making beautiful old rhyme/In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights." Shakespeare.'
The title is taken from a sonnet by William Shakespeare:
XIX. "When in the chronicle of wasted time"
WHEN in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme
In praise of ladies dead, and lovely knights;
Then in the blazon of sweet beauty's best
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have exprest
Ev'n such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all, you prefiguring;
And for they look'd but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.
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