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Poem by Francis Thompson
Unto This Last
A boy's young fancy taketh love Most simply, with the rind thereof; A boy's young fancy tasteth more The rind, than the deific core. Ah, Sweet! to cast away the slips Of unessential rind, and lips Fix on the immortal core, is well; But heard'st thou ever any tell Of such a fool would take for food Aspect and scent, however good, Of sweetest core Love's orchards grow? Should such a phantast please him so, Love where Love's reverent self denies Love to feed, but with his eyes, All the savour, all the touch, Another's--was there ever such? Such were fool, if fool there be; Such fool was I, and was for thee! But if the touch and savour too Of this fruit--say, Sweet, of you-- You unto another give For sacrosanct prerogative, Yet even scent and aspect were Some elected Second's share; And one, gone mad, should rest content With memory of show and scent; Would not thyself vow, if there sigh Such a fool--say, Sweet, as I-- Treble frenzy it must be Still to love, and to love thee? Yet had I torn (man knoweth not, Nor scarce the unweeping angels wot Of such dread task the lightest part) Her fingers from about my heart. Heart, did we not think that she Had surceased her tyranny? Heart, we bounded, and were free! O sacrilegious freedom!--Till She came, and taught my apostate will The winnowed sweet mirth cannot guess And tear-fined peace of hopefulness; Looked, spake, simply touched, and went. Now old pain is fresh content, Proved content is unproved pain. Pangs fore-tempted, which in vain I, faithless, have denied, now bud To untempted fragrance and the mood Of contrite heavenliness; all days Joy affrights me in my ways; Extremities of old delight Afflict me with new exquisite Virgin piercings of surprise,-- Stung by those wild brown bees, her eyes!
Francis Thompson's other poems:
English Poetry. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org