Third Song, written during Fever (Three Songs of Zahir-u-Din)

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

To-night the clouds hang very low,
They take the Hill-tops to their breast,
And lay their arms about the fields.
The wind that fans me lying low,
Restless with great desire for rest,
No cooling touch of freshness yields.

I, sleepless through the stifling heat,
Watch the pale Lightning's constant glow
Between the wide set open doors.
I lie and long amidst the heat, -
The fever that my senses know,
For that cool slenderness of yours.

So delicate and cool you are!
A roseleaf that has lain in snow,
A snowflake tinged with sunset fire.
You do not know, so young you are,
How Fever fans the senses' glow
To uncontrollable desire!

And fills the spaces of the night
With furious and frantic thought,
One would not dare to think by day.
Ah, if you came to me to-night
These visions would be turned to naught,
These hateful dreams be held at bay!

But you are far, and Loneliness
My only lover through the night;
And not for any word or prayer
Would you console my loneliness
Or lend yourself, serene and slight,
And the cool clusters of your hair.

All through the night I long for you,
As shipwrecked men in tropics yearn
For the fresh flow of streams and springs.
My fevered fancies follow you
As dying men in deserts turn
Their thoughts to clear and chilly things.

Such dreams are mine, and such my thirst,
Unceasing and unsatisfied,
Until the night is burnt away
Among these dreams and fevered thirst,
And, through the open doorways, glide
The white feet of the coming day.

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