'Tis eight miles out, and eight miles in,
Just at the break of morn.
'Tis ice without and flame within,
To gain a kiss at dawn!
(To the Hills!, 1-4)
Adela Florence Cory was born on April 9, 1865, at Stoke Bishop, Gloucestershire, to Colonel Arthur Cory and Fanny Elizabeth Griffin. She was brought up by relations in England and attended school in Richmond near London while her father, in the Bombay army, was posted in Lahore, India. Once she reached sixteen, she joined him first in Lahore and then in Karachi, where she and her sisters, Isabell and Vivian (a novelist whose pen-name was to be Victoria Cross), helped him edit the Sind Gazette. Colonel Malcolm Hassels Nicolson, a Bombay army veteran, and Adela (at 23, half his age), wed in 1889; and she accompanied him as he served in the northwest. They settled down in Army headquarters in Mhow once he was promoted to General. There she wrote much of her verse. Between 1900 and her death on Oct. 4, 1904, they lived alternately in England, South Africa, and India. Her first book of poems, The Garden of Kama (1901) -- the Indian god of love -- brought her immediate celebrity and the admiration of writers like Thomas Hardy. Two months after her husband died in an operation, Adela took poison and died, 39 years old, in Madras, leaving a son who was to edit her selected poems in 1922. She left a volume of Last Poems yet unpublished, dedicated to her late husband with a poem that closed:
Small joy was I to thee; before we met
Sorrow had left thee all too sad to save.
Useless my love -- as vain as this regret
That pours my hopeless life across thy grave.
Given name: Adela Florence Nicolson
Family name: Cory
Birth date: 9 April 1865
Death date: 4 October 1904
Pseudonym: Laurence Hope
father: Arthur Cory
mother: Fanny Elizabeth Cory
husband: Malcolm Hassels Nicolson
sister: Isabell Cory
sister: Vivian Cory
son: Malcolm Josceline Nicolson
Madras, India to 1904
Richmond, London, England to 1882
Stoke Bishop, Gloucestershire: 1865
Lahore, India: 1882
Mhow, India: 1889 to 1900
England: 1900 to 1904
South Africa: 1900 to 1904
Cause of death: Suicide
Buried at: St Mary's Cemetery, Madras
First RPO edition: 2001