The Yellow Book/Volume 2/In a Gallery

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In a Gallery

Portrait of a Lady (Unknown)

VEILED eyes, yet quick to meet one glance
Not his, not yours, but mine,
Lips that are fain to stir and breathe
Dead joys (not love nor wine):
Tis not in you the secret lurks
That makes men pause and pass!

Did unseen magic flow from you
Long since to madden hearts,
And those who loathed remain to pray
And work their dolorous parts—
To seek your riddle, dread or sweet,
And find it in the grave?

Till some one painted you one day,
Perchance to ease his soul,
And set you here to weave your spells
While time and silence roll;
And you were hungry for the hour
When one should understand?

Your jewelled fingers writhe and gleam
From out your sombre vest;
Am I the first of those who gaze,
Who may their meaning guess,
Yet dare not whisper lest the words
Pale even painted cheeks?