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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Wedding Veil

By Elizabeth Hussey Whittier (1815–1864)

[Born in Haverhill, Mass., 1815. Died at Amesbury, Mass., 1864.]

DEAR ANNA, when I brought her veil,

Her white veil on her wedding night,

Threw o’er my thin brown hair its folds,

And, laughing, turned me to the light.

“See, Bessie, see! you wear at last

The bridal veil forsworn for years!”

She saw my face,—her laugh was hushed,

Her happy eyes were filled with tears.

With kindly haste and trembling hand

She drew away the gauzy mist;

“Forgive, dear heart!” her sweet voice said:

Her loving lips my forehead kissed.

We passed from out the searching light;

The summer night was calm and fair:

I did not see her pitying eyes,

I felt her soft hand smooth my hair.

Her tender love unlocked my heart;

Mid falling tears, at last I said,

“Forsworn indeed to me that veil

Because I only love the dead!”

She stood one moment statue-still,

And, musing, spake in undertone,

“The living love may colder grow;

The dead is safe with God alone!”