After attending college, he moved to London to become a writer, but in menial work, became addicted to opium, and was a street vagrant for years.
Andrew Higgins [Expanded version of paper delivered at The Enchanted Edwardians Conference on 30 March in Bristol, UK] If you happened to be walking late at night through the streets of West London in the late 's and passed by Charing Cross Train Station, you might have noticed an intense dark eyed gentleman staring out of the mass of homeless people sleeping rough for the night.
This particular man was not just sleeping rough, he was also observing the experience of being destitute as one of the denizens of this 'gutter of humanity' Boardmanp.
If you had seen him, you might have noticed him scribbling some notes on the back of a stray piece of paper, which others may have used as protection against the bitter cold of the London winter. However, in this case these scribblings were actually poems and ideas for prose essays based on thoughts this homeless man had formulated during his days spent studying at The Guildhall Library, and nights turning his destitute situation into poetic images of fantasy through the invention of both a personal and universal mythology.
That man may have remained unknown to us had it not been for the 'joyous turn' or 'eucatastrophe' as a later writer would term it of some of those poems coming into the hands of the editor of a periodical of the time and being published; all Francis thompsons poetry essay to the writer who blindly sent his poetry to potential readers only giving as his return address - Charing Cross Station see Boardman: His prose and poetry would not only result in a body of interesting work reflecting his own personal experience juxtaposed with the mythic and religious cultural contexts of the time, but would also go on to be an early inspiration for another young writer of poetry and prose who would emerge from the subsequent Edwardian period to become one of the greatest authors and myth-makers of the 20 th century — J.
Francis Thompson was Francis thompsons poetry essay in in Preston, England. Before his birth Thompson's parents had converted to Roman Catholicism in a period of strong Anti-Catholicism. In his early life Thompson studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood at St.
Cuthbert's College, Ushaw in Durham, but failed to complete the training. Inhe decided to follow his father and become a medical doctor studying at Owens College in Manchester. Again he failed, and decided to pursue the life of a writer and poet. It was during this time that Thompson first encountered and, subsequently, possibly due to continued illness, tried and became addicted to opium.
After unsuccessfully enlisting in the army, Thompson went to London and took to sleeping rough on the streets by Charing Cross station, with occasional respites by early readers of Thompson's poetry who saw promise in his work.
ByThompson broke off all ties with his family and friends and his opium addiction deepened. In autumnThompson, at one of his greatest lows, attempted to commit suicide and later told his biographer, Everard Meynell, that he was prevented by a vision of the writer Thomas Chatterton Boardmanp.
During his time on the London streets, Thompson composed poetry some of which he sent into magazines with the pessimistic message to each of the intended readers 'Apologizing very sincerely for any intrusion on your valuable time, I remain yours with little hope, Francis Thompson, kindly address your rejection to the Charing Cross Post Office'' ibid.
When Meynell received these poems and read them, he tried to find the composer. When he could not identify the author, he took 2 a chance and published some of them hoping the composer would turn up. Thompson saw his poems printed in Merry England and finally came into their offices and met Meynell.
Meynell and his wife Alice took Thompson in. Throughout the remainder of his tragically short life he died at 47 Thompson would vacillate between staying with the Meynell's in London and at several religious communities at Storrington in Sussex and Pantasaph in North Wales; while experiencing interim bouts of relapse into taking opium.
Thompson Francis Francis Thompson (16 December – 13 November ) was an English poet and ascetic. After attending college, he moved to London to become a writer, but in menial work, became addicted to opium, and was a street vagrant for years. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. He was born in , in Louisville, Kentucky, where his fiction and poetry earned him induction into the local Athenaeum Literary Association while he was still in high school. Thompson continued his literary pursuits in the United States Air Force, writing a weekly sports column for the base newspaper.
In this paper I will explore one key underlying element that much of Francis Thompson's work attempts to do, and which, as I will show, also inspired Tolkien.
That is Thompson's poetic expression of his devout Roman Catholic beliefs combined with elements of Classical and pagan mythology and Victorian Spiritualism.
In this paper I will focus on three of Thompson's poems - The Hound of HeavenSister Songsand The Mistress of Vision to explore how Thompson achieved this blending in his poetic diction, which drew from a 'soup' of phrases and symbols drawn from Catholic liturgy, the Latin Vulgate Bible, astronomy, pagan symbolism and even, in one compelling case, the poetic expression of two invented place names, 'Luthany' and 'Elenore'.
The foundational work for understanding Thompson's thoughts on this blending of different symbols and ideas of belief is his prose essay 'Paganism Old and New' written by Thompson when he was homeless, and later published in Merry England in the 's.
This essay emerged from Thompson's activity of spending his days at London's Guildhall Library reading and studying the classics and poetry — especially the works of Aeschylus and Shelley. In this essay, Thompson articulated his thoughts on the role of the Pagan and Catholicism in artistic expression.
At the crux of this work Thompson makes a distinction between the paganism of the ancients as in Homer and Virgil and the paganism of contemporary poetry such as in the poetry of Shelly and Keats. Thompson suggested that the paganism of the modern period had been perfected and 3 ennobled through the influence of Christianity, where beauty becomes the expression of love.
The gods of Homer are braggarts and gluttons; and the gods of Virgil are cold and unreal. The kiss of Dian was a frigid kiss till it glowed in the fancy of the barbarian Fletcher: No pagan eye ever visioned the nymphs of Shelley. But could Paganism indeed grow supple in here cere-cloths, and open her tarnished eyes to the light of our modern sun — in that same hour the poetry of Paganism would sicken and fall to decay.
For Pagan Paganism was not poetical' ibid, p. This blending is apparent in the first poem to be analysed, Thompson's ode, The Hound of Heaven. Thompson would later say that the idea for this poem came to him during his homeless years on the London streets; although it would only be while he was with the Meynell's that Thompson would expand the poem's narrative scope.
The very title of the poem is itself an example of the blending of this idea drawn from both Catholic symbolism and Thompson's idea of the pagan. Indeed, one source for the title is said to have come from a line in Shelley's lyrical drama Prometheus Unbound 'Once the hungry hours were hounds' IV In his essay 'On Shelley' not published until after his death Thompson characterized 4 Prometheus Unbound as 'unquestionably the greatest and most prodigal exhibition of Shelley's powers, the amazing lyric world, where immortal clarities sigh past in the perfumes of the blossoms, populate the breathings of the breeze; throng and twinkle in the leaves that twirl upon the bough' Thompsonpp.
Thompson's interest in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, based on the tragedy of Aesychlus, clearly illustrates the idea explored in 'Paganism Old and New' of pagan ideas and symbols being ennobled by Christian ones.
Shelly's 'hounds' represent both the ravages of time and the hawks of the 'pagan' Jupiter sent to torture Prometheus. While lions and lambs are more often associated in Medieval iconography with Christ, Buchen makes a convincing case for the association of Christ as a pursuing hound 'the hunter of man's soul'.Francis Thompson was an English poet and ascetic.
After attending college, he moved to London to become a writer, but in menial work, became addicted to opium, and was a street vagrant for years. A married couple read his poetry and rescued him, publishing his first book, Poems in Thompson, FRANCIS, poet b.
at Preston, Lancashire, December 18, ; d. in London, November 13, He came from the middle classes, the classes great in imaginative poetry. He came from the middle classes, the classes great in imaginative poetry. Again she writes: "Like the legend of Francis Thompsons sins is that of his un- happiness no truer.
I affirm of Francis Thompson that he had natural good spirits, and was more mirthful than many a man of cheerful, social, or even of humorous reputation*. "Francis Thompson (–) was an English poet After attending college, he moved to London to become a writer, but could only find menial work and became addicted to opium, and was a street vagrant for years.
This essay emerged from Thompson's activity of spending his days at London's Guildhall Library reading and studying the classics and poetry – especially the works of Aeschylus and Shelley. In this essay, Thompson articulated his thoughts on the role of the Pagan and Catholicism in artistic expression.
Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.