Lalila, to the Ferengi Lover

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

Why above others was I so blessed
And honoured? to be chosen one
To hold you, sleeping, against my breast,
As now I may hold your only son.

Twelve months ago; that wonderful night!
You gave your life to me in a kiss;
Have I done well, for that past delight,
In return, to have given you this?

Look down at his face, your face, beloved,
His eyes are azure as yours are blue.
In every line of his form is proved
How well I loved you, and only you.

I felt the secret hope at my heart
Turned suddenly to the living joy,
And knew that your life and mine had part
As golden grains in a brass alloy.

And learning thus, that your child was mine,
Thrilled by the sense of its stirring life,
I held myself as a sacred shrine
Afar from pleasure, and pain, and strife,

That all unworthy I might not be
Of that you had deigned to cause to dwell
Hidden away in the heart of me,
As white pearls hide in a dusky shell.

Do you remember, when first you laid
Your lips on mine, that enchanted night?
My eyes were timid, my lips afraid,
You seemed so slender and strangely white.

I always tremble; the moments flew
Swiftly to dawn that took you away,
But this is a small and lovely you
Content to rest in my arms all day.

Oh, since you have sought me, Lord, for this,
And given your only child to me,
My life devoted to yours and his,
Whilst I am living, will always be.

And after death, through the long To Be,
(Which, I think, must surely keep love's laws,)
I, should you chance to have need of me,
Am ever and always, only yours.

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