LOST DELIGHT AFTER THE HAZARA WAR
translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)
- LIE alone, beneath the Almond blossoms,
- Where we two lay together in the spring,
- And now, as then, the mountain snows are melting,
- This year, as last, the water-courses sing.
- That was another spring, and other flowers,
- Hung, pink and fragile, on the leafless tree,
- The land rejoiced in other running water,
- And I rejoiced, because you were with me.
- You, with your soft eyes, darkly lashed and shaded,
- Your red lips like a living, laughing rose,
- Your restless, amber limbs so lithe and slender
- Now lost to me. Gone whither no man knows.
- You lay beside me singing in the sunshine;
- The rough, white fur, unloosened at the neck,
- Showed the smooth skin, fair as the Almond blossoms,
- On which the sun could find no flaw or fleck.
- I lie alone, beneath the Almond flowers,
- I hated them to touch you as they fell.
- And now, who killed you? worse, Ah, worse, who loves you?
- (My soul is burning as men burn in Hell.)
- How I have sought you in the crowded cities!
- I have been mad, they say, for many days.
- I know not how I came here, to the valley,
- What fate has led me, through what doubtful ways.
- Somewhere I see my sword has done good service,
- Some one I killed, who, smiling, used your name,
- But in what country? Nay, I have forgotten,
- All thought is shrivelled in my heart's hot flame.
- Where are you now, Delight, and where your beauty,
- Your subtle curls, and laughing, changeful face?
- Bound, bruised and naked (dear God, grant me patience),
- And sold in Cabul in the market-place.
- I asked of you of all men. Who could tell me?
- Among so many captured, sold, or slain,
- What fate was yours? (Ah, dear God, grant me patience,
- My heart is burnt, is burnt, with fire and pain.)
- Oh, lost Delight! my heart is almost breaking,
- My sword is broken and my feet are sore,
- The people look at me and say in passing,
- "He will not leave the village any more."
- For as the evening falls, the fever rises,
- With frantic thoughts careering through the brain,
- Wild thoughts of you. (Ah, dear God, grant me patience,
- My soul is hurt beyond all men call pain.)
- I lie alone, beneath the Almond blossoms,
- And see the white snow melting on the hills
- Till Khorassan is gay with water-courses,
- Glad with the tinkling sound of running rills,
- And well I know that when the fragile petals
- Fall softly, ere the first green leaves appear,
- (Ah, for these last few days, God grant me patience,)
- Since Delight is not, I shall not be, here!
POEMS BY LAURENCE HOPE
|"Lost Delight After the Hazara War" is reprinted from India's Love Lyrics. Trans. Laurence Hope. New York: John Lane Co., 1906.