Indian Love Lyrics

by Laurence Hope

Amaryllis at the Fair Cover

“They say that Love is a light thing,
A foolish thing and a slight thing,
A ripe fruit, rotten at core;
They speak in this futile fashion
To me, who am wracked with passion,
Tormented beyond compassion,
For ever and ever more…”

Laurence Hope (1865-1904) was one of the most popular poets of the Edwardian era. Born Adela ‘Violet’ Cory, her unconventional (and ultimately tragic) life in India lent her verse an oriental glamour that immediately captured the public imagination.

Her poems (known collectively as the Indian Love Lyrics) deal mostly with the subject of ‘love’ – romantic, erotic, frustrated or forbidden. Their passionate themes and colourful imagery are often inspired by Sufi and Mughal courtly poetry, by Indian myth and folklore, and by Hope’s own travels and experiences in India, North Africa and the Far East.

This edition comprises three separate volumes – The Garden of Kama and Other Love Lyrics from India (1901), Stars of the Desert (1903) and the posthumously published Indian Love (1905).

Title: Indian Love Lyrics

Author: Laurence Hope

Category: Poetry

ISBN: 978-1-907245-07-7

Pages: 282

RRP: £8.99

Published: June 2011

Laurence Hope (1865-1904) was born Adela Florence ‘Violet’ Cory in Stoke Bishop, Gloucestershire. At the age of sixteen she joined her family in India, where her father, a former army officer, was editor of the Sind Gazette in Karachi.

In 1889, she married Malcolm Hassels Nicolson, a 46-year-old colonel in the Bombay Army. After several years of nomadic army life, Nicolson’s promotion to general in 1895 resulted in a permanent posting to Mhow. It was here that Hope began to write the poems that would become known as the Indian Love Lyrics.

First published in 1901, The Garden of Kama and Other Love Lyrics from India was an immediate success, gaining many admirers (including Thomas Hardy) and spawning even more imitators. Several of the Lyrics were set to music by the composer Amy Woodforde Finden, which increased their popularity still further.

A second volume, Stars of the Desert, which included some poems inspired by a trip to North Africa, was completed and published in 1903.

The following year, General Nicolson died during a prostate operation. Two months later, at the age of 39, Hope took her own life by poison.

A third volume of verse, Indian Love (1905), was collected and published posthumously.