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Hogarth judge

December 2017

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Sarojini Naidu

In my quest for things Babu, I came across Sarojini Naidu, who actually writes well; her first book of poetry was published by John Lane at the Bodley Head and has an introduction by Arthur Symons. "The Pardah Nashin" strikes a Dowsonian note:

THE PARDAH NASHIN

Her life is a revolving dream
Of languid and sequestered ease;
Her girdles and her fillets gleam
Like changing fires on sunset seas;
Her raiment is like morning mist,
Shot opal, gold and amethyst.

From thieving light of eyes impure,
From coveting sun or wind's caress,
Her days are guarded and secure
Behind her carven lattices,
Like jewels in a turbaned crest,
Like secrets in a lover's breast.

But though no hand unsanctioned dares
Unveil the mysteries of her grace,
Time lifts the curtain unawares,
And Sorrow looks into her face . . .
Who shall prevent the subtle years,
Or shield a woman's eyes from tears?

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