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Produced by Marc D'Hooghe.


* * * * *

A Book of Verse by Padraic Colum - Shane

Leslie - Viola Meynell - Ruth Lindsay -

Hugh Austin - Judith Lytton - Olivia

Meynell - Maurice Healy - Monica

Saleeby - Francis Meynell - With

four early Poems by Francis

Thompson, & a Foreword by

Gilbert K. Chesterton.

* * * * *

"He has eyes of youth,
he writes verses"

_The Merry Wives of Windsor_.

* * * * *

The four early poems of Francis Thompson are here published, for
the first time in book form, by the permission of his Literary

We have also to thank the Editors of _The Station, The Tablet,
The Outlook, The New Age, The Westminster Gazette, The Evening
Standard, The Irish Rosary_ and _The Lamp_, for permission to
re-publish other Verses.

* * * * *





Threatened Tears
Arab Love Song
Buona Notte
The Passion of Mary


"I shall not die for you"
An Idyll
Christ the Comrade
Arab Songs (I)
Arab Songs (II)


A Dead Friend (J.S. 1905)
Forest Song
The Bee
Outside the Carlton
The Pater of the Cannon
Fleet Street
To a Nobleman becoming Socialist
St. George-in-the-East


The Ruin
The Dream
The Wanderer
"Nature is the living mantle of God"
Secret Prayer
The Unheeded
Dream of Death


Mater Salvatoris
To Choose
The Hunters


The Astronomer's Prayer
The Moon
To Yvonne
The Burial of Scald


A Day Remembered
Love in Idleness
Love's Counterfeit


A Grief without Christ
The Crowning


In Memoriam
A Ballad of Friendship
In the Midst of Them
Sic Transit




Any Stone
Lux in Tenebris
Mater Inviolata
A Dedication

* * * * *


My office on this occasion is one which I may well carry as lightly as
possible. In our society, I am told, one needs an introduction to a
beautiful woman; but I have never heard of men needing an introduction
to a beautiful song. Prose before poetry is an unmeaning interruption;
for poetry is perhaps the one thing in the world that explains itself.
The only possible prelude for songs is silence; and I shall endeavour
here to imitate the brevity of the silence as well as its stillness.

This collection contains four new poems by one whom all serious critics
now class with Shelley and Keats and those other great ones cut down
with their work unfinished. Yet I would not speak specially of him,
lest modern critics should run away with their mad notion of a one-man
influence; and call this a "school" of Francis Thompson. Francis
Thompson was not a schoolmaster. He would have said as freely as Whitman
(and with a far more consistent philosophy), "I charge you to leave all
free, as I have left all free." The modern world has this mania about
plagiarism because the modern world cannot comprehend the idea of
communion. It thinks that men must steal ideas; it does not understand
that men may share them. The saints did not imitate each other; not
always even study each other; they studied the Imitation of Christ.
A real religion is that in which any two solitary people might suddenly
say the same thing at any moment. It would therefore be most misleading
to give to this collection an air of having been inspired by its most
famous contributor. The little lyrics of this little book must surely
be counted individual, even by those who may count them mysterious.
A variety verging on quaintness is the very note of the assembled bards.

Take, for example, Mr. Colum's stern and simple rendering of the bitter
old Irish verses:

"O woman, shapely as the swan,
On your account I shall not die."

Like Fitzgerald's Omar and all good translations, it leaves one
wondering whether the original was as good; but to an Englishman the
note is not only unique, but almost hostile. It is the hardness of the
real Irishman which has been so skilfully hidden under the softness of
the stage Irishman. The words are ages old, I believe; they come out of
the ancient Ireland of Cairns and fallen Kings: and yet the words might
have been spoken by one of Bernard Shaw's modern heroes to one of his
modern heroines. The curt, bleak words, the haughty, heathen spirit are
certainly as remote as anything can be from the luxuriant humility of
Francis Thompson.

If the writers have a real point of union it is in a certain instinct
for contrast between their shape and subject matter. All the poems are
brief in form, and at the same time big in topic. They remind us of the
vivid illuminations of the virile thirteenth century, when artists
crowded cosmic catastrophes into the corner of an initial letter; where
one may find a small picture of the Deluge or of the flaming Cities of
the Plain. One of the specially short poems sees the universe overthrown
and the good angels conquered. Another short poem sees the newsboys in
Fleet Street shouting the news of the end of the world, and the awful
return of God. The writers seem unconsciously to have sought to make a
poem as large as a revelation, while it was nearly as short as a riddle.
And though Francis Thompson himself was rather in the Elizabethan
tradition of amplitude and ingenuity, he could write separate lines that
were separate poems in themselves: -

"And thou, what needest with thy tribe's black tents,
Who hast the red pavilion of my heart?"

A mediaeval illuminator would have jumped out of his sandals in his
eagerness to illustrate that.




Do not loose those rains thy wet
Eyes, my Fair, unsurely threat;
Do not, Sweet, do not so;
Thou canst not have a single woe,
But this sad and doubtful weatlier
Overcasts us both together.
In the aspect of those known eyes
My soul's a captain weatherwise.
Ah me! what presages it sees
In those watery Hyades.


The hunch├Ęd camels of the night*
Trouble the bright
And silver waters of the moon.
The Maiden of the Morn will soon
Through Heaven stray and sing,
Star gathering.

Now while the dark about our loves is strewn,
Light of my dark, blood of my heart, O come!
And night will catch her breath up, and be dumb.

Leave thy father, leave thy mother
And thy brother;
Leave the black tents of thy tribe apart!
Am I not thy father and thy brother,
And thy mother?

And thou - what needest with thy tribe's black tents
Who hast the red pavilion of my heart?

* The cloud-shapes often observed by travellers in the East.


_Jane Williams, in her last letter to Shelley, wrote: "Why do you
talk of never enjoying moments like the past? Are you going to join
your friend Plato, or do you expect I shall do so soon? Buona
Notte." This letter was dated July 6th, and Shelley was drowned on
the 8th. The following is his imagined reply from, another world_: -

Ariel to Miranda: - hear
This good-night the sea-winds bear;
And let thine unacquainted ear
Take grief for their interpreter.

Good-night; I have risen so high
Into slumber's rarity,
Not a dream can beat its feather
Through the unsustaining ether.
Let the sea-winds make avouch
How thunder summoned me to couch,
Tempest curtained me about
And turned the sun with his own hand out:
And though I toss upon my bed
My dream is not disquieted;
Nay, deep I sleep upon the deep,
And my eyes are wet, but I do not weep;
And I fell to sleep so suddenly
That my lips are moist yet - could'st thou see
With the good-night draught I have drunk to thee.
Thou can'st not wipe them; for it was Death
Damped my lips that has dried my breath.
A little while - it is not long -
The salt shall dry on them like the song.

Now know'st thou, that voice desolate,
Mourning ruined joy's estate,
Reached thee through a closing gate.
"Go'st thou to Plato?" Ah, girl, no!
It is to Pluto that I go.


O Lady Mary, thy bright crown
Is no mere crown of majesty;
For with the reflex of His own
Resplendent thorns Christ circled thee.

The red rose of this passion tide
Doth take a deeper hue from thee,
In the five Wounds of Jesus dyed,
And in Thy bleeding thoughts, Mary.

The soldier struck a triple stroke
That smote thy Jesus on the tree;
He broke the Heart of hearts, and broke
The Saint's and Mother's hearts in thee.

Thy Son went up the Angels' ways,
His passion ended; but, ah me!
Thou found'st the road of further days
A longer way of Calvary.

On the hard cross of hopes deferred
Thou hung'st in loving agony,
Until the mortal dreaded word,
Which chills our mirth, spake mirth to thee.

The Angel Death from this cold tomb
Of life did roll the stone away;
And He thou barest in thy womb
Caught thee at last into the day -
Before the living throne of Whom
The lights of heaven burning pray.


O thou who dwellest in the day,
Behold, I pace amidst the gloom:
Darkness is ever round my way,
With little space for sunbeam room.

Yet Christian sadness is divine,
Even as thy patient sadness was:
The salt tears in our life's dark wine
Fell in it from the saving Cross.

Bitter the bread of our repast;
Yet doth a sweet the bitter leaven:
Our sorrow is the shadow cast
Around it by the light of Heaven.
O Light in light, shine down from Heaven!

* * * * *



(From the Irish)

O woman, shapely as the swan,
On your account I shall not die.
The men you've slain - a trivial clan -
Were less than I.

I ask me shall I die for these:
For blossom-teeth and scarlet lips?
And shall that delicate swan-shape
Bring me eclipse?

Well shaped the breasts and smooth the skin,
The cheeks are fair, the tresses free;
And yet I shall not suffer death,
God over me.

Those even brows, that hair like gold,
Those languorous tones, that virgin way;
The flowing limbs, the rounded heel
Slight men betray.

Thy spirit keen through radiant mien,
Thy shining throat and smiling eye,
Thy little palm, thy side like foam -
I cannot die.

O woman, shapely as the swan,
In a cunning house hard-reared was I;
O bosom white, O well-shaped palm,
I shall not die.


You stay at last at my bosom, with your beauty
young and rare,
Though your light limbs are as limber as the
foal's that follows the mare,
Brow fair and young and stately where thought
has now begun - Hair
bright as the breast of the eagle when he
strains up to the sun!

In the space of a broken castle I found you on
a day
When the call of the new-come cuckoo went
with me all the way.
You stood by the loosened stones that were
rough and black with age:
The fawn beloved of the hunter in the panther's
broken cage!

And we went down together by paths your
childhood knew -
Remote you went beside me, like the spirit of
the dew;
Hard were the hedge-rows still: sloe-bloom
was their scanty dower -
You slipped it within your bosom, the bloom
that scarce is flower.

And now you stay at my bosom with you
beauty young and rare,
Though your light limbs are as limber as the
foal's that follows the mare;
But always I will see you on paths your childhood
When remote you went beside me like the
spirit of the dew.


Christ, by thine own darkened hour
Live within my heart and brain!
Let my hands not slip the rein.

Ah, how long ago it is
Since a comrade rode with me!
Now a moment let me see

Thyself, lonely in the dark,
Perfect, without wound or mark.


Saadi the Poet stood up and he put forth his
living words.
His songs were the hurtling of spears and
his figures the flashing of swords.
With hearts dilated our tribe saw the creature
of Saadi's mind;
It was like to the horse of a king, a creature
of fire and of wind.

Umimah my loved one was by me: without
love did these eyes see my fawn,
And if fire there were in her being, for me
its splendour had gone;
When the sun storms up on the tent, he makes
waste the fire of the grass -
It was thus with my loved one's beauty: the
splendour of song made it pass.

The desert, the march, and the onset - these
and these only avail,
Hands hard with the handling of spear-shafts,
brows white with the press of the mail!
And as for the kisses of women - these are
honey, the poet sings;
But the honey of kisses, beloved, it is lime
for the spirit's wings.


_The poet reproaches those who have affronted him_.

Ye know not why God hath joined the horse
fly unto the horse
Nor why the generous steed is yoked with
the poisonous fly:
Lest the steed should sink into ease and lose
his fervour of nerve
God hath appointed him this: a lustful and
venomous bride.

Never supine lie they, the steeds of our folk,
to the sting,
Praying for deadness of nerve, their wounds
the shame of the sun;
They strive, but they strive for this: the fullness
of passionate nerve;
They pant, but they pant for this: the speed
that outstrips the pain.

Sons of the dust, ye have stung: there is
darkness upon my soul.
Sons of the dust, ye have stung: yea, stung
to the roots of my heart.
But I have said in my breast: the birth
succeeds to the pang,
And sons of the dust, behold, your malice
becomes my song.

* * * * *


_A DEAD FRIEND_ (_J.S._, 1905)

I drew him then unto my knee, my friend who
was dead,
And I set my live lips over his, and my heart
by his head.

I thought of an unrippled love and a passion
And the years he was living by me, my friend
who was dead;

And the white morning ways that we went,
and how oft we had fed
And drunk with the sunset for lamp - my friend
who was dead;

Now never the draught at my lips would thrill
to my head -
For the last vintage ebbed in my heart; my
friend he was dead.

Then I spake unto God in my grief: My wine
and my bread
And my staff Thou hast taken from me - my
friend who is dead.

Are the heavens yet friendless to Thee, and
lone to Thy head,
That Thy desolate heart must have need of my
friend who is dead?

To God then I spake yet again: not Peter
Would I take, nor Philip nor John, for my
friend who is dead.


All around I heard the whispering larches
Swinging to the low-lipped wind;
God, they piped, is lilting in our arches,
For He loveth leafen kind.

Ferns I heard, unfolding from their slumber,
Say confiding to the reed:
God well knoweth us, Who loves to number
Us and all our fairy seed.

Voices hummed as of a multitude
Crowding from their lowly sod;
'Twas the stricken daisies where I stood,
Crying to the daisies' God.


Away, the old monks said,
Sweet honey-fly,
From lilting overhead
The lullaby
You heard some mother croon
Beneath the harvest moon.
Go, hum it in the hive,
The old monks said,
For we were once alive
Who now are dead.


The death of the grey withered grass
Of man's is a sign,
And his life is as wine
That is spilt from a half-shivered glass.
At a quarter to nine
Went Dives to dine ...
(Man, it is said, is as grass.)

Riches and plunder had met
To furnish his feast -
Both succulent beast
And fish from the fisherman's net;
While he tasteth of dishes
And all his soul wishes -
Nor knoweth his hour hath been set.

The death of the pale-sodden hay
'Neath the feet of the kine
Is to man for a sign;
At the striking of ten he was grey,
And they carried him out
Stiff-strangled with gout.
(Man, it is said, is as hay.)


Father of the thunder,
Flinger of the flame,
Searing stars asunder,
_Hallowed be Thy Name_!

By the sweet-sung quiring
Sister bullets hum,
By our fiercest firing,
_May Thy Kingdom come_!

By Thy strong apostle
Of the Maxim gun,
By his pentecostal
Flame, _Thy Will be done_!

Give us, Lord, good feeding
To Thy battles sped - Flesh,
white grained and bleeding,
_Give for daily bread_!


I never see the newsboys run
Amid the whirling street,
With swift untiring feet,
To cry the latest venture done,
But I expect one day to hear
Them cry the crack of doom
And risings from the tomb,
With great Archangel Michael near;
And see them running from the Fleet
As messengers of God,
With Heaven's tidings shod
About their brave unwearied feet.


I dreamt that the heavens were beggared
And angels went chanting for bread,
And the cherubs were sewed up in sackcloth,
And Satan anointed his head.
I dreamt they had chalked up a price
On the sun and the stars at God's feet,
And the Devil had bought up the Church,
And put out the Pope in the street.


I do remember thee so blest and filled
With all life offered thee,
Yet unsurprised I learn that thou hast willed
To share or lose her fee.

It seems a very great and stalwart thing
To toss defence away,
To tear the golden feathers from thy wing
And lie with shards of clay.

To some far vision's light thine eyes are set
That mock life's treasure trove,
And see the changing woof not woven yet
As God would have it wove.

The red thou flauntest bravely, friend, for me
Hast lost alarming power;
For who but guilty men will quake their knee,
And who but robbers cower?

For many hallowed things are symbolled red,
Live fire and cleansing war,
And the bright sealing Blood that Christ once shed,
And Martyrs yet must pour.

O friend, choose one of these ourselves to link;
For how could friendship be
If from the foaming cup thou hast to drink
The dregs come not to me?

Dividing much, thou makest little thine
Except the gain of loss;
Yet haply Christ's true peer hath better sign
Than coronet - the Cross.


'Mid the quiet splendour of a pennoned crowd,
Gently proud,
Moved in armour, silvered in celestial forge,
Great Saint George,
Stands he in the crimson-woven air of fight
Speared with light -
Hell is harried by the holy anger poured
From his sword.

Where the sweated toilers of the river slum
Shiver dumb,
Passed to-day a poorly clad and poorly shod
Knight of God;
Where the human eddy smears with shame and rags
Paving flags,
Hell shall weakly wail beneath the words he cries

* * * * *



I led thy thoughts, having them for my own,
To where my God His head to thee did bend.
I bore thee in my bosom to His throne.
O, the blest labour, and the treasured end!

Now like a ruined aqueduct I go
Unburdened; thou by more fleet ways hast been
With Him. Since thou thine own swift road dost know,
Thou canst not brook such slow and devious mean.


I slept, and thought a letter came from you -
You did not love me any more, it said.
What breathless grief! - my love not true, not true ...
I was afraid of people, and afraid
Of things inanimate - the wind that blew,
The clock, the wooden chair; and so I strayed
From home, but could not stray from grief, I knew.
And then at dawn I woke, and wept, and prayed,
And knew my blessed love was still the same; -
And yet I sit and moan upon the bed
For that dream-creature's loss. For when I came
(I came, perhaps, to comfort her) she fled.
I would be with her where she wanders now,
Fleeing the earth, with pain upon her brow.


All night my thoughts have rested in God's fold;
They lay beside me here upon the bed.
At dawn I woke: the air beat sad and cold.
I told them o'er - Ah, God, one thought had fled.

Into what dark, deep chasm this wayward one
Has sunk, I scarcely know; I will not chide.
O Shepherd, leave me! Seek this lamb alone.
The ninety-nine are here. They will abide.


O for the time when some impetuous breeze
Will catch Thy garment, and, like autumn trees,
Toss it and rend it till Thou standest free,
And end Thy long secluded reverie!

Still now its beauty folds Thee, and - as she
Who kissed Thy garment and had health from Thee -
I feel the sun, or hear some bird in bliss,
And Thou hast then my sudden, humble kiss.


Since that with lips which moved in one we prayed,
So that God ceased to hear us speak apart,
What law irrevocable have we made?
How shall He hear a solitary heart

When He did need that we, to have His ear,
Should go aside and pray together there
With urgent breath? Ah, now I pause and fear -
How shall uprise my lonely, separate prayer?


Upon one hand your kisses chanced to rest:
I smiled upon the other hand and said
"Poor thing," when you had gone: and then in quest
Of pity rose a clamour from the dead -
Some way of mine, some word, some look, some jest
Complained they too went all uncoveted ...
That night I took these troubles to my breast,
And played that you and I, my own, were wed;
Those troubles were our child, with eyes of fear, -
A wailing babe, whom I, his mother dear,
Must soothe to quiet rest and calm relief,
And urge his eyes to sleeping by and by.
"O hush," I said, and wept to see such grief;
"Hush, hush, your father must not hear you cry."


In sleep my idle thoughts were sadly led
By wild dark ways: it strangely seemed that I
Must join the number of the silent dead,
And with my young and fearful heart must die.

But ah, what drew my bitter moans and sighs,
And pierced my sleeping spirit, was that she
Who with the saddest tears would close these eyes
And with maternal passion mourn for me,

She on some pleasure-errand stayed away.
Ah, bitter, bitter thought! Ah, lonely death
To seek me in the night! And not till day
Had come and soothed my fear, and calmed my breath,

And in the sun my new life I could kiss,
And look with prayer and hope to future years,
Did I discern God's mercy still in this -
That I was spared the anguish of her tears.

* * * * *



Ah, wilt thou turn aside and see
The little Child on Mary's knee?
Enter the stable bleak and cold,
Grope through the straw and myrrh and gold;
Seek in the darkness near and far -
Lift up the lantern and the Star.
Rough shepherds came to love and greet,
There knelt three kings at Mary's feet.
Ah! draw thee nigh the holy place -
He sleepeth well in her embrace,
The little Saviour of thy race -
Then raise thine eyes to Mary's face.

But wilt thou come in years to be?
She held Him dead across her knee.
Stretch Him aloft on planks of wood;
Offer Him gall for tears and blood.
Blazon thy hatred far and near:
Lift up the hammer and the spear.
Red thorns about his head were wound -
There lay three nails upon the ground.
Yea I Heed the Lover of thy race -
He lieth dead in her embrace.
Ah! scourge thy soul with its disgrace:
Then raise thine eyes to Mary's face.


Thou canst choose the eastern Circle for thy part,
And within its sacred precincts thou shalt rest;
Thou shalt fold pale, slender hands upon thy breast,
Thou shalt fasten silent eyes upon thy heart.
If there steal within the languor of thine ark
The thunder of the waters of the earth,
The human, simple cries of pain and mirth,
The wails of little children in the dark,
Thou shalt contemplate thy Circle's radiant gleam,
Thou shalt gather self and God more closely still:
Let the Piteous and the Foolish moan at will,
So thou shelter in the sweetness of thy dream.

Thou canst bear a bloodstained Cross upon thy breast,
Thou shalt stand upon the common, human sod,
Thou shalt lift unswerving eyes unto thy God,
Thou shalt stretch torn, rugged hands to east and west
Thou shalt call to every throne and every cell -
Thou shalt gather all the answers of the Earth,


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