Poems of Francis Thompson

By Francis Thompson; Terence L. Connolly | Go to book overview

ULTIMA

LOVE'S ALMSMAN PLAINETH HIS FARE

You, Love's mendicancy who never tried,
How little of your almsman me you know!
Your little languid hand in mine you slide,
Like to a child says--'Kiss me and let me go!'
And night for this is fretted with my tears, 5 While I:--How soon this heavenly neck doth tire,
Bending to me from its transtellar spheres!'
Ah, heart all kneaded out of honey and fire!
Who bound thee to a body nothing worth,
And shamed thee much with an unlovely soul, 10 That the most strainedest charity of earth
Distasteth soon to render back the whole
Of thine inflamèd sweets and gentilesse,
Whereat, like an unpastured Titan, thou
Gnaw'st on thyself for famine's bitterness, 15 And leap'st against thy chain. Sweet Lady, how
Little a linking of the hand to you!
Though I should touch yours careless for a year,
Not one blue vein would lie divinelier blue
Upon your fragile temple, to unsphere 20 The seraphim for kisses! Not one curve
Of your sad mouth would droop more sad and sweet.
But little food Love's beggars needs must serve,
That eye your plenteous graces from the street.
A hand-clasp I must feed on for a night, as
A noon, although the untasted feast you lay,
To mock me, of your beauty. That you might
Be lover for one space, and make essay
What 'tis to pass unsuppered to your couch,
Keep fast from love all day; and so be taught 30 The famine which these craving lines avouch!
Ah! miser of good things that cost thee naught,

-209-

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Poems of Francis Thompson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • FRANCIS THOMPSON: SOME BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES xvii
  • CHRONOLOGY OF BIOGRAPHICAL DATA xxiii
  • Dedication of Poems - To Wilfrid and Alice Meynell 3
  • Poems on Children 5
  • Love in Dian's Lap 53
  • The Hound of Heaven 77
  • Ode to the Setting Sun 82
  • To the Dead Cardinal Of Westminster 91
  • A Corymbus for Autumn 97
  • Ecclesiastical Ballads 102
  • Translations 104
  • Miscellaneous Poems 110
  • Dedication of New Poems 149
  • Sight and Insight 151
  • A Narrow Vessel - BEING A LITTLE DRAMATIC SEQUENCE ON THE ASPECT OF PRIMITIVE GIRL-NATURE TOWARDS A LOVE BEYOND ITS CAPACITIES 200
  • Ultima 209
  • An Anthem of Earth 216
  • Miscellaneous Odes 227
  • Sonnets 262
  • Miscellaneous New Poems 270
  • NOTES ON POEMS OF FRANCIS THOMPSON 297
  • BIBLIOGRAPHIES 555
  • INDEXES 569
  • TITLE-INDEX OF POEMS AND NOTES 575
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