Francis Thompson

(16 December 1859 – 13 November 1907 / Preston, England)

Inscription - Poem by Francis Thompson

When the last stir of bubbling melodies
Broke as my chants sank underneath the wave
Of dulcitude, but sank again to rise
Where man's embaying mind those waters lave,
(For music hath its Oceanides
Flexuously floating through their parent seas,
And such are these),
I saw a vision--or may it be
The effluence of a dear desired reality?
I saw two spirits high, -
Two spirits, dim within the silver smoke
Which is for ever woke
By snowing lights of fountained Poesy.
Two shapes they were familiar as love;
They were those souls, whereof
One twines from finest gracious daily things,
Strong, constant, noticeless, as are heart-strings
The golden cage wherein this song-bird sings;
And the other's sun gives hue to all my flowers,
Which else pale flowers of Tartarus would grow,
Where ghosts watch ghosts of blooms in ghostly bowers; -
For we do know
The hidden player by his harmonies,
And by my thoughts I know what still hands thrill the keys.

And to these twain--as from the mind's abysses
All thoughts draw toward the awakening heart's sweet kisses,
With proffer of their wreathen fantasies, -
Even so to these
I saw how many brought their garlands fair,
Whether of song, or simple love, they were, -
Of simple love, that makes best garlands fair.
But one I marked who lingered still behind,
As for such souls no seemly gift had he:
He was not of their strain,
Nor worthy of so bright beings to entertain,
Nor fit compeer for such high company.
Yet was he, surely, born to them in mind,
Their youngest nursling of the spirit's kind.
Last stole this one,
With timid glance, of watching eyes adread,
And dropped his frightened flower when all were gone;
And where the frail flower fell, it withered.
But yet methought those high souls smiled thereon;
As when a child, upstraining at your knees
Some fond and fancied nothings, says, 'I give you these!'


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010



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