Laurence Hope

(1865-1904 / India)

Marriage Thoughts: By Morsellin Khan - Poem by Laurence Hope

I give you my house and my lands, all golden with harvest;
My sword, my shield, and my jewels, the spoils of my strife,
My strength and my dreams, and aught I have gathered of glory,
And to-night--to-night, I shall give you my very life.

I may not raise my eyes, O my Lord, towards you,
And I may not speak: what matter? my voice would fail.
But through my dowacast lashes, feeling your beauty,
I shiver and burn with pleasure beneath my veil.

_Younger Sisters_
We throw sweet perfume upon her head,
And delicate flowers round her bed.
Ah, would that it were our turn to wed!

I see my daughter, vaguely, through my tears,
(Ah, lost caresses of my early years!)
I see the bridegroom, King of men in truth!
(Ah, my first lover, and my vanished youth!)

Almost I dread this night. My senses fail me.
How shall I dare to clasp a thing so dear?
Many have feared your name, but I your beauty.
Lord of my life, be gentle to my fear!

_Younger Sisters_
In the softest silk is our sister dressed,
With silver rubies upon her breast,
Where a dearer treasure to-night will rest.

_Dancing Girls_
See! his hair is like silk, and his teeth are whiter
Than whitest of jasmin flowers. Pity they marry him thus.
I would change my jewels against his caresses.
Verily, sisters, this marriage is greatly a loss to us!

Would that the music ceased and the night drew round us,
With solitude, shadow, and sound of closing doors,
So that our lips might meet and our beings mingle,
While mine drank deep of the essence, beloved, of yours.

_Passing mendicant_
Out of the joy of your marriage feast,
Oh, brothers, be good to me.
The way is long and the Shrine is far,
Where my weary feet would be.

And feasting is always somewhat sad
To those outside the door--
Still; Love is only a dream, and Life
Itself is hardly more!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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