I think and think: yet still I fail – Why must this lady wear a veil? Why thus elect to mask her face. Beneath that dainty web of lace? The tip of a small nose I see, and two red lips, set curiously. Like twin-born berries on one stem, and yet, she has netted even them. Her eyes, ’tis plain, survey with ease. Whate’er to glance upon they please. Yet, whether hazel, gray, or blue, or that even lovelier lilac hue. I cannot guess: why – why deny – Such beauty to the passer-by? Out of a bush a nightingale may expound his song; from ‘neath that veil. A happy mouth no doubt can make english sound sweeter for its sake. But then, why muffle in like this, what every blossomy wind would kiss? Why in that little night disguise – A daybreak face, those starry eyes?

“The Veil”
Walter de la Mare (1873–1956)

Walter de la Mare is considered one of modern literature’s chief exemplars of the romantic imagination. His complete works form a sustained treatment of romantic themes: dreams, death, rare states of mind and emotion, fantasy worlds of childhood, and the pursuit of the transcendent.

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