THE LAMENT OF YASMINI, THE DANCING-GIRL
by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)
- H, what
hast thou done with that Lover of mine?
- The Lover who only cared for thee?
- Mine for a handful of nights, and thine
- For the Nights that Are and the Days to Be,
- The scent of the Champa lost its sweet--
- So sweet it was in the Times that Were!--
- Since His alone, of the numerous feet
- That climb my steps, have returned not there.
- Ahi, Yasmini, return not there!
- Art thou yet athrill at the touch of His hand,
- Art thou still athirst for His waving hair?
- Nay, passion, thou never couldst understand,
- Life's heights and depths thou wouldst never dare.
- The great Things left thee untouched, unmoved,
- The Lesser Things had thy constant care.
- Ah, what hast thou done with the Lover I loved,
- Who found me wanting, and thee so fair?
- Ahi, Yasmini, He found her fair!
- Nay, nay, the greatest of all was thine;
- The love of the One whom I craved for so,
- But such I doubt if thou couldst divine
- The Grace and Glory of Love, or know
- The worth of the One whom thine arms embraced,
- I may misjudge thee, but who can tell?
- So hard it is, for the one displaced,
- To weigh the worth of a rival's spell.
- Ahi, Yasmini, thy rival's spell!
- And Thou, whom I loved: have the seasons brought
- That fair content, which allured Thee so?
- Is it all that Thy delicate fancy wrought?
- Yasmini wonders; she may not know.
- Yet never the Stars desert the sky,
- To fade away in the desolate Dawn,
- But Yasmini watches their glory die,
- And mourns for her own Bright Star withdrawn,
- Ahi, Yasmini, the lovely dawn!
- Ah, never the lingering gold dies down
- In a sunset flare of resplendent light,
- And never the palm-tree's feathery crown
- Uprears itself to the shadowy night,
- But Yasmini thinks of those evenings past,
- When she prayed the glow of the glimmering West
- To vanish quickly, that night, at last,
- Might bring Thee back to her waiting breast,
- Ahi, Yasmini, how sweet the rest!
- Yet I would not say that I always weep;
- The force, that made such a desperate thing
- Of my love for Thee, has not fallen asleep;
- The blood still leaps, and the senses sing,
- While other passion has oft availed.
- (Other Love--Ah, my One, forgive!--)
- To aid, when Churus and Opium failed;--
- I could not suffer so much and live.
- Ahi, Yasmini, who had to live?
- Nay, why should I say "Forgive" to Thee?
- To whom my lovers and I are naught,
- Who granted some passionate nights to me
- Then rose and left me with never a thought!
- And yet, Ah, yet, for those Nights that Were,
- Thy passive limbs and thy loose loved hair,
- I would pay, as I have paid, all these days,
- With the love that kills and the thought that slays.
- Ahi, Yasmini, thy youth it slays!
- The youthful widow, with shaven hair,
- Whose senses ache for the love of a man,
- The young Priest, knowing that women are fair,
- Who stems his longing as best he can,
- These suffer not as I suffer for Thee;
- For the Soul desires what the senses crave,
- There will never be pleasure or peace for me,
- Since He who wounded, alone can save.
- Ahi, Yasmini, He will not save!
- The torchlight flares, and the lovers lean
- Toward Yasmini, with yearning eyes,
- Who dances, wondering what they mean,
- And gives cold kisses, and scant replies.
- They talk of Love, she withholds the name,--
- (Love came to her as a Flame of Fire!)
- From things that are only a wary shame;
- Trivial Vanity;--light Desire.
- Ahi, Yasmini, the light Desire!
- Yasmini bends to the praise of men,
- And looks in the mirror, upon her hand,
- To curse the beauty that failed her then--
- Ah, none of her lovers can understand!
- How her whole life hung on that beauty's power,
- The spell that waned at the final test,
- The charm that paled in the vital hour,--
- Which won so many,--yet lost the best!
- Ahi, Yasmini, who lost the best!
- She leaves the dancing to reach the roof,
- With the lover who claims the passing hour,
- Her lips are his, but her eyes aloof
- While the starlight falls in a silver shower.
- Let him take what pleasure, what love, he may,
- He, too, will suffer e'er life be spent,--
- But Yasmini's soul has wandered away
- To join the Lover, who came,--and went!
- Ahi, Yasmini, He came,--and went!
POEMS BY LAURENCE HOPE
"The Lament of Yasmini, the
Dancing-Girl" is reprinted from Poetica Erotica.
Ed. T.R. Smith. New York: Crown Publishers, 1921.