KOTRI, BY THE RIVER
translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)
- T Kotri, by the river, when evening's sun is low,
- The waving palm trees quiver, the golden waters glow,
- The shining ripples shiver, descending to the sea;
- At Kotri, by the river, she used to wait for me.
- So young, she was, and slender, so pale with wistful eyes
- As luminous and tender as Kotri's twilight skies.
- Her face broke into flowers, red flowers at the mouth,
- Her voice, -- she sang for hours like bulbuls in the south.
- We sat beside the water through burning summer days,
- And many things I taught her of Life and all its ways.
- Of Love, man's loveliest duty, of Passion's reckless pain,
- Of Youth, whose transient beauty comes once, but not again.
- She lay and laughed and listened beside the water's edge.
- The glancing river glistened and glinted through the sedge.
- Green parrots flew above her and, as the daylight died,
- Her young arms drew her lover more closely to her side.
- Oh days so warm and golden! oh nights so cool and still!
- When Love would not be holden, and Pleasure had his will.
- Days, when in after leisure, content to rest we lay,
- Nights, when her lips' soft pressure drained all my life away.
- And while we sat together, beneath the Babul trees,
- The fragrant, sultry weather cooled by the river breeze,
- If passion faltered ever, and left the senses free,
- We heard the tireless river descending to the sea.
- I know not where she wandered, or went in after days,
- Or if her youth were squandered in Love's more doubtful ways.
- Perhaps, beside the river, she died, still young and fair;
- Perchance the grasses quiver above her slumber there.
- At Kotri, by the river, maybe I too shall sleep
- The sleep that lasts for ever, too deep for dreams; too deep.
- Maybe among the shingle and sand of floods to be
- Her dust and mine may mingle and float away to sea.
- Ah Kotri, by the river, when evening's sun is low,
- Your faint reflections quiver, your golden ripples glow.
- You knew, oh Kotri river, that love which could not last.
- For me your palms still shiver with passions of the past.
POEMS BY LAURENCE HOPE
|"Kotri, by the River" is reprinted from India's Love Lyrics. Trans. Laurence Hope. New York: John Lane Co., 1906.