Sarojini Naidu

img

Sarojini Naidu, original name Sarojini Chattopadhyay, (born February 13, 1879, Hyderabad, India—died March 2, 1949, Lucknow), was a political activist, feminist, poet, and the first Indian woman to be president of the Indian National Congress and to be appointed an Indian state governor. She was also called “the Nightingale of India.” Sarojini Naidu's volumes of poetry included The Golden Threshold (1905), The Bird of Time (1912), and her collected poems, were published as The Sceptred Flute (1928) and The Feather of the Dawn (1961).

Palanquin Bearers

Sarojini Naidu

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.
Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Read More
In The Forest

Sarojini Naidu

Here, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon's flaming torches of fire.
We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.
But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.

Read More
An Indian Love Song

Sarojini Naidu

HE

Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon
of thy glory and grace,
Withhold not, O love, from the night
of my longing the joy of thy luminous face,
Give me a spear of the scented keora
guarding thy pinioned curls,
Or a silken thread from the fringes
that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;
Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume
and the song of thy anklets' caprice,
Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar
that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.

SHE

How shall I yield to the voice of thy pleading,
how shall I grant thy prayer,
Or give thee a rose-red silken tassel,
a scented leaf from my hair?
Or fling in the flame of thy heart's desire the veils that cover my face,
Profane the law of my father's creed for a foe
of my father's race?
Thy kinsmen have broken our sacred altars and slaughtered our sacred kine,
The feud of old faiths and the blood of old battles sever thy people and mine.

HE

What are the sins of my race, Beloved,
what are my people to thee?
And what are thy shrines, and kine and kindred,
what are thy gods to me?
Love recks not of feuds and bitter follies,
of stranger, comrade or kin,
Alike in his ear sound the temple bells
and the cry of the muezzin.
For Love shall cancel the ancient wrong
and conquer the ancient rage,
Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrow
that sullied a bygone age.

Read More
Indian Weavers

Sarojini Naidu

Weavers, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.
Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
Weavers, weaving solemn and still,
What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .
White as a feather and white as a cloud,
We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.

Read More
Queen's Rival

Sarojini Naidu

Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Around her countless treasures were spread;
Her chamber walls were richly inlaid
With agate, porphyry, onyx and jade;
The tissues that veiled her delicate breast,
Glowed with the hues of a lapwing's crest;
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
King Feroz bent from his ebony seat:
"Is thy least desire unfulfilled, O Sweet?
"Let thy mouth speak and my life be spent
To clear the sky of thy discontent."
"I tire of my beauty, I tire of this
Empty splendour and shadowless bliss;
"With none to envy and none gainsay,
No savour or salt hath my dream or day."
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose:
"Give me a rival, O King Feroz."

II
King Feroz spoke to his Chief Vizier:
"Lo! ere to-morrow's dawn be here,
"Send forth my messengers over the sea,
To seek seven beautiful brides for me;
"Radiant of feature and regal of mien,
Seven handmaids meet for the Persian Queen."
. . . . .
Seven new moon tides at the Vesper call,
King Feroz led to Queen Gulnaar's hall
A young queen eyed like the morning star:
"I bring thee a rival, O Queen Gulnaar."
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Seven queens shone round her ivory bed,
Like seven soft gems on a silken thread,
Like seven fair lamps in a royal tower,
Like seven bright petals of Beauty's flower
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose
"Where is my rival, O King Feroz?"

III
When spring winds wakened the mountain floods,
And kindled the flame of the tulip buds,
When bees grew loud and the days grew long,
And the peach groves thrilled to the oriole's song,
Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Decking with jewels her exquisite head;
And still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Queen Gulnaar's daughter two spring times old,
In blue robes bordered with tassels of gold,
Ran to her knee like a wildwood fay,
And plucked from her hand the mirror away.
Quickly she set on her own light curls
Her mother's fillet with fringes of pearls;
Quickly she turned with a child's caprice
And pressed on the mirror a swift, glad kiss.
Queen Gulnaar laughed like a tremulous rose:
"Here is my rival, O King Feroz."

Read More
Palanquin Bearers

Sarojini Naidu

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.
Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Read More
In The Forest

Sarojini Naidu

Here, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon's flaming torches of fire.
We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.
But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.

Read More
An Indian Love Song

Sarojini Naidu

HE

Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon
of thy glory and grace,
Withhold not, O love, from the night
of my longing the joy of thy luminous face,
Give me a spear of the scented keora
guarding thy pinioned curls,
Or a silken thread from the fringes
that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;
Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume
and the song of thy anklets' caprice,
Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar
that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.

SHE

How shall I yield to the voice of thy pleading,
how shall I grant thy prayer,
Or give thee a rose-red silken tassel,
a scented leaf from my hair?
Or fling in the flame of thy heart's desire the veils that cover my face,
Profane the law of my father's creed for a foe
of my father's race?
Thy kinsmen have broken our sacred altars and slaughtered our sacred kine,
The feud of old faiths and the blood of old battles sever thy people and mine.

HE

What are the sins of my race, Beloved,
what are my people to thee?
And what are thy shrines, and kine and kindred,
what are thy gods to me?
Love recks not of feuds and bitter follies,
of stranger, comrade or kin,
Alike in his ear sound the temple bells
and the cry of the muezzin.
For Love shall cancel the ancient wrong
and conquer the ancient rage,
Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrow
that sullied a bygone age.

Read More
Indian Weavers

Sarojini Naidu

Weavers, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.
Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
Weavers, weaving solemn and still,
What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .
White as a feather and white as a cloud,
We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.

Read More
Queen's Rival

Sarojini Naidu

Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Around her countless treasures were spread;
Her chamber walls were richly inlaid
With agate, porphyry, onyx and jade;
The tissues that veiled her delicate breast,
Glowed with the hues of a lapwing's crest;
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
King Feroz bent from his ebony seat:
"Is thy least desire unfulfilled, O Sweet?
"Let thy mouth speak and my life be spent
To clear the sky of thy discontent."
"I tire of my beauty, I tire of this
Empty splendour and shadowless bliss;
"With none to envy and none gainsay,
No savour or salt hath my dream or day."
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose:
"Give me a rival, O King Feroz."

II
King Feroz spoke to his Chief Vizier:
"Lo! ere to-morrow's dawn be here,
"Send forth my messengers over the sea,
To seek seven beautiful brides for me;
"Radiant of feature and regal of mien,
Seven handmaids meet for the Persian Queen."
. . . . .
Seven new moon tides at the Vesper call,
King Feroz led to Queen Gulnaar's hall
A young queen eyed like the morning star:
"I bring thee a rival, O Queen Gulnaar."
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Seven queens shone round her ivory bed,
Like seven soft gems on a silken thread,
Like seven fair lamps in a royal tower,
Like seven bright petals of Beauty's flower
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose
"Where is my rival, O King Feroz?"

III
When spring winds wakened the mountain floods,
And kindled the flame of the tulip buds,
When bees grew loud and the days grew long,
And the peach groves thrilled to the oriole's song,
Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Decking with jewels her exquisite head;
And still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Queen Gulnaar's daughter two spring times old,
In blue robes bordered with tassels of gold,
Ran to her knee like a wildwood fay,
And plucked from her hand the mirror away.
Quickly she set on her own light curls
Her mother's fillet with fringes of pearls;
Quickly she turned with a child's caprice
And pressed on the mirror a swift, glad kiss.
Queen Gulnaar laughed like a tremulous rose:
"Here is my rival, O King Feroz."

Read More
Palanquin Bearers

Sarojini Naidu

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.
Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Read More
In The Forest

Sarojini Naidu

Here, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon's flaming torches of fire.
We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.
But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.

Read More
An Indian Love Song

Sarojini Naidu

HE

Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon
of thy glory and grace,
Withhold not, O love, from the night
of my longing the joy of thy luminous face,
Give me a spear of the scented keora
guarding thy pinioned curls,
Or a silken thread from the fringes
that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;
Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume
and the song of thy anklets' caprice,
Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar
that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.

SHE

How shall I yield to the voice of thy pleading,
how shall I grant thy prayer,
Or give thee a rose-red silken tassel,
a scented leaf from my hair?
Or fling in the flame of thy heart's desire the veils that cover my face,
Profane the law of my father's creed for a foe
of my father's race?
Thy kinsmen have broken our sacred altars and slaughtered our sacred kine,
The feud of old faiths and the blood of old battles sever thy people and mine.

HE

What are the sins of my race, Beloved,
what are my people to thee?
And what are thy shrines, and kine and kindred,
what are thy gods to me?
Love recks not of feuds and bitter follies,
of stranger, comrade or kin,
Alike in his ear sound the temple bells
and the cry of the muezzin.
For Love shall cancel the ancient wrong
and conquer the ancient rage,
Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrow
that sullied a bygone age.

Read More
Indian Weavers

Sarojini Naidu

Weavers, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.
Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
Weavers, weaving solemn and still,
What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .
White as a feather and white as a cloud,
We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.

Read More
Queen's Rival

Sarojini Naidu

Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Around her countless treasures were spread;
Her chamber walls were richly inlaid
With agate, porphyry, onyx and jade;
The tissues that veiled her delicate breast,
Glowed with the hues of a lapwing's crest;
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
King Feroz bent from his ebony seat:
"Is thy least desire unfulfilled, O Sweet?
"Let thy mouth speak and my life be spent
To clear the sky of thy discontent."
"I tire of my beauty, I tire of this
Empty splendour and shadowless bliss;
"With none to envy and none gainsay,
No savour or salt hath my dream or day."
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose:
"Give me a rival, O King Feroz."

II
King Feroz spoke to his Chief Vizier:
"Lo! ere to-morrow's dawn be here,
"Send forth my messengers over the sea,
To seek seven beautiful brides for me;
"Radiant of feature and regal of mien,
Seven handmaids meet for the Persian Queen."
. . . . .
Seven new moon tides at the Vesper call,
King Feroz led to Queen Gulnaar's hall
A young queen eyed like the morning star:
"I bring thee a rival, O Queen Gulnaar."
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Seven queens shone round her ivory bed,
Like seven soft gems on a silken thread,
Like seven fair lamps in a royal tower,
Like seven bright petals of Beauty's flower
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose
"Where is my rival, O King Feroz?"

III
When spring winds wakened the mountain floods,
And kindled the flame of the tulip buds,
When bees grew loud and the days grew long,
And the peach groves thrilled to the oriole's song,
Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Decking with jewels her exquisite head;
And still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Queen Gulnaar's daughter two spring times old,
In blue robes bordered with tassels of gold,
Ran to her knee like a wildwood fay,
And plucked from her hand the mirror away.
Quickly she set on her own light curls
Her mother's fillet with fringes of pearls;
Quickly she turned with a child's caprice
And pressed on the mirror a swift, glad kiss.
Queen Gulnaar laughed like a tremulous rose:
"Here is my rival, O King Feroz."

Read More
Palanquin Bearers

Sarojini Naidu

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.
Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Read More
In The Forest

Sarojini Naidu

Here, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon's flaming torches of fire.
We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.
But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.

Read More
An Indian Love Song

Sarojini Naidu

HE

Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon
of thy glory and grace,
Withhold not, O love, from the night
of my longing the joy of thy luminous face,
Give me a spear of the scented keora
guarding thy pinioned curls,
Or a silken thread from the fringes
that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;
Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume
and the song of thy anklets' caprice,
Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar
that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.

SHE

How shall I yield to the voice of thy pleading,
how shall I grant thy prayer,
Or give thee a rose-red silken tassel,
a scented leaf from my hair?
Or fling in the flame of thy heart's desire the veils that cover my face,
Profane the law of my father's creed for a foe
of my father's race?
Thy kinsmen have broken our sacred altars and slaughtered our sacred kine,
The feud of old faiths and the blood of old battles sever thy people and mine.

HE

What are the sins of my race, Beloved,
what are my people to thee?
And what are thy shrines, and kine and kindred,
what are thy gods to me?
Love recks not of feuds and bitter follies,
of stranger, comrade or kin,
Alike in his ear sound the temple bells
and the cry of the muezzin.
For Love shall cancel the ancient wrong
and conquer the ancient rage,
Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrow
that sullied a bygone age.

Read More
Indian Weavers

Sarojini Naidu

Weavers, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.
Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
Weavers, weaving solemn and still,
What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .
White as a feather and white as a cloud,
We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.

Read More
Queen's Rival

Sarojini Naidu

Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Around her countless treasures were spread;
Her chamber walls were richly inlaid
With agate, porphyry, onyx and jade;
The tissues that veiled her delicate breast,
Glowed with the hues of a lapwing's crest;
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
King Feroz bent from his ebony seat:
"Is thy least desire unfulfilled, O Sweet?
"Let thy mouth speak and my life be spent
To clear the sky of thy discontent."
"I tire of my beauty, I tire of this
Empty splendour and shadowless bliss;
"With none to envy and none gainsay,
No savour or salt hath my dream or day."
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose:
"Give me a rival, O King Feroz."

II
King Feroz spoke to his Chief Vizier:
"Lo! ere to-morrow's dawn be here,
"Send forth my messengers over the sea,
To seek seven beautiful brides for me;
"Radiant of feature and regal of mien,
Seven handmaids meet for the Persian Queen."
. . . . .
Seven new moon tides at the Vesper call,
King Feroz led to Queen Gulnaar's hall
A young queen eyed like the morning star:
"I bring thee a rival, O Queen Gulnaar."
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Seven queens shone round her ivory bed,
Like seven soft gems on a silken thread,
Like seven fair lamps in a royal tower,
Like seven bright petals of Beauty's flower
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose
"Where is my rival, O King Feroz?"

III
When spring winds wakened the mountain floods,
And kindled the flame of the tulip buds,
When bees grew loud and the days grew long,
And the peach groves thrilled to the oriole's song,
Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Decking with jewels her exquisite head;
And still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Queen Gulnaar's daughter two spring times old,
In blue robes bordered with tassels of gold,
Ran to her knee like a wildwood fay,
And plucked from her hand the mirror away.
Quickly she set on her own light curls
Her mother's fillet with fringes of pearls;
Quickly she turned with a child's caprice
And pressed on the mirror a swift, glad kiss.
Queen Gulnaar laughed like a tremulous rose:
"Here is my rival, O King Feroz."

Read More
Palanquin Bearers

Sarojini Naidu

Lightly, O lightly we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.
Softly, O softly we bear her along,
She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;
She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,
She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.
Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Read More
In The Forest

Sarojini Naidu

Here, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon's flaming torches of fire.
We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.
But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.

Read More
An Indian Love Song

Sarojini Naidu

HE

Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon
of thy glory and grace,
Withhold not, O love, from the night
of my longing the joy of thy luminous face,
Give me a spear of the scented keora
guarding thy pinioned curls,
Or a silken thread from the fringes
that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;
Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume
and the song of thy anklets' caprice,
Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar
that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.

SHE

How shall I yield to the voice of thy pleading,
how shall I grant thy prayer,
Or give thee a rose-red silken tassel,
a scented leaf from my hair?
Or fling in the flame of thy heart's desire the veils that cover my face,
Profane the law of my father's creed for a foe
of my father's race?
Thy kinsmen have broken our sacred altars and slaughtered our sacred kine,
The feud of old faiths and the blood of old battles sever thy people and mine.

HE

What are the sins of my race, Beloved,
what are my people to thee?
And what are thy shrines, and kine and kindred,
what are thy gods to me?
Love recks not of feuds and bitter follies,
of stranger, comrade or kin,
Alike in his ear sound the temple bells
and the cry of the muezzin.
For Love shall cancel the ancient wrong
and conquer the ancient rage,
Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrow
that sullied a bygone age.

Read More
Indian Weavers

Sarojini Naidu

Weavers, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.
Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
Weavers, weaving solemn and still,
What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .
White as a feather and white as a cloud,
We weave a dead man's funeral shroud.

Read More
Queen's Rival

Sarojini Naidu

Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Around her countless treasures were spread;
Her chamber walls were richly inlaid
With agate, porphyry, onyx and jade;
The tissues that veiled her delicate breast,
Glowed with the hues of a lapwing's crest;
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
King Feroz bent from his ebony seat:
"Is thy least desire unfulfilled, O Sweet?
"Let thy mouth speak and my life be spent
To clear the sky of thy discontent."
"I tire of my beauty, I tire of this
Empty splendour and shadowless bliss;
"With none to envy and none gainsay,
No savour or salt hath my dream or day."
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose:
"Give me a rival, O King Feroz."

II
King Feroz spoke to his Chief Vizier:
"Lo! ere to-morrow's dawn be here,
"Send forth my messengers over the sea,
To seek seven beautiful brides for me;
"Radiant of feature and regal of mien,
Seven handmaids meet for the Persian Queen."
. . . . .
Seven new moon tides at the Vesper call,
King Feroz led to Queen Gulnaar's hall
A young queen eyed like the morning star:
"I bring thee a rival, O Queen Gulnaar."
But still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Seven queens shone round her ivory bed,
Like seven soft gems on a silken thread,
Like seven fair lamps in a royal tower,
Like seven bright petals of Beauty's flower
Queen Gulnaar sighed like a murmuring rose
"Where is my rival, O King Feroz?"

III
When spring winds wakened the mountain floods,
And kindled the flame of the tulip buds,
When bees grew loud and the days grew long,
And the peach groves thrilled to the oriole's song,
Queen Gulnaar sat on her ivory bed,
Decking with jewels her exquisite head;
And still she gazed in her mirror and sighed:
"O King, my heart is unsatisfied."
Queen Gulnaar's daughter two spring times old,
In blue robes bordered with tassels of gold,
Ran to her knee like a wildwood fay,
And plucked from her hand the mirror away.
Quickly she set on her own light curls
Her mother's fillet with fringes of pearls;
Quickly she turned with a child's caprice
And pressed on the mirror a swift, glad kiss.
Queen Gulnaar laughed like a tremulous rose:
"Here is my rival, O King Feroz."

Read More
For literature, event updates, and literary content in multiple Indian Languages