by Adela Florence Nicolson, née Cory (1865 - 1904), as Laurence Hope

The Lute Player of Casa Blanca
Language: English 
No others sing as you have sung
  Oh, Well Beloved of me!
So glad you are, so lithe and young,
  As joyous as the sea,
That dances in the golden rain
  The falling sunbeams fling, --
Ah, stoop and kiss me once again
  Then take your lute and sing.
    Oh, Lute player, my Lute player,
    Take up your lute and sing!

The wind comes blowing, light and free:
  In all the summer isles
No laughing thing it found to see
  As brilliant as your smiles.
You are the very heart of Youth,
  The very Soul of Song,
That lovely dream, made living truth,
  For which the poets long.
    Oh, Lute player, my Lute player,
    The very Soul of Song!

Ah, dear and dark-eyed Lute player
  This joy is almost pain,
To reach, when evening cools the air,
  Your level roof again.
To see the palms, erect and slim,
  Against a golden sky,
And hear, as twilight closes dim,
  The Mouddin's mournful cry,
    Across your songs, my Lute player,
    The Faithful's evening cry.

Each slender finger lightly slips,
  To its appointed strings,
Ah, the sweet scarlet, parted lips
  Of One Beloved, who sings!
Ah, the soft radiance of eyes
  By love and music lit!
What need of Heaven beyond the skies
  Since here we enter it?
    You make my Heaven, my Lute player,
    And hold the keys of it!

And when the music waxes strong
  I hear the sound of War,
The drums are throbbing in the song,
  The clamour and the roar.
The Desert's self is in the strain,
  The agony of slaves,
The winds that sigh, as if in pain,
  About forgotten graves,
    Oh, Lute player, my Lute player,
    Those lonely Desert graves!

The sightless sockets, whence the eyes,
  Were wrenched or burnt away,
The mangled form that e'er it dies,
  Becomes the jackals' prey,
The forced caress, the purchased smile,
  Ere youth be yet awake, --
Ah, break your melody awhile
  Or else my heart will break!
    I sometimes think, my Lute player,
    You wish my heart to break!

The sunset fires desert the West,
  The stars invade the sky,
Lover of mine, 'tis time to rest
  And let the music die.
Though Melody awake the morn
  Yet Love should end the day.
I kiss your hand the strings have worn
  And take your lute away.
    I kiss your hand, my Lute player,
    And take the Lute away.

At twilight on this roof of ours,
  So lonely and so high,
We catch the scent of all the flowers
  Ascending to the sky.
Sultan of Song, whose burning eyes
  Outblaze the stars above,
Forget not, when the sunset dies
  You reign as Lord of Love!
    Ah, come to me, my Lute player,
    Lover, and Lord of Love!


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-09-18
Line count: 80
Word count: 456