The official website of the award-winning and best-selling novelist
Sebastian Faulks ~ The official website of the award-winning and best-selling novelist
Verse

LOUISE JOPLING

 

Between Octavia Hill (good works)

And Lady Colin Campbell (tart)

You stand, exemplar of a double

Life: severe, yet frivolous, your folded

Fan a dominatrix stick.

Louise Jopling

Louise, daughter of iron and steam,

Your railway past has yielded now

To London parties, studio oils;

Born Goode, then Romer, Jopling, Rowe,

You borrowed names of men in Paris,

Lost yours in Manchester or Crewe —

Your swelling hips in Millais’s hectic

Dress, so girlish one would hardly

a

Guess your later passion for

The female vote. Between the sensual

And serious, your level eyes declare

The woman’s purpose almost formed

Beneath the pretty, parted hair;

Claim victory in your skate-edged

Progress through a polar life.

Written for the National Portrait Gallery, April 2009

(detail from a portrait by Sir John Everett Millais, 1879)

Share