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Five Songs of Laurence Hope

Song Cycle by Harry Thacker Burleigh (1866 - 1949)


1. Worth while [
 text not yet verified 
]

Language: English

Authorship


Was it worth while to forego our wings 
To gain these dextrous hands? 
Truly they fashion us wonderful things 
As the fancy of man demands.

But -- to fly! to sail through the lucid air 
From crest to violet crest 
Of these great grey mountains, quartz-veined and bare, 
Where the white clouds gather and rest.

Even to flutter from flower to flower, -- 
To skim the tops of the trees, -- 
In the roseate light of a sun-setting hour 
To drift on a sea-going breeze.

Ay, the hands have marvellous skill 
To create us curious things, -- 
Baubles, playthings, weapons to kill, --
But -- I would we had chosen wings!


2. The jungle flower [
 text not yet verified 
]

Language: English

Authorship


Ah, the cool silence of the shaded hours, 
The scent and colour of the jungle flowers!

Thou art one of the jungle flowers, strange and fierce and fair, 
Palest amber, perfect lines, and scented with champa flower. 
Lie back and frame thy face in the gloom of thy loosened hair; 
Sweet thou art and loved -- ay, loved -- for an hour.

But thought flies far, ah, far, to another breast, 
Whose whiteness breaks to the rose of a twin pink flower, 
Where wind the azure veins that my lips caressed 
When Fate was gentle to me for a too-brief hour.

There is my spirit's home and my soul's abode, 
The rest are only inns on the traveller's road.


3. Kashmiri song [
 text verified 1 time
]

Language: English

Authorship

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Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar,
Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell?
Whom do you lead on Rapture's roadway, far,
Before you agonise them in farewell?

Pale hands, pink-tipped, like lotus-buds that float
On those cool waters where we used to dwell,
I would have rather felt you round my throat
Crushing out life than waving me farewell!


4. Among the fuchsias [
 text not yet verified 
]

Language: English

Authorship


Call me not to a secret place
when daylight dies away,
tempt me not with tine eager face
and words thou shouldst not say.
 
Entice me not with a child of thine,
ah, God, if such might be,
for surely a man is half divine
who adds another link to the line
whose last link none may see.
 
Call me not to the Lotus lake
where drooping fuchsias hide,
what if my latent youth awakes
and will not be denied?
Ah, tempt me not for I am not strong
(thy mouth is a budded kiss)
 
My days are empty, my nights are long;
ah,why is a thing so sweet so wrong,
why is a thing so sweet so wrong
as thy temptation is?


Submitted by Ferdinando Albeggiani

5. Till I wake [
 text not yet verified 
]

Language: English

Authorship

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When I am dying, lean over me tenderly, softly...
Stoop, as the yellow roses droop
In the wind from the south;
So I may when I wake - if there be an awakening -
Keep what lulled me to sleep -
The touch of your lips on my mouth.


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