Letitia Elizabeth Landon

(1802-1838 / England)

The Nizam’s Daughter


SHE is yet a child in years,
Twelve springs are on her face,
Yet in her slender form appears
The woman's perfect grace.
Her silken hair, that glossy black,
But only to be found
There, or upon the raven's back,
Falls sweeping to the ground.

'Tis parted in two shining braids
With silver and with gold,
And one large pearl by contrast aids
The darkness of each fold.
And for she is so young, that flowers
Seem natural to her now,
There wreaths the champac's snowy showers
Around her sculptured brow.

Close to her throat the silvery vest
By shining clasps is bound,
Scarce may her graceful shape be guest,
Mid drapery floating round.
But the small curve of that veined throat,
Like marble, but more warm,
The fairy foot and hand denote
How perfect is the form.

Upon the ankle and the wrist
There is a band of gold,
No step by Grecian fountain kiss'd,
Was of diviner mould.
In the bright girdle round her waist,
Where the red rubies shine,
The kandjar's glittering hilt is placed,
To mark her royal line.

Her face is like the moonlight pale,
Strangely and purely fair,
For never summer sun nor gale
Has touched the softness there.
There are no colours of the rose,
Alone the lip is red;
No blush disturbs the sweet repose
Which o'er that cheek is shed.

And yet the large black eyes, like night,
Have passion and have power;
Within their sleepy depths is light
For some wild wakening hour.
A world of sad and tender dreams
'Neath those long lashes sleep,
A native pensiveness that seems
Too still and sweet to weep.

Of such seclusion know we nought:
Yet surely woman here
Grows shrouded from all common thought,
More delicate and dear.
And love, thus made a thing apart,
Must seem the more divine,
When the sweet temple of the heart
Is a thrice-veiled shrine.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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