Gerard David (c. 1450/60–1523), “The Virgin among the Virgins”
Musée des beaux-arts de Rouen
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The angel plays the mandolin
The maidens listen to his song
Of beauty’s blossom without sin—
How gentle love is although strong

Then to worlds as well as them
He serenades, he plucks the strings,
Each leaf of melody a stem
A decorative tune he sings

How many worlds in which he lives
That scarcely fit the painting’s frame?
What consolation that he gives
An angel peace that has no name

A sonnet in a symphony
Night’s midnight in its majesty