More & More Romance

Girl Reading on a Stone Porch, 1872
by Winslow Homer



Of my fair lady's lovers there were two
Who loved her more than all; nor she, nor they
Guessed which of these loved better, for one way
This had of living, that another knew.
One round her neck brave arms of empire threw
And covered her with kisses where she lay;
The other sat apart, nor did betray
Sweet sorrow at that sight; but rather drew
His pleasure of his lady through the soul
And sense of this one. So there truly ran
Two separate loves through one embrace; the whole
This lady had of both, when one began
To clasp her close, and win her dear lips' goal.
Now read my lovers' riddle if you can.

-Richard Watson Gilder

This is the painting that the friend's child thought was of Helena. (see previous page article). Homer copied other peoples' work and reused his own work. He had props he kept to reuse in other paintings. There is a chair that was in his 10th Street studio that appears several times. He brought back a fisherwoman's outfit from England that was used in paintings for several years. The hat above appears in several incarnations. (See detail from the "The Morning Bell" below) The question is: did the lady keep the hat or did Homer have it?

This and "Snap The Whip" and several other related works are from the 1871 and 1872 time frame. All were done around the Hurley area. Could this be Helena as well?

"The Bridal Path" (above) dates from 1868 and this one [detail from "The Morning Bell"] is from 1871. What is the average life span of a lady's hat in the Gilded Age?

The painting below is titled "Shall I Tell Your Fortune?" and dates from 1876. I don't know why this one hasn't been included in the pile of 'could of been' Helena. It looks like her, its her coloring and its terribly symbolic.


I like her gentle hand that sometimes stays,
To find the place, though the same book with mine;
I like her feet; and O, those eyes divine!
And when we say farewell, perhaps she stays
Love-lingering-- then hurries on her ways,
As if she thought, "To end my pain and thine."
I like her voice better than new-made wine;
I like the mandolin whereon she plays.
And I like, too, the cloak I saw her wear,
And the red scarf that her white neck doth cover,
And well I like the door that she comes through;
I like the riband that doth bind her hair--
But then, in truth, I am that lady's lover,
And every new day there is something new.

-Richard Watson Gilder