Oh Could I Raise the Darken'd Veil


Though not widely recognized for his poetry, Oh Could I Raise the Darken'd Veil is a fine example of Hawthorne's achievements in the Dark Romanticism genre. It was first published in his family's amateur newspaper Hawthorne edited when he was only 16, The Spectator in 1820.
Oh Could I Raise the Darken'd Veil
Crape veil from 1880, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Oh could I raise the darken’d veil,
Which hides my future life from me,
Could unborn ages slowly sail,
Before my view—and could I see
My every action painted there,
To cast one look I would not dare.
There poverty and grief might stand,
And dark Despair’s corroding hand,
Would make me seek the lonely tomb
To slumber in its endless gloom.
Then let me never cast a look,
Within Fate’s fix’d mysterious book.

You may also enjoy reading Hawthorne's short story, a parable: The Minister's Black Veil


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