(Article is below...)

On Carpaccio's Picture: The Dream of St. Ursula by Amy Lowell


The poem is based on "The Dream of St. Ursula", which is a tempura painting made by Venetian Vittore Carpaccio in 1495. In the painting, an angel stands at the foot of the bed with Ursula sleeping in a large double bed.

Unlike many of Lowell's writings, "On Carpaccio's Picture: The Dream of St. Ursula" is written with a rhyme scheme. She uses ABBAABBABBABBA. The poem is written as a single stanza, but the indentions let us divide it into six parts: Four three-lined stanzas and two one-lined stanzas. It is written in iambic-pentameter.


On Carpaccio's Picture: The Dream of St. Ursula

Swept, clean, and still, across the polished floor
 From some unshuttered casement, hid from sight,
 The level sunshine slants, its greater light
Quenching the little lamp which pallid, poor,
Flickering, unreplenished, at the door
 Has striven against darkness the long night.
 Dawn fills the room, and penetrating, bright,
The silent sunbeams through the window pour.
 And she lies sleeping, ignorant of Fate,
 Enmeshed in listless dreams, her soul not yet
Ripened to bear the purport of this day.
 The morning breeze scarce stirs the coverlet,
 A shadow falls across the sunlight; wait!
A lark is singing as he flies away.

Published in "A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass" .

Next: Sea Shell