November 30, 2017

Request - A Study of Hopian Themes In Miniature


Give me your self one hour; I do not crave
For any love, or even thought, of me.
Come, as a Sultan may caress a slave
And then forget for ever, utterly.

Come! as west winds, that passing, cool and wet,
O'er desert places, leave them fields in flower
And all my life, for I shall not forget,
Will keep the fragrance of that perfect hour!

Here Hope offers us a precise little piece displaying a multitude of her signature themes in miniature -

۝  The eager invitation to spend time, to love, "Come!" we encounter in The Early Pearly Morning, Song by Valgovind, Reverie: Zahir-u-Din, Ojira, to Her Lover, The First Lover, and Fate Knows No Tears,Malay Song, There is No Breeze to Cool the Heat of Love, Sampan Song, and The Garden of Kama: Kama the Indian Eros.

۝  The self-abnegation of any "thought, of me" is a dominant theme introduced in the first poem of India's Love Lyrics, "Less Than The Dust".  It runs through the whole of LH's oeuvre. 

۝  The sentiment "I shall not forget" appears quite often as the main theme of some of Hope's more beloved works, demonstrating the intense psychological nature of desire which begins and resides in the mind. As the poet states - "But the Brain, once kindled, would still be afire..."

۝  The "perfect hour" of love that is remembered for a lifetime:  the immortal and haunting Unforgotten, Reverie of Mohamed Akram at The Tamraind Tank as well as his Reminiscence,  Fate Knows No Tears, Two Songs of Sitara of Kashmir and The Girl From Baltistan, Lost Delight, Prayer, Song of Khan Zada, The Aloe, His Rubies: Told by Valgovind, and The Temple Dancing Girl.

Byam Shaw, late 1800's
۝   Sutlans or Kings, an Emperor, even a Sultana, and their concubines and slaves feature regularly in Hope's exotic cast of players.  The Beloved is named "Lord" in Less Than the Dust, Zira in Captivity, Marriage Thoughts: by Morsellin Khan, There is No Breeze to Cool the Heat of Love and Song of the Devoted Slave - where King's daughters also make an appearance.

۝   All of this is wrapped in fragrant flowers of a desert refreshed by cool breezes, part of the alluring landscape Hope allows us to inhabit throughout her Love Lyrics.  Cool refreshment of water or wind is especially noted in poems such as: Sea Song, Valgovind's Boat Song, Third Song Written During Fever, Mohamed Akram at the Tamarind Tank, Memory, Verses: Faiz Ulla, Sampan Song and Kotri By The River. And of course, There is No Breeze to Cool the Heat of Love says it all in a very Hopian way.

If you had to pack lightly and only take one small depiction of Laurence Hope's work as a souvenir, "Request" would do nicely.

Find any of the poems above not already linked here .

NOTE:  "Request " is recorded in the third section of India's Love Lyrics and may be listened to here.  This is a sneak preview, and will not be available  on Librivox until the entire book has been recorded.
Nov 30, 2017

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