The Dying Prince

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

There are no days for me any more, for the dawn is dark with tears,
There is no rest for me any more, for the night is thick with fears.
There are no flowers nor any fruit, for the sorrowful locusts came,
And the garden is but a memory, the vineyard only a name.

There is no light in the empty sky, no sail upon the sea,
Birds are yet on their nests perchance, but they sing no more to me.
Past - vanished - faded away - all the joys that were.
My youth died down in a swift decline when they married her to despair.

"My lord, the crowd in the Audience Hall; how long wilt thou have them wait?"
I have given my father's younger son the guidance of the State.
"The steeds are saddled, the Captains call for the orders of the day."
Tell them that I shall ride no more to the hunting or the fray.

"Sweet the scent of the Moghra flowers;" Brother, it may be so.
"The young, flushed spring is with us again." Is it? I did not know.
"The Zamorin's daughter draweth near, on slender golden feet;"
Oh, a curse upon all sweet things say I, to whom they are no more sweet!

Dost think that a man as sick as I can compass a woman's ease?
That the sons of a man who is like to me could ever find rest or peace?
Tell them to marry them where they will, if their longing be so sore,
Such are the things that all men seek, but I shall seek no more.

All my muscles are fallen in, and the blood deserts my veins,
Every fibre and bone of me is waxen full of pains,
The iron feet of mine enemy's curse are heavy upon my head,
Look at me and judge for thyself, thou seest I am but dead.

"Then, who is it, Prince, who has done this thing, has sown such a bitter seed,
That we hale him forth to the Market-place, bind him and let him bleed,
That the flesh may shudder and wince and writhe, reddening 'neath the rod."
Love is the evil-doer, alas! and how shalt thou scourge a God?

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