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FRANCIS THOMPSON
English poet
(1859 - 1907)
  Displaying page 1 of 2    Next Page >> 

For my soul prays, Sweet,
  Still to your face in Heaven,
    Heaven in your face, Sweet.
      - [Face]

Nothing begins, and nothing ends,
  That is not paid with moan;
    For we are born in others' pain,
      And perish in our own.
      - [Pain]

Since you have waned from us,
  Fairest of women!
    I am a darkened cage
      Songs cannot hymn in.
        My songs have followed you,
          Like birds the summer;
            Ah! bring them back to me,
              Swiftly, dear comer.
                Seraphim,
                  Her to hymn
                    Might leave their portals;
                      And at my feet learn
                        The harping of mortals!
      - A Carrier Song [Absence]

Swift, swift, and bring with you
  Song's Indian summer!
      - A Carrier Song (st. 2) [Songs]

I have no angels left
  Now, Sweet, to pray to:
    Where you have made your shrine
      They are away to.
        They have struck Heaven's tent,
          And gone to cover you:
            Whereso you keep your state
              Heaven is pitched over you.
      - A Carrier Song (st. 4) [Angels]

The sopped sun--toper as ever drank hard--
  Stares foolish, hazed,
    Rubicund, dazed,
      Totty with thine October tankard.
      - A Corymbus for Autumn (st. 1) [Sun]

How are the veins of thee, Autumn, laden.
  Umbered juices,
    And pulped oozes
      Pappy out of the cherry-bruises,
        Froth the veins of thee, wild, wild maiden.
          With hair that musters
            In globed clusters,
              In trumbling clusters, like swarthy grapes,
                Round thy brow and thine ears o'ershaden;
                  With the burning darkness of eyes like pansies,
                    Like velvet pansies
                      Where through escapes
                        The splendid might of thy conflagrate fancies;
                          With robe gold-tawny not hiding the shapes
                            Of the feet whereunto it falleth down,
                              Thy naked feet unsandalled;
                                With robe gold-tawny that does not veil
                                  Feet where the red
                                    Is meshed in the brown,
                                      Like a rubied sun in a Venice-sail.
      - A Corymbus for Autumn (st. 2) [Autumn]

The Summer looks out from her brazen tower,
  Through the flashing bars of July.
      - A Corymbus for Autumn (st. 3) [July]

See how there
  The cowled night
    Kneels on the Eastern sanctuary-stair.
      - A Corymbus for Autumn (st. 5) [Sunrise]

The fairest things have fleetest end:
  Their scent survives their close,
    But the rose's scent is bitterness
      To him that loved the rose!
      - Daisy (st. 10) [Roses]

She went her unremembering way,
  She went and left in me
    The pang of all the partings gone,
      And partings yet to be.
      - Daisy (st. 12) [Parting]

The chambers in the house of dreams
  Are fed with so divine an air,
    That Time's hoar wings grow young therein,
      And they who walk there are most fair.
      - Dream Tryst (st. 3) [Dreams]

There is no expeditious road
  To pack and label men for God,
    And save them by the barrel-load.
      Some may perchance, with strange surprise,
        Have blundered into Paradise.
      - Epilogue (st. 2) [Paradise]

But lilies, stolen from grassy mold,
  No more curled state unfold,
    Translated to a vase of gold;
      In burning throne though they keep still
        Serenities unthawed and chill.
      - Gilded Gold (st. 1) [Lilies]

So for thy spirit did devise
  Its Maker seemly garniture,
    Of its own essence parcel pure.--
      From grave simplicities a dress,
        And reticent demureness,
          And love encinctured with reserve;
            Which the woven vesture would subserve.
              For outward robes in their ostents
                Should show the soul's habiliments.
                  Therefore I say,--Thou'rt fair even so,
                    But better Fair I use to know.
      - Gilded Gold (st. 2) [Apparel]

Oh, but the heavenly grammar did I hold
  Of that high speech which angels' tongues turn gold!
    So should her deathless beauty take no wrong,
      Praised in her own great kindred's fit and cognate tongue.
        Or if that language yet with us abode
          Which Adam in the garden talked with God!
            But our untempered speech descends--poor heirs!
              Grimy and rough-cast still from Babel's brick layers:
                Curse on the brutish jargon we inherit,
                  Strong but to damn, not memorise, a spirit!
                    A cheek, a lip, a limb, a bosom, they
                      Move with light ease in speech of working-day;
                        And women we do use to praise even so.
      - Her Portrait [Speech]

Deep in my heart subsides the infrequent word,
  And there dies slowly throbbing like a wounded bird.
      - Her Portrait (st. 3) [Words]

The immortal could we cease to contemplate,
  The mortal part suggests its every trait.
    God laid His fingers on the ivories
      Of her pure members as on smoothed keys,
        And there out-breathed her spirit's harmonies.
      - Her Portrait (st. 7) [Mortality]

How should I gauge what beauty is her dole,
  Who cannot see her countenance for her soul,
    As birds see not the casement for the sky?
      And as 'tis check they prove its presence by,
        I know not of her body till I find
          My flight debarred the heaven of her mind.
      - Her Portrait (st. 9) [Beauty]

Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
  I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist.
      - Hound of Heaven (l. 126) [World]

I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
  Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
    From the hid battlements of Eternity;
      Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
        Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again.
      - Hound of Heaven (l. 143) [Time]

Like to a wind-blown sapling grow I from
  The cliff, Sweet, of your skyward-jetting soul,--
    Shook by all gusts that sweep it, overcome
      By all its clouds incumbent; O be true
        To your soul, dearest, as my life to you!
          For if that soil grew sterile, then the whole
            Of me must shrivel, from the topmost shoot
              Of climbing poesy, and my life, killed through,
                Dry down and perish to the foodless root.
      - Manus Animam Pinxit [Love]

But from your mind's chilled sky
  It needs must drop, and lie with stiffened wings
    Among your soul's forlornest things;
      A speck upon your memory, alack!
        A dead fly in a dusty window-crack.
      - Manus Animam Pinxit (st. 2) [Oblivion]

Whose body other ladies well might bear
  As soul,--yea, which it profanation were
    For all but you to take as fleshy woof,
      Being spirit truest proof.
      - Manus Animam Pinxit (st. 3) [Beauty]

Whose form is as a grove
  Hushed with the cooing of an unseen dove.
      - Manus Animam Pinxit (st. 3) [Beauty]


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