Drawing of Roses and Violets

Image: da Vinci, Leonardo,  Studies of Flowers. Metalpoint, pen and ink on slightly brownish paper. 18.3 x 20.1 cm. © Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice. 

Leonardo da Vinci

The Accademia of Venice
 

LEONARDO saw the spring 
Centuries ago, 
Saw the spring and loved it in its flowers— 
Violet, rose : 
One that grows 
Mystic, shining on the tufted bowers, 
And burns its incense to the summer hours ; 
And one that hiding low, 
Half-face, half-wing, 
With shaded wiles 
Hides and yet smiles. 

Leonardo drew the blooms 
On an April day : 
How his subtle pencil loved its toil, 
Loved to draw ! 
For he saw 
In the rose's amorous, open coil 
Women's placid temples that would foil 
Hearts in the luring way 
That checks and dooms 
Men with reserve 
Of limpid curve. 

Leonardo loved the still 
Violet as it blows, 
Plucked it from the darkness of its leaves, 
Where it shoots 
From wet roots ; 
Found in it the precious smile that weaves 
Sweetness round Madonna's mouth and heaves 
Her secret lips, then goes, 
At its fine will, 
About her face 
He loved to trace. 

Leonardo drew in spring, 
Restless spring gone by, 
Flowers he chose should never after fade 
For the wealth
Of strange stealth 
In the rose, the violet's half-displayed, 
Mysterious smile within the petals' shade 
That season did not die, 
Like everything, 
Of ruin's blight 
And April's flight.

Leonardo da Vinci

The Accademia of Venice
 

LEONARDO saw the spring 
Centuries ago, 
Saw the spring and loved it in its flowers— 
Violet, rose : 
One that grows 
Mystic, shining on the tufted bowers, 
And burns its incense to the summer hours
And one that hiding low, 
Half-face, half-wing, 
With shaded wiles 
Hides and yet smiles. 

Leonardo drew the blooms 
On an April day : 
How his subtle pencil loved its toil, 
Loved to draw ! 
For he saw 
In the rose's amorous, open coil 
Women's placid temples that would foil 
Hearts in the luring way 
That checks and dooms 
Men with reserve 
Of limpid curve. 

Leonardo loved the still 
Violet as it blows, 
Plucked it from the darkness of its leaves, 
Where it shoots 
From wet roots ; 
Found in it the precious smile that weaves 
Sweetness round Madonna's mouth and heaves 
Her secret lips, then goes, 
At its fine will, 
About her face 
He loved to trace. 

Leonardo drew in spring, 
Restless spring gone by, 
Flowers he chose should never after fade 
For the wealth
Of strange stealth 
In the rose, the violet's half-displayed, 
Mysterious smile within the petals' shade 
That season did not die, 
Like everything, 
Of ruin's blight 
And April's flight.

 

Image: da Vinci, Leonardo,  Studies of Flowers. Metalpoint, pen and ink on slightly brownish paper. 18.3 x 20.1 cm. © Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice.