translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)
- E lurks among the reeds, beside the marsh,
- Red oleanders twisted in His hair,
- His eyes are haggard and His lips are harsh,
- Upon His breast the bones show gaunt and bare.
- The green and stagnant waters lick his feet,
- And from their filmy, iridescent scum
- Clouds of mosquitoes, gauzy in the heat,
- Rise with His gifts: Death and Delirium.
- His messengers: they bear the deadly taint
- On spangled wings aloft and far away,
- Making thin music, strident and yet faint,
- From golden eve to silver break of day.
- The baffled sleeper hears th' incessant whine
- Through his tormented dreams, and finds no rest.
- The thirsty insects use his blood for wine,
- Probe his blue veins and pasture on his breast.
- While far away He in the marshes lies,
- Staining the stagnant water with His breath,
- An endless hunger burning in His eyes,
- A famine unassuaged, whose food is Death.
- He hides among the ghostly mists that float
- Over the water, weird and white and chill,
- And peasants, passing in their laden boat,
- Shiver and feel a sense of coming ill.
- A thousand burn and die; He takes no heed,
- Their bones, unburied, strewn upon the plain,
- Only increase the frenzy of His greed
- To add more victims to th' already slain.
- He loves the haggard frame, the shattered mind,
- Gloats with delight upon the glazing eye,
- Yet, in one thing His cruelty is kind,
- He sends them lovely dreams before they die;
- Dreams that bestow on them their heart's desire,
- Visions that find them mad, and leave them blest,
- To sink, forgetful of the fever's fire,
- Softly, as in a lover's arms, to rest.
POEMS BY LAURENCE HOPE
|"Malaria" is reprinted from India's Love Lyrics. Trans. Laurence Hope. New York: John Lane Co., 1906.