Laurence Hope

Laurence Hope Poems

Whether I loved you who shall say?
Whether I drifted down your way
In the endless River of Chance and Change,
And you woke the strange

Who does not feel desire unending
To solace through his daily strife,
With some mysterious Mental Blending,
The hungry loneliness of life?

Song by Valgovind

The fields are full of Poppies, and the skies are very blue,
By the Temple in the coppice, I wait, Beloved, for you.

Do you ever think of me? you who died
Ere our Youth's first fervour chilled,
With your soft eyes and your pulses stilled

When I am dying, lean over me tenderly, softly,
Stoop, as the yellow roses droop in the wind from the South.

Beloved! your hair was golden
As tender tints of sunrise,
As corn beside the River

Ah, the cool silence of the shaded hours,
The scent and colour of the jungle flowers!

I, who of lighter love wrote many a verse,
Made public never words inspired by thee,
Lest strangers' lips should carelessly rehearse

Give me your self one hour; I do not crave
For any love, or even thought, of me.
Come, as a Sultan may caress a slave


How I loved you in your sleep,
With the starlight on your hair!

The touch of your lips was sweet,

The Desert is parched in the burning sun
And the grass is scorched and white.
But the sand is passed, and the march is done,

Beat on the Tom-toms, and scatter the flowers,
Jasmin, Hibiscus, vermillion and white,
This is the day, and the Hour of Hours,

Song of Khan Zada

Only in August my heart was aflame,
Catching the scent of your Wind-stirred hair,


You are my God, and I would fain adore You
With sweet and secret rites of other days.

I give you my house and my lands, all golden with harvest;
My sword, my shield, and my jewels, the spoils of my strife,

Oh, Silver Stars that shine on what I love,
Touch the soft hair and sparkle in the eyes,--
Send, from your calm serenity above,

His back is bent and his lips are blue,
Shivering out in the wet:
'Here's a florin, my man, for you,
Go and get drunk and forget!'

She was fair as a Passion-flower,
(But little of love he knew.)
Her lucent eyes were like amber wine,
And her eyelids stained with blue.


Out I came from the dancing-place:
The night-wind met me face to face--

A wind off the harbour, cold and keen,

The tremulous morning is breaking
Against the white waste of the sky,
And hundreds of birds are awaking
In tamarisk bushes hard by.

Laurence Hope Biography

Adela Florence Nicolson (née Cory) (9 April 1865-4 October 1904) was an English poet who wrote under the pseudonym Laurence Hope. She was born on 9 April 1865 at Stoke Bishop, Gloucestershire, the second of three daughters to Colonel Arthur Cory and Fanny Elizabeth Griffin. Her father was employed in the British army at Lahore, and thus she was raised by her relatives back in England. She left for India in 1881 to join her father. Her father was editor of the Lahore arm of The Civil and Military Gazette, and it was he who in all probability gave Rudyard Kipling (a contemporary of his daughter) his first employment as a journalist. Her sisters Annie Sophie Cory and Isabel Cory also pursued writing careers: Annie wrote popular, racy novels under the pseudonym "Victoria Cross," while Isabel assisted and then succeeded their father as editor of the Sind Gazette. Adela married Colonel Malcolm Hassels Nicolson, who was then twice her age and commandant of the 3rd Baluchi Regiment in April 1889. A talented linguist, he introduced her to his love of India and native customs and food, which she began to share. This widely gave the couple a reputation for being eccentric. They lived in Mhow for nearly ten years. After he died in a prostate operation, Adela, who had been prone to depression since childhood, committed suicide by poisoning herself and died at the age of 39 on 4 October 1904 in Madras. Her son Malcolm published her Selected Poems posthumously in 1922. In 1901, she published Garden of Kama, which was published a year later in America under the title India's Love Lyrics. She attempted to pass these off as translations of various poets, but this claim soon fell under suspicion. Somerset Maugham published a story called The Colonel's Lady loosely based on the ensuing scandal. Her poems often used imagery and symbols from the poets of the North-West Frontier of India and the Sufi poets of Persia. She was among the most popular romantic poets of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her poems are typically about unrequited love and loss and often, the death that followed such an unhappy state of affairs. Many of them have an air of autobiography or confession. Her poetry was extremely popular during the Edwardian period, being hailed by such men as Thomas Hardy, and having two films as well as some musical adaptions of her poetry made, but since then her reputation has faded into near-obscurity. British composer Amy Woodforde-Finden set four of her lyrics from The Garden of Kama to music, the most popular of which was Kashmiri Song; and after these proved a critical success, set four more lyrics from Stars of the Desert (published in 1903) to music as well. Details on her life are not easy to find due to her relative lack of letters, but Lesley Blanch in her book, Under A Lilac-Bleeding Star, included some biographical information that drew on unpublished memoirs written by her son. In Diaries and Letters from India, Violet Jacob provided some information about the Nicolsons and their milieu, although most of what is known of Violet, as she came to be known, had to be gleaned through her poetry. It is tempting to read much of her own life into her poems, but one must be careful in doing this, yet her dedication to her husband in this verse: I, who of lighter love wrote many a verse, Made public never words inspired by thee, Lest strangers' lips should carelessly rehearse Things that were sacred and too dear to me. Thy soul was noble; through these fifteen years Mine eyes familiar, found no fleck nor flaw, Stern to thyself, thy comrades' faults and fears Proved generosity thine only law. Small joy was I to thee; before we met Sorrow had left thee all too sad to save. Useless my love----as vain as this regret That pours my hopeless life across thy grave. shortly before her suicide makes it hard for people to avoid this.)

The Best Poem Of Laurence Hope

The Teak Forest

Whether I loved you who shall say?
Whether I drifted down your way
In the endless River of Chance and Change,
And you woke the strange
Unknown longings that have no names,
But burn us all in their hidden flames,
Who shall say?

Life is a strange and a wayward thing:
We heard the bells of the Temples ring,
The married children, in passing, sing.
The month of marriage, the month of spring,
Was full of the breath of sunburnt flowers
That bloom in a fiercer light than ours,
And, under a sky more fiercely blue,
I came to you!

You told me tales of your vivid life
Where death was cruel and danger rife--
Of deep dark forests, of poisoned trees,
Of pains and passions that scorch and freeze,
Of southern noontides and eastern nights,
Where love grew frantic with strange delights,
While men were slaying and maidens danced,
Till I, who listened, lay still, entranced.
Then, swift as a swallow heading south,
I kissed your mouth!

One night when the plains were bathed in blood
From sunset light in a crimson flood,
We wandered under the young teak trees
Whose branches whined in the light night breeze;
You led me down to the water's brink,
'The Spring where the Panthers come to drink
At night; there is always water here
Be the season never so parched and sere.'
Have we souls of beasts in the forms of men?
I fain would have tasted your life-blood then.

The night fell swiftly; this sudden land
Can never lend us a twilight strand
'Twixt the daylight shore and the ocean night,
But takes--as it gives--at once, the light.
We laid us down on the steep hillside,
While far below us wild peacocks cried,
And we sometimes heard, in the sunburnt grass,
The stealthy steps of the Jungle pass.
We listened; knew not whether they went
On love or hunger the more intent.
And under your kisses I hardly knew
Whether I loved or hated you.

But your words were flame and your kisses fire,
And who shall resist a strong desire?
Not I, whose life is a broken boat
On a sea of passions, adrift, afloat.
And, whether I came in love or hate,
That I came to you was written by Fate
In every hue of the blood-red sky,
In every tone of the peacocks' cry.

While every gust of the Jungle night
Was fanning the flame you had set alight.
For these things have power to stir the blood
And compel us all to their own chance mood.
And to love or not we are no more free
Than a ripple to rise and leave the sea.

We are ever and always slaves of these,
Of the suns that scorch and the winds that freeze,
Of the faint sweet scents of the sultry air,
Of the half heard howl from the far off lair.
These chance things master us ever. Compel
To the heights of Heaven, the depths of Hell.

Whether I love you? You do not ask,
Nor waste yourself on the thankless task.
I give your kisses at least return,
What matter whether they freeze or burn.
I feel the strength of your fervent arms,
What matter whether it heals or harms.

You are wise; you take what the Gods have sent.
You ask no question, but rest content
So I am with you to take your kiss,
And perhaps I value you more for this.
For this is Wisdom; to love, to live,
To take what Fate, or the Gods, may give,
To ask no question, to make no prayer,
To kiss the lips and caress the hair,
Speed passion's ebb as you greet its flow,--
To have,--to hold,--and,--in time,--let go!

And this is our Wisdom: we rest together
On the great lone hills in the storm-filled weather,
And watch the skies as they pale and burn,
The golden stars in their orbits turn,
While Love is with us, and Time and Peace,
And life has nothing to give but these.
But, whether you love me, who shall say,
Or whether you, drifting down my way
In the great sad River of Chance and Change,
With your looks so weary and words so strange,
Lit my soul from some hidden flame
To a passionate longing without a name,
Who shall say?
Not I, who am but a broken boat,
Content for a while to drift afloat
In the little noontide of love's delights
Between two Nights.

Laurence Hope Comments

Bruce Bridgewood 30 August 2018

what is the book called? #

1 0 Reply
Bea Grayson 18 January 2018

I was given this book in my early teens and I am 83 now and still re-read her poetry.and still have the book

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