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Poem by Francis Thompson


My Lady the Tyranness


Me since your fair ambition bows
Feodary to those gracious brows,
Is nothing mine will not confess
Your sovran sweet rapaciousness?
Though use to the white yoke inures,
Half-petulant is
Your loving rebel for somewhat his,
Not yours, my love, not yours!

Behold my skies, which make with me
One passionate tranquillity!
Wrap thyself in them as a robe,
She shares them not; their azures probe,
No countering wings thy flight endures.
Nay, they do stole
Me like an aura of her soul.
I yield them, love, for yours!

But mine these hills and fields, which put
Not on the sanctity of her foot.
Far off, my dear, far off the sweet
Grave pianissimo of your feet!
My earth, perchance, your sway abjures?--
Your absence broods
O'er all, a subtler presence. Woods,
Fields, hills, all yours, all yours!

Nay then, I said, I have my thought,
Which never woman's reaching raught;
Being strong beyond a woman's might,
And high beyond a woman's height,
Shaped to my shape in all contours.--
I looked, and knew
No thought but you were garden to.
All yours, my love, all yours!

Meseemeth still, I have my life;
All-clement Her its resolute strife
Evades; contained, relinquishing
Her mitigating eyes; a thing
Which the whole girth of God secures.
Ah, fool, pause! pause!
I had no life, until it was
All yours, my love, all yours!

Yet, stern possession! I have my death,
Sole yielding up of my sole breath;
Which all within myself I die,
All in myself must cry the cry
Which the deaf body's wall immures.--
Thought fashioneth
My death without her.--Ah, even death
All yours, my love, all yours!

Death, then, he hers. I have my heaven,
For which no arm of hers has striven;
Which solitary I must choose,
And solitary win or lose.--
Ah, but not heaven my own endures!
I must perforce
Taste you, my stream, in God your source,--
So steep my heaven in yours.

At last I said--I have my God,
Who doth desire me, though a clod,
And from His liberal Heaven shall He
Bar in mine arms His privacy.
Himself for mine Himself assures.--
None shall deny
God to be mine, but He and I
All yours, my love, all yours!

I have no fear at all lest I
Without her draw felicity.
God for His Heaven will not forego
Her whom I found such heaven below,
And she will train Him to her lures.
Nought, lady, I love
In you but more is loved above;
What made me, makes Him yours.

'I, thy sought own, am I forgot?'
Ha, thou?--thou liest, I seek thee not.
Why what, thou painted parrot, Fame,
What have I taught thee but her name?
Hear, thou slave Fame, while Time endures,
I give her thee;
Page her triumphal name!--Lady,
Take her, the thrall is yours. 



Francis Thompson


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


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