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Poem by Francis Thompson


To a Poet Breaking Silence


    Too wearily had we and song
    Been left to look and left to long,
    Yea, song and we to long and look,
    Since thine acquainted feet forsook
    The mountain where the Muses hymn
    For Sinai and the Seraphim.
    Now in both the mountains' shine
    Dress thy countenance, twice divine!
    From Moses and the Muses draw
    The Tables of thy double Law!
    His rod-born fount and Castaly
    Let the one rock bring forth for thee,
    Renewing so from either spring
    The songs which both thy countries sing:
    Or we shall fear lest, heavened thus long,
    Thou should'st forget thy native song,
    And mar thy mortal melodies
    With broken stammer of the skies.

      Ah! let the sweet birds of the Lord
    With earth's waters make accord;
    Teach how the crucifix may be
    Carven from the laurel-tree,
    Fruit of the Hesperides
    Burnish take on Eden-trees,
    The Muses' sacred grove be wet
    With the red dew of Olivet,
    And Sappho lay her burning brows
    In white Cecilia's lap of snows!

       *       *       *       *       *

    I think thy girlhood's watchers must
    Have took thy folded songs on trust,
    And felt them, as one feels the stir
    Of still lightnings in the hair,
    When conscious hush expects the cloud
    To speak the golden secret loud
    Which tacit air is privy to;
    Flasked in the grape the wine they knew,
    Ere thy poet-mouth was able
    For its first young starry babble.
    Keep'st thou not yet that subtle grace?
    Yea, in this silent interspace,
    God sets His poems in thy face!

      The loom which mortal verse affords,
    Out of weak and mortal words,
    Wovest thou thy singing-weed in,
    To a rune of thy far Eden.
    Vain are all disguises! Ah,
    Heavenly _incognita_!
    Thy mien bewrayeth through that wrong
    The great Uranian House of Song!
    As the vintages of earth
    Taste of the sun that riped their birth,
    We know what never-cadent Sun
    Thy lampèd clusters throbbed upon,
    What plumèd feet the winepress trod;
    Thy wine is flavorous of God.
    Whatever singing-robe thou wear
    Has the paradisal air;
    And some gold feather it has kept
    Shows what Floor it lately swept.



Francis Thompson


Francis Thompson's other poems:
  1. Epilogue to the Poet's Sitter
  2. A Fallen Yew
  3. A Judgment in Heaven
  4. Any Saint
  5. Scala Jacobi Portaque Eburnea


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