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In a Gallery: Portrait of a Lady (Unknown)

By Katharine de Mattos

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 ?


                        178 In a Gallery

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 ?

MLA citation:

Mattos, Katharine de. “In a Gallery: Portrait of a Lady (Unknown).” The Yellow Book, vol. 2, July 1894, pp. 177-78. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.