by Laurence Hope
Beloved! your hair was golden
As tender tints of sunrise,
As corn beside the River
In softly varying hues.
I loved you for your slightness,
Your melancholy sweetness,
Your changeful eyes, that promised
What your lips would still refuse.
You came to me, and loved me,
Were mine upon the River,
The azure water saw us
And the blue transparent sky;
The Lotus flowers knew it,
Our happiness together,
While life was only River,
Only love, and you and I.
Love wakened on the River,
To sounds of running water,
With silver Stars for witness
And reflected Stars for light;
Awakened to existence,
With ripples for first music
And sunlight on the River
For earliest sense of sight.
Love grew upon the River
Among the scented flowers,
The open rosy flowers
Of the Lotus buds in bloom--
Love, brilliant as the Morning,
More fervent than the Noon-day,
And tender as the Twilight
In its blue transparent gloom.
Love died upon the River!
Cold snow upon the mountains,
The Lotus leaves turned yellow
And the water very grey.
Our kisses faint and falter,
The clinging hands unfasten,
The golden time is over
And our passion dies away.
Away. To be forgotten,
A ripple on the River,
That flashes in the sunset,
That flashed,--and died away.
Second Song: The Girl from Baltistan
Throb, throb, throb,
Far away in the blue transparent Night,
On the outer horizon of a dreaming consciousness,
She hears the sound of her lover's nearing boat
On the river's loneliness, where the Stars are the only light;
Hear the sound of the straining wood
Like a broken sob
Of a heart's distress,
She lies, with her loose hair spent in soft disorder,
On a silken sheet with a purple woven border,
Every cell of her brain is latent fire,
Every fibre tense with restrained desire.
And the straining oars sound clearer, clearer,
The boat is approaching nearer, nearer;
"How to wait through the moments' space
Till I see the light of my lover's face?"
Throb, throb, throb,
The sound dies down the stream
Till it only clings at the senses' edge
Like a half-remembered dream.
Doubtless, he in the silence lies,
His fair face turned to the tender skies,
Starlight touching his sleeping eyes.
While his boat caught in the thickset sedge
And the waters round it gurgle and sob,
Or floats set free on the river's tide,
Oars laid aside.
She is awake and knows no rest,
Passion dies and is dispossessed
Of his brief, despotic power.
But the Brain, once kindled, would still be afire
Were the whole world pasture to its desire,
And all of love, in a single hour,--
A single wine cup, filled to the brim,
Given to slake its thirst.
Some there are who are thus-wise cursed
Times that follow fulfilled desire
Are of all their hours the worst.
They find no Respite and reach no Rest,
Though passion fail and desire grow dim,
No assuagement comes from the thing possessed
For possession feeds the fire.
"Oh, for the life of the bright hued things
Whose marriage and death are one,
A floating fusion on golden wings.
Alit with passion and sun!
"But we who re-marry a thousand times,
As the spirit or senses will,
In a thousand ways, in a thousand climes,
We remain unsatisfied still."
As her lover left her, alone, awake she lies,
With a sleepless brain and weary, half-closed eyes.
She turns her face where the purple silk is spread,
Still sweet with delicate perfume his presence shed.
Her arms remembered his vanished beauty still,
And, reminiscent of clustered curls, her fingers thrill.
While the wonderful, Starlit Night wears slowly on
Till the light of another day, serene and wan,
Pierces the eastern skies.
Last updated January 14, 2019