Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1615. A Portrait
By Caroline Duer
A MAN more kindly, in his careless way,
  Than many who profess a higher creed;
Whose fickle love might change from day to day,
  And yet be faithful to a friend in need;
Whose manners covered, through life’s outs and ins,        5
Like charity, a multitude of sins.
A man of honor, too, as such things go;
  Discreet and secret—qualities of use—
Selfish, but not self-conscious, generous, slow
  To anger, but most ready in excuse.        10
His wit and cleverness consisted not
So much in what he said as what he got.
His principles one might not quite commend,
  And they were much too simple to mistake:
Never to turn his back upon a friend,        15
  Never to lie, but for a woman’s sake,
To take the sweets that came within his way,
And pay the price if there were price to pay.
Idle, good-looking, negatively wise,
  lazy in action, plausible in speech;        20
Favor he found in many women’s eyes,
  And valued most that which was hard to reach.
Few are both true and tender, and he grew,
In time, a little tenderer than true.
Knowing much evil, half-regretting good,        25
  As we regret a childish impulse—lost,
Wearied with knowledge best not understood,
  Bored with the disenchantment that it cost;
But, in conclusion, with no failings hid:
A gentleman, no matter what he did.        30


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