Places -- words and phrases -- names (actual) -- names (characters) -- botanical


Place names mentioned in the poetry of Laurence Hope may appear on first glance to be merely exotic, but in fact the poet appears to have generally restricted her use of place names to those places she had lived in or visited, or which she knew of through her husband. The locations fall into four groups: (1) the few place names associated with England, (2) places in or near the Indian cities where she lived at various periods (Lahore, Karachi, Mhow, Malabar), (3) places associated with Afghanistan, where much of Malcolm's military work was centered, and the bordering Zhob Valley, where she is believed to have accompanied Malcolm in 1890, and (4) places visited on a trip to the Far East and North Africa in [1900].  See notes on Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Afghan war 1878-80; See also Kandahar, Cabul.

Apozai: About 50 mi. south of Gul Kach. The destination of the march in "Camp Followers Song, Gomal River" "We have left Gul Kach behind us, / Are marching on Apozai, where pleasure and rest are waiting / To welcome us by and by." Nicolson's column arrived at Apozai on October 28. On the 30th there was a parade of all the troops (McFall reports that "In all, 43 British officers and 2656 men of other ranks took part in this parade" [115]), "and the same day a darbar was held at which Sir Robert Sandeman distributed rewards to the chiefs of Zhob headed by Sardar Shingul Khan, who had heartily co-operated in our arrangements, and Sir Robert Sandeman took the opportunity of congratulating the Sardar on the general good behaviour of the people of the valley since the establishment of the British protectorate" (Report 13). Nicolson and his troops remained in Apozai until the 31st, when his column, accompanied by Sir Robert Sandman and another political officer, Mr. Bruce, embarked on the second phase of the mission, the subjugation of the Sheranis.  See notes on Zhob Valley.

Baltistan: The second of two songs attributed to Sitara of Kashmir is "The Girl from Baltistan" about a girl waiting for her lover, coming by boat.

Bikanir: In "The Guru's Tale: the Enchanted Night" the guru tells his Chela of a woman he met "on the march to Bikanir," who is discovered to be no mortal mistress when she stretches her arm across the room to put out a lamp.

Burmah (also Burma): See "Hira-Singh's Farewell to Burma."

Cabul: (also Kabul), city in Afghanistan (capital?) 200 mi. E. of Islamabad, 400 mi. NE of Lahore. Where one of the lovers of "Yasmini"is last heard from, and where "Lost Delight" may have been sold at the market place, after the Hazara war.

Cananore (also Cannanore, Kananur): port in SW India, on the Arabian sea. pop 46,000 (1961). See Written in Cananore (Last).

Casa Blanca: seaport in NW Morocco. See "The Lute Player of Casa Blanca" (Stars).

Enfifa River: presumably a river in Morocco: "Song of the Enfifa River" (Stars) mentions Abdullah, drowned . . . on the road to Rabat, Morocco. See Rabat.

Feroke: In Malabar. In the poem "Feroke" the poet recalls a corpse floating by on the river. LH was in Feroke in July, 1904, shortly before her husband's death, as letters to Henry Bruce and Thomas Hardy attest.

Fez: City in Northern Morocco, formerly one of the traditional capitals of the sultanate in the former French zone. "The River of Pearls at Fez" records an evening there "stringing verses and sometimes singing."

Fidala, Morocco: "Sleep" (stars) refers to "The Moorish Slave, at Fidala, Morocco." Fedala: a few miles East of Casablanca.

Gir-dao plain: Gir-dao or Gardao is about 10 miles south of Gul Kach. The speaker of "Camp Followers Song, Gomal River" says, "We're falling back from the Gomal, / Across the Gir-dao plain, / The camping ground is deserted, / We'll never come back again." On October 25, 1890, according to the Report of the Zhob Valley Field Force, "Colonel Nicolson marched to Gardani (20½ miles), the road crossing the Shinbaza Kotal (5,320') and then going over the Gardao plain." The previous camp was at Inzara, where "water had to be brought...and a few shots were fired at the first men who went down to fetch it, but without effect." The twenty-mile (presumably downhill) march was unusually long. It was a three day march (37.5 miles) from Gardani to Apozai.  See notes on Zhob Valley.

Gomal River (Gumal River) crosses the border between the Indian Frontier Province and Afghanistan, north of the Zhob Valley. The movement described in "Camp Followers Song, Gomal River" is heading south.  See notes on Zhob Valley.

Gul Kach: Near Kajuri Kach, in the Zhob Valley region. Another place left behind in "Camp Followers Song, Gomal River." Gul Kach is not mentioned in the brief description or the map of this region in the Report, but the location appears on other maps. See notes on Zhob Valley.

Hazara: Frazer-Tytler writes that "The Hazarahs are traditionally and probably correctly believed to be descendants of Mongol Tatar regiments r mings brought into the country by Chenghiz Khan or one of the later Mongol rulers as garrison troops" and that "they profess the Shiah faith and speak a Persian patois intermingled with Tatar words." According to Edward Oliver, writing in 1890, "There is nothing that, for the grandeur of its mountains, its plentiful streams, picturesque scenery, and charming variety, can touch the Hazâra Valley; and probably few can boast a more interesting diversity of people, more thriving villages, or where prosperity more obviously marks the security of British rule" (330). He notes that "The district was taken over by the British, as a too turbulent bit of country for its Sikh Governor's taste, in exchange for a strip of territory on the southern frontier of Jammu, in 1847"(331-2) and approves of the Hazaras as "fairly submissive subjects" (335). "The Hazara War" probably refers to one of the many wars between the Hazaras and the neighboring Afghans, as Fraser-Tytler notes that "The Hazarahs differ radically from the Afghans, with whom they have been constantly at feud."  See notes on Hazara.

Ilore: The speaker of "The Rao of Ilore" is bought by the Rao but regrettably is given away to the Diwan.

Kasbah: The older, native quarter of the city of Algiers. Where "Hamlili, the Sultan of Song" becomes a victim of slander.

Kashmir: Setting for a number of poems, including songs attributed to Juma and Sitara, and the unattributed "Kashmiri Song"

Khorassan: Setting of "'Lost Delight': After the Hazara War" and home to the title characters of "Syed Amir" (Stars) and "Yasin Khan" (Last).

Koel: A kind of bird. Churels dwell in peepul trees "where the Koel sings," according to "Lalla Radha and the Churel."

Kotri: Across the Indus River from Hyderabad, about 80 mi. from Karachi. Scene of "Kotri, by the River."  See notes on Kotri.

Maroc: Alternative spelling for Morocco. Maroc's market place is the point of purchase for "The Slave."

Morocco: in North Africa, a possession of France. Visited by the Nicolsons in 1902, according to Lesley Blanch (205). See also Casa Blanca, Fidala, Rabat.  See notes on Morocco.

Rabat: Seaport city in Morocco, between Tangier and Casablanca. Population: 841,800 (present)

Ramesram: Ramesram Temple is the home of the singer of "Song of Ramesram Temple Girl"; Ramesram is also the viewpoint for the procession described in "Shivratri (the Night of Shiva)"

Rutland Gate: place where a homeless person is seen in poem of that name.

Sambur: or sambhur; animal, unidentified, mentioned in "Atavism."

Shalimar: See notes on Shalimar Gardens.

Sibi: South of the Zhob Valley. Location of a horse fair, to which the cursed Kaffir followed the speaker of "This Month the Almonds Bloom at Kandahar" where he shot him.

Simrole: See notes on Simrole.

Soko: "Hamlili, the Sultan of Song" is "Beloved in the Soko," but not in the Kasbah, where his eyes are burnt out.  See notes on Walter Harris.

Sus: Origin of a slave in "Sleep"

Takht-i-Suliman: Literally, "throne of Solomon." Highest mountain in the Zhob Valley region. A maiden resting under "The Sinjib Tree," "be she cold as bitterest snow / On Takht-i-Suliman's crest, / Yet she will open her arms to thee / And entreat to be caressed."

Taku: fortified city in E. Hopeh, in NE China, E. of Tientsin. The forts at Taku were occupied by various European powers, including substantial numbers of British troops, and were attacked both during the Opium Wars in 1860 and during the Boxer rebellion in June, 1900. It is quite possible that the Nicolson's had visited Taku during the months they spent in China in 1891, as Lesley Branch records that they were in Peking, which is quite near Taku. Their visit may have been called to mind in the wake of the notorious events in Taku in 1900. The poem appeared in Stars (September 1903), after the rebellion had been quelled.

Tirah: "The traditional heart of the Afridi homeland is the Tirah, a series of small valleys just south of the Khyber Pass. The beauty and fertility of the Tirah is legendary among the Pathans" (Spain, The Way of the Pathans, 61). The hearts of Syed Amir's friends are compared to the Tirah snows in "Syed Amir."

Udaipore (Udaipur): city in s. rajasthan, in NW india. 111,000 (1961). Also called Mewar, former state in NW India, merged into Rajasthan state 1948. "Story of Udaipore: Told by Lalla-Ji, the Priest" of leper-kissing woman.

Wharncliffe House: Back "home": where?

Zem-Zem: site or name of a well, whose water, according to "Song of the Devoted Slave," "Should bubble and flow in your chamber"


Hazara War

Maëterlinck's 'Life of the Bee'

June 23rd: presumably the date records a performance of Tristan und Isolde, with Ternina as Isolde. Likely to be between 1898, when Ternina made her Covent Garden début as Isolde on June 3, and 1902. The publication date of Stars of the Desert, September 1903, makes that year unlikely and any later date impossible.

Words and Phrases

Afridi: An ethnic group of Afghanistan.

Burning-Ghat: Places along the river where the dead are cremated.

Churel: Hindi. Ghost of a woman who has died in childbirth, believed to haunt lonely places malevolently and spread disease (OED); mentioned in Kim (viii 197); supernatural femme fatale that kills Lalla Radha in "Lalla Radha and the Churel"

Churus (churrus, also charas): ganja; i.e. marijuana or its resinous extract. The speaker of "Syed Amir" maddened himself (herself?) with Churus (LH's emphasis), but says, "it could not cure me." To take her mind off her rejecting lover Yasmini, in "The Lament of Yasmini, the Dancing-Girl," recalls turning to other loves "To aid, when Churus and Opium failed."

Diwan: Hindi (also dewan). In India, any of certain officials, as a finance minister or a prime minister. The speaker of "The Rao of Ilore" regrets the Rao's gift of her to the Diwan.

Droit du Seigneur: French. The right of the king to deflower virgins preceding their marriage.

Ginbri: an Algerian musical instrument? In "Hamlili, the Sultan of Song," Hamlili's "tears clustered thick on his lashes . . . As, torn from the heart of the ginbri, / The music, caressive and tender, / Arose in the tremulous air."

Hakim: Arabic. a physician or doctor, in muslim countries and India; "The Hakim's powder" (medicine? drug? poison?) is mentioned in "This Month the Almonds Bloom at Kandahar."

Inshallah!: Arabic. "If Allah wills!"

Kafila: Arabic? the character of "Feroza" gets into trouble because she strays "behind the Kafila far"

Kang: (also k'ang, khang): Chinese. a brick or wooden apparatus for sleeping upon, warmed by a fire placed underneath. The speaker of "Opium: Li's Riverside Hut at Taku" partakes of the drug while lying "upon the heated Kang."

Istar-i-Sahara: Arabic. Presumably, star of the Sahara. Relation to "stars of the desert"?

Kama: "the god of erotic desire, sometmes seen as an aspect of the god (?) whose other aspect is mara, death. Translated by LH as "the Indian Eros"

Kaffir: The cursed Kaffir's bullet holds the speaker in an unnamed city on the plain, when he wants to be in Kandahar, in "This Month the Almonds Bloom at Kandahar." The term is somewhat ambiguous. In arabic it means simply "infidel." But here, it probably refers to a member of the Kafirs, residents of Nuristan. Fraser-Tytler cites an 1895 account of the Kafirs by the British agent at Gilgit, who writes:

The Kafirs are a people of magnificent physique of its kind, lightly built and active with great powers of endurance. They have a great idea of personal dignity, and give the appearance of a people whom forceof circumstances has caused to degenerate from something higher. Many of them have the heads of philosophers and statesmen, and are men of considerable mental power with well-bred Aryan features. Their love of decoration, their carving and their architecture all point to the time when they were higher in the scale of human development than they are at present. At the same time their ideas and all the associations of their history and their religion are simply bloodshed, assassination and blackmailing. And yet they are not and never could be savages. Their physical courage is great and they have considerable contept for the Pathan tries on their border with whom until thir conversion to Islam they were at perpetual feud. Their tribal divisions are numerous, and each tribe differs from its neighbour in language, dress and manners and customs. (59)

He goes on to discuss their religion, a "somewhat low form of idolatry with an admixture of fire and ancestor worship" and their treatment of women: "Women have no place in Kafir society save as beasts of burden and bearers of children. They are highly immoral and repulsively dirty. Marriage is a simple affair and consists in the purchase of a girl by a man who wants her for a price over which theere is frequently much haggling. Polygamy is common." It seems likely that Kipling modeled his fictional "Kafiristan" in "The Man Who Would be King" (1899) on the Nuristani Kafirs.

Mouddin: The Mouddin's mournful cry is heard "across" the songs of the lute player at Casa Blanca: "the faithful's evening cry"

Parao: language? translated as "camping ground"

Peri: beautiful fairy of Persian mythology. Gives gift of beauty in "Song of the Peri."

Rani: Hindi (also Ranee). The wife of a rajah. Rajah usually designates a king or prince, but may be used merely as an honorary title.

Rao: See "The Rao of Ilore"

Rhibab: Sher Afzul's weapon: "Touching my rhibab lightly as I went."

Tope: Hindi. In Buddhist countries, a dome-shaped monument, usually for religious relics. One of the things longed for in "My Desire" is "a low verandah'd house/ In a tope beside the sea."

Tyah: ??? "Surface Rights" describes the "Twinking lights of a Tyah homestead."

Vayu: Hindi. The wind, as in LH's translation.

Shiah: (Shi'ite): the speaker of "This Month the Almonds Bloom at Kandahar" believes it "a Duty/ to rid the World from Shiah dogs" like Amir Ali. His observation that "They are but ill-placed moles on Islam's beauty" identifies his as a member of the Sunni Moslem tratition, which opposes the Shi'ite tradition in certain doctrinal principles.

Shivratri: Hindi? translated as "the night of Shiva," a festival. Shiva (or Siva), "the destroyer" is the third member of the Trimurti, along with Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Preserver.

Waziri: Inhabitants of Waziristan (Northwest Frontier Province). Yasin Khan is almost done in by "A spent Waziri, forceful still, in hate,"who fortunately misses him, as the speaker recalls.


Amir Ali








Khan Zada




Lalla Radha



Mahomed Akram

Mir Khah

Morsellin Khan



Sher Afzul


Syed Amir

the Ferengi Lover





Akbar: (1556-1605) Notable ruler of India and Afghanistan. In "Yasin Khan" the speaker recalls a night spent "Crouched in a camel's carcase by the road,/ Along which Akbar's soldiers, scouting, went,/ And he himself, all unsuspecting, rode."

Arthus E. J. Legge: Misspelling or typographical error for Arthur Edward John Legge (1863-?). Writer of poetry (Town and Country Poems, London: Nutt, 1900) and fiction. "'Oh Life, I Have Taken You for My Lover" (Stars) is dedicated "To Arthus E.J. Legge, who suggested this idea."  See notes on Arthur Legge.

Gautama (566?-c480 b.c.): the historical Buddha, mentioned in "I Arise and Go Down to the River." The Buddha's philosophy of renunciation of desire is not really compatible with LH's philosophy of passion, and, as such, is not treated particularly kindly in the poem: as he leaves the palace, Gautama loathes "the embraces, the softness and scent of the place / But, ah, if his night had been loveless, with no one to solace his need, / He never had written that sermon which men so devotedly read."

Maeterlinck: See notes on Maeterlinck.

M. C. N.: probably Adela's sister-in-law, Mary Caroline Nicolson, who was left in charge of the Nicolson's son while they traveled in the Far East and after they returned to India. "To M.C.N." is dedicated to its subject: "Thou hast no wealth, nor any pride of power,/ Thy life is offered on affection's altar. / Small sacrifices claim thee, hour by hour, / Yet on the tedious path thou dost not falter."

N. L. K.: Probably Natica Lister Kaye, the wife of Sir John Lister Kaye, with whom the Nicolsons entered into an ultimately unsuccessful investment scheme involving railway concessions in the 1890s. Presumably N.L.K. accompanied Adela to see Ternina in Tristan und Isolde on June 23rd of either 1900, 1901, 1902, or 1903.  See notes on Lister-Kaye.

Savonarola: See notes on Savonarola.

Ternina: Milka Ternina (1863-1941) was a Croatian Soprano, well-known in the opera world at the turn of the century. After studying in Zagreb and at the Vienna Conservatory, she began her professional career in 1882. "She had a superb voice whose 'overwhelming plenitude of warm, mellow tone' (New York Times) was heard to best advantage in the great Wagner roles, while her dramatic gifts were magnificently displayed in such parts as Leonore and Tosca." (New Grove 695). Her American début was at Boston in 1896, singing Brünnhilde and Isolde with the Damrosch Opera Company; she made her Covent Garden début as Isolde on 3 June 1898, later appearing there as Sieglinde in Die Walküre, and Brünnhilde in Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. She was in demand throughout Europe and America from the mid-1890s until her retirement in 1906.  See notes on Milka Ternina.

Walter Harris of Tangier: Attributed translator of "The Orange Garden" from "the Moorish."  See notes on Walter Harris.

Yasin Khan, C. I. E. , Subedar-Major, Honorary Captain and Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor-General; recieved the distinction of Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire on July 24th, 1901, in recognition of his excellent military services. Address: Peshawar. [Who's Who in India 1911 lucknoe: newul kishore press 1911. pt 3 punjab, p. 158

Inayat Khan, Rai, of Raikot; title confered on jan 2 1911 in rec of pub services. pt iii 151







coco palm




Kadapu tree

kuskus grass









sinjib tree "The flower of Khorassan"

Kuskus grass

champac: a beautiful indian tree, bearing orange coloured highly fragrant flowers, held in esteem by the natives of india (OED)


"Operations of the Zhob field force, 1890, and Tochi field force, 1897-98, and Report and diary on the Mekran expedition." Quetta: Nisa traders: sole distributors, Gosha e Adab, 1978.

MacGregor, Charles Metcalfe, Sir. "War in Afghanistan, 1879-80: the personal diary of Major General Sir Charles Metcalfe MacGregor." Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985.

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed Stanley Sadie, v. 18

Oliver, Edward Emmerson. Across the border : or Pathan and Biloch. Illustrated by J. L. Kipling. London: Chapman & Hall, 1890.

Fraser-Tytler, W. K., Afghanistan: a study of political developments in central and southern asia [1949] third ed 1967