Last Poems eBook

Adela Florence Nicolson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 60 pages of information about Last Poems.

On Pilgrimage

Oh, youthful bearer of my palanquin,
    Thy glossy hair lies loosened on thy neck,
The “tears of labour” gem thy velvet skin,
    Whose even texture knows no other fleck.

Thy slender shoulder strains beneath my weight;
    Too fair thou art for work, sweet slave of mine. 
Would that this idle breast, reversing fate,
    A willing serf to love, supported thine!

I smell the savage scent of sun-warmed fur
    Close in the Jungle, musky, hot and sweet.—­
The air comes from thy shoulder, even as myrrh,
    Would we were as the panthers, free to meet.

The Temple road is steep; I grieve to see
    Thy slender ankles bruised among the clods. 
Oh, my Beloved, if I might worship thee! 
    Beauty is greater far than all the Gods.

The Rice-boat

I slept upon the Rice-boat
    That, reef protected, lay
At anchor, where the palm-trees
    Infringe upon the bay. 
The windless air was heavy
    With cinnamon and rose,
The midnight calm seemed waiting,
    Too fateful for repose.

One joined me on the Rice-boat
    With wild and waving hair,
Whose vivid words and laughter
    Awoke the silent air. 
Oh, beauty, bare and shining,
    Fresh washen in the bay,
One well may love by moonlight
    What one would not love by day!

Above among the cordage
    The night wind hardly stirred,
The lapping of the ripples
    Was all the sound we heard. 
Love reigned upon the Rice-boat,
    And Peace controlled the sea,
The spirit’s consolation,
    The senses’ ecstasy.

Though many things and mighty
    Are furthered in the West,
The ancient Peace has vanished
    Before To-day’s unrest. 
For how among their striving,
    Their gold, their lust, their drink,
Shall men find time for dreaming
    Or any space to think?

Think not I scorn the Science
    That lightens human pain;
Though man’s reliance often
    Is placed on it in vain. 
Maybe the long endeavour,
    The patience and the strife,
May some day solve the riddle,
    The Mystery of Life.

Perchance I do not value
    Things Western as I ought,
The trains,—­that take us, whither? 
    The ships,—­that reach, what port? 
To me it seems but chaos
    Of greed and haste and rage,
The endless, aimless, motion
    Of squirrels in a cage.

Here, where some ruined temple
    In solitude decays,
With carven walls still hallowed
    With prayers of bygone days,
Here, where the coral outcrops
    Make “flowers of the sea,”
The olden Peace yet lingers,
    In hushed serenity.

Ah, silent, silver moonlight,
    Whose charm impartial falls
On tanks of sacred water
    And squalid city walls,
Whose mystic whiteness hallows
    The lowest and the least,
To thee men owe the glamour
    That draws them to the East.

Project Gutenberg
Last Poems from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook