In a Gallery

Portrait of a Lady (Unknown)

Veiled eyes, yet quick to meet one glance1
Not his, not yours, but mine,2
Lips that are fain to stir and breathe3
Dead joys (not love nor wine) :4
’Tis not in you the secret lurks5
That makes men pause and pass !6
Did unseen magic flow from you7
Long since to madden hearts,8
And those who loathed remain to pray9
And work their dolorous parts10
To seek your riddle, dread or sweet,11
And find it in the grave ?12
Till some one painted you one day,13
Perchance to ease his soul,14
And set you here to wave your spells15
While time and silence roll ;16
And you were hungry for the hour17
When one should understand ?18
Your jewelled fingers writhe and gleam19
From out your sombre vest ;20
Am I the first of those who gaze,21
Who may their meaning guess,22
Yet dare not whisper lest the words23
Pale even painted cheeks ?24