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Poem by Francis Thompson


The Making of Viola


I.

The Father of Heaven.

Spin, daughter Mary, spin,
Twirl your wheel with silver din;
Spin, daughter Mary, spin,
      Spin a tress for Viola.

Angels.

Spin, Queen Mary, a
Brown tress for Viola!

II.

The Father of Heaven.

Weave, hands angelical,
Weave a woof of flesh to pall
Weave, hands angelical
      Flesh to pall our Viola.

Angels.

Weave, singing brothers, a
Velvet flesh for Viola!

III.

The Father of Heaven.

Scoop, young Jesus, for her eyes,
Wood-browned pools of Paradise
Young Jesus, for the eyes,
      For the eyes of Viola.

Angels.

Tint, Prince Jesus, a
Duskèd eye for Viola!

IV.

The Father of Heaven.

Cast a star therein to drown,
Like a torch in cavern brown,
Sink a burning star to drown
      Whelmed in eyes of Viola.

Angels.

Lave, Prince Jesus, a
Star in eyes of Viola!

V.

The Father of Heaven.

Breathe, Lord Paraclete,
To a bubbled crystal meet
Breathe, Lord Paraclete
      Crystal soul for Viola.

Angels.

Breathe, Regal Spirit, a
Flashing soul for Viola!

VI.

The Father of Heaven.

Child-angels, from your wings
Fall the roseal hoverings,
Child-angels, from your wings,
      On the cheeks of Viola.

Angels.

Linger, rosy reflex, a
Quenchless stain, on Viola!

All things being accomplished, saith the Father of Heaven.

Bear her down, and bearing, sing,
Bear her down on spyless wing,
Bear her down, and bearing, sing,
      With a sound of viola.

Angels.

Music as her name is, a
Sweet sound of Viola!

VIII.

Wheeling angels, past espial,
Danced her down with sound of viol;
Wheeling angels, past espial,
      Descanting on Viola.

Angels.

Sing, in our footing, a
Lovely lilt of Viola!

IX.

Baby smiled, mother wailed,
Earthward while the sweetling sailed;
Mother smiled, baby wailed,
      When to earth came Viola.

And her elders shall say:

So soon have we taught you a
Way to weep, poor Viola!

X.

Smile, sweet baby, smile,
For you will have weeping-while;
Native in your Heaven is smile,
      But your weeping, Viola?

Whence your smiles we know, but ah?
Whence your weeping, Viola?
Our first gift to you is a
Gift of tears, my Viola!



Francis Thompson


Francis Thompson's other poems:
  1. Epilogue to the Poet's Sitter
  2. A Fallen Yew
  3. A Judgment in Heaven
  4. To My Godchild, Francis M.W.M.
  5. Any Saint


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