Adela Florence Nicolson (née Cory) is a British poet who wrote under the pseudonym Laurence Hope.

Adela Florence Nicolson (Laurence Hope)
Adela Florence Nicolson (Laurence Hope)

Details of her life are scant. At age 16, she left England to live with her father in India, where she remained for the rest of her life. She married a fellow Englishman few years later, who was many years older than her, and they had a son together. Adela, whom friends called Violet, and her husband became immersed in the Indian culture. This culture featured prominently into her poetry.

Laurence Hope’s book of poems The Garden of Kama was published in 1901. Stars of the Desert followed in 1903. The sudden and unexpected death of her husband, who was much older than she, threw the poet into a severe depression and she self-administered a fatal dose of poison in 1904. She was 39 years old.

In 1922, Laurence Hope’s son published a book of his mother’s poetry entitled Selected Poems. Few people read her poetry today. In her day though, her works were famous; her Edwardian and Victorian contemporaries were fascinated by the strange imagery her writing evoked.

The poem copied here was originally published in The Garden of Kama in 1901. Enjoy!

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