Indian Arts and Culture Hinduism The Love Songs of Sarojini Naidu Share Flipboard Email Print Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain Hinduism Indian Arts and Culture India Past and Present Important Texts Temples and Organizations Hindu Gods Hindu Gurus and Saints By Subhamoy Das M.A., English Literature, University of North Bengal Subhamoy Das is the co-author of "Applied Hinduism: Ancient Wisdom for Today's World." He has written several books about Hinduism for children and young adults. our editorial process Subhamoy Das Updated March 09, 2019 Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949), the great Indo-Anglian poet, scholar, freedom fighter, feminist, political activist, orator, and administrator, was the first woman president of the Indian National Congress and first Indian state governor. Sarojini Chattopadhyay or Sarojini Naidu, as the world knows her, was born on February 13, 1879, in a Hindu Bengali Brahmin family. As a child, Sarojini was very emotional and sentimental. She had a prominent romantic trait in her blood: "My ancestors for thousands of years have been lovers of the forest and the mountain caves, great dreamers, great scholars, great ascetics…" All these qualities manifest themselves in her romantic lyrics, a world of fantasy and allegoric idealism. Sarojini's letter to Arthur Symons when she was a teenager inviting him to her home reveal her passionate self: "Come and share my exquisite March morning with me…All is hot and fierce and passionate, ardent and unashamed in its exulting and importunate desire for life and love…" Symons found, "Her eyes were like deep pools and you seem to fall through them into depths below depths." She was petite and used to dress in 'clinging silks', and wore her hair loose 'straight down her back', spoke little and in 'a low voice, like gentle music'. Edmund Gosse said of her, "She was a child of sixteen, but…was already marvelous in mental maturity, amazingly well-read and far beyond a western child in all her acquaintance with the world." Here is a selection of love poems from The Golden Threshold by Sarojini Naidu with an Introduction by Arthur Symons (John Lane Company, New York, 1916): "The Poet's Love Song", "Ecstasy", "Autumn Song", "An Indian Love Song", "A Love Song From the North", and "A Rajput Love Song". The Poet's Love-SongIn noon-tide hours, O Love, secure and strong,I need thee not; mad dreams are mine to bindThe world to my desire, and hold the windA voiceless captive to my conquering song.I need thee not, I am content with these:Keep silence in thy soul, beyond the seas! But in the desolate hour of midnight, whenAn ecstasy of starry silence sleepsAnd my soul hungers for thy voice, O then,Love, like the magic of wild melodies,Let thy soul answer mine across the seas. EcstasyCover mine eyes, O my Love!Mine eyes that are weary of blissAs of light that is poignant and strongO silence my lips with a kiss,My lips that are weary of song!Shelter my soul, O my love!My soul is bent low with the painAnd the burden of love, like the graceOf a flower that is smitten with rain:O shelter my soul from thy face! Autumn SongLike a joy on the heart of a sorrow,The sunset hangs on a cloud;A golden storm of glittering sheaves,Of fair and frail and fluttering leaves,The wild wind blows in a cloud.Hark to a voice that is callingTo my heart in the voice of the wind:My heart is weary and sad and alone,For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone, And why should I stay behind? An Indian Love SongLift up the veils that darken the delicate moonof thy glory and grace,Withhold not, O love, from the nightof my longing the joy of thy luminous face,Give me a spear of the scented keoraguarding thy pinioned curls,Or a silken thread from the fringesthat trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfumeand the song of thy anklets' caprice,Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectarthat dwells in the flower of thy kiss. SheHow 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 foeof 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. HeWhat 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 bellsand the cry of the muezzin.For Love shall cancel the ancient wrongand conquer the ancient rage,Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrowthat sullied a bygone age. A Love Song from the NorthTell me no more of thy love, papeeha*,Wouldst thou recall to my heart, papeeha,Dreams of delight that are gone,When swift to my side came the feet of my loverWith stars of the dusk and the dawn?I see the soft wings of the clouds on the river,And jewelled with raindrops the mango-leaves quiver,And tender boughs flower on the plain.....But what is their beauty to me, papeeha,Beauty of blossom and shower, papeeha,That brings not my lover again?Tell me no more of thy love, papeeha,Wouldst thou revive in my heart, papeehaGrief for the joy that is gone?I hear the bright peacock in glimmering woodlandsCry to its mate in the dawn;I hear the black koel's slow, tremulous wooing,And sweet in the gardens the calling and cooingOf passionate bulbul and dove....But what is their music to me, papeehaSongs of their laughter and love, papeeha,To me, forsaken of love? A Rajput Love Song(Parvati at her lattice)O Love! were you a basil-wreath to twineamong my tresses,A jewelled clasp of shining gold to bind around my sleeve,O Love! were you the keora's soul that hauntsmy silken raiment,A bright, vermilion tassel in the girdles that I weave; O Love! were you the scented fanthat lies upon my pillow,A sandal lute, or silver lamp that burns before my shrine,Why should I fear the jealous dawnthat spreads with cruel laughter,Sad veils of separation between your face and mine? Haste, O wild-bee hours, to the gardens of the sun set!Fly, wild-parrot day, to the orchards of the west!Come, O tender night, with your sweet,consoling darkness,And bring me my Beloved to the shelter of my breast! (Amar Singh in the saddle)O Love! were you the hooded hawk upon my handthat flutters,Its collar-band of gleaming bells atinkle as I ride,O Love! were you a turban-spray orfloating heron-feather,The radiant, swift, unconquered swordthat swingeth at my side; O Love! were you a shield against thearrows of my foemen,An amulet of jade against the perils of the way,How should the drum-beats of the dawndivide me from your bosom,Or the union of the midnight be ended with the day? Haste, O wild-deer hours, to the meadows of the sunset!Fly, wild stallion day, to the pastures of the west!Come, O tranquil night, with your soft,consenting darkness,And bear me to the fragrance of my Beloved's breast!