Adela Florence Nicolson Biography

Adela Florence Nicolson was an english poet, known for writing romantic poems under the pseudonym, ‘Lawrence Hope’. Read this Biography to learn more about his profile, childhood, life and timeline.

Adela Florence Nicolson

Quick Facts

Also known as: Adela Florence Cory (British English)
Gender: Female
Birthday: 09 April 1865
Died: 04 October 1904
Nationality: British
Sun Sign: Aries
Spouse/Ex-: Malcolm Nicolson
Siblings: Annie Sophie Cory

Adela Florence Nicolson was a famous English poet who commonly wrote her poems under the pseudonym, ‘Lawrence Hope’. Her poems were extremely popular during the Edwardian period and many musical adaptations and songs of her poetry were produced. It is believed that most of her poetry often spoke about loss, unrequited love and confessions. Many composers such as Amy Woodforde-Finden set the verses of Nicolson’s ‘Garden of Kama’ in their own productions.

Early Life & Career

Adela Florence Nicolson was born on April 9, 1865 in Gloucestershire, England. She was the second of the three daughters born to Colonel Arthur Cory and Fanny Elizabeth Griffin. Her father was based in the British Army at Lahore and hence, Nicolson was raised by her relatives in England before joining her father in India in 1881. Her father was an editor at the ‘Civil and Military Gazette’ and Nicolson’s sisters were writers in their own right.
Very little is known about Nicolson’s early life and career. However, it is documented that in 1901, Nicolson published ‘Garden of Kama’, which fell under the suspicious eyes of many poets after she passed the verses of her publication as mere translations of other poets. It is said that Nicolson used a lot of imagery, symbolism and metaphors in her poems inspired by the North-West Frontier of India and the Sufi poets of Persia. Her popularity grew and novelists such as Thomas Hardy tried to build on Nicolson’s poems and even produced musical adaptations of her works. Since then, her works faded into obscurity.
Adela Florence Nicolson married Malcolm Hassels Nicolson, who was twice her age and a talented linguist. His love for the Indian culture inspired many of her works. The couple lived in Indore for nearly ten years before her husband died after a prostate operation. This unbearable loss led her to commit suicide by poisoning herself in Madras on October 4, 1904. Their only son, Malcolm, published whatever was left of her works, posthumously.
Major Works
‘The Garden of Kama And other Love Lyrics from India’
‘Stars of the Desert’
‘Less than the Dust’
‘To the Hills!’
‘The River of Pearls at Fez: Translation’
‘The Net of Memory’.
‘Last Poems: Translations from the Book of Indian Love’.
‘Selected Poems’
Laurence Hope’s Poems
‘Collected Love Lyrics’


Her poems were very famous during the Edwardian Era and many modern movie makers and composers set many of her lyrics into their music such as Amy Woodforde-Finden, who set the lyrics from the ‘Garden of Kama’ and ‘Stars of the Desert’ into their musical works.

Media Representations

Many of Adela Florence Nicolson’s works were adapted into two films and music compositions. Thomas Hardy is one such personality, who adapted her lyrics and poetry and incorporated it into his films. Some of her biographical information and unpublished memoirs were published by Lesley Blanch, for which the information was provided to her by Nicolson’s son. Violet Jacob, a Scottish writer, summed the lives of the Nicolsons in her book, ‘Diaries and Letters from India.’

Personal Life

Adela married Colonel Malcolm Hassels, who was twice her age and the commander of the 3rd Baluchi Regiment. He was the one who introduced Nicolson to the culture, the food and the life of India, after which she fell in love with the country. Adela was prone to severe bouts of depression since childhood and was afflicted with severe trauma after her husband’s death. She poisoned herself in Madras in 1904.


1865: Adela Florence Nicolson was born in Stoke Bishop, on April 9th.
1881: She left for India to join her father, who worked for ‘The Civil and Military Gazette’.
1889: She married Colonel Malcolm Hassels Nicolson.
1901: She published ‘Garden of Kama’.
1903: Nicolson also published ‘Stars of the Desert’ this year.
1904: She committed suicide on October 4, in Madras.

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Adela Florence Nicolson Biography

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Last Updated

May 28, 2019

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