Nay, not To-night

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

Nay, not to-night; - the slow, sad rain is falling
Sorrowful tears, beneath a grieving sky,
Far off a famished jackal, faintly calling,
Renders the dusk more lonely with its cry.

The mighty river rushes, sobbing, seawards,
The shadows shelter faint mysterious fears,
I turn mine eyes for consolation theewards,
And find thy lashes tremulous with tears.

If some new soul, asearch for incarnation,
Should, through our kisses, enter Life again,
It would inherit all our desolation,
All the soft sorrow of the slanting rain.

When thou desirest Love's supreme surrender,
Come while the morning revels in the light,
Bulbuls around us, passionately tender,
Singing among the roses red and white.

Thus, if it be my sweet and sacred duty,
Subservient to the Gods' divine decree,
To give the world again thy vivid beauty,
I should transmit it with my joy in thee.

I could not if I would, Beloved, deceive thee.
Wouldst thou not feel at once a feigned caress?
Yet, do not rise, I would not have thee leave me,
My soul needs thine to share its loneliness.

Let the dim starlight, when the low clouds sunder,
Silver the perfect outline of thy face.
Such faces had the saints; I only wonder
That thine has sought my heart for resting-place.

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