Francis Thompson: Dream-Tryst

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - Jeunes Mendiants

Léon Bazile Perrault – Jeunes Mendiants

This is one of the first two published poems of Thompson; it first appeared in 1888 in Merry England, the journal edited by Wilfrid Meynell. While he was a vagrant and beggar in London, Thompson had sent to Meynell a dirty envelope containing two poems, one of which was ‘Dream-Tryst,’ and a prose essay; Meynell put them aside for a few weeks, then published the three texts in the issues of April, May and June 1888.

The poet recalls the love he shared with a girl or woman who had “sweet eyes” and a “deep heart,” whom he kissed.


The breaths of kissing night and day
++Were mingled in the eastern Heaven:
Throbbing with unheard melody
++Shook Lyra all its star-chord seven:
++++When dusk shrunk cold, and light trod shy,
++++++And dawn’s grey eyes were troubled grey;
++++And souls went palely up the sky,
++++++And mine to Lucidé.

There was no change in her sweet eyes
++Since last I saw those sweet eyes shine;
There was no change in her deep heart
++Since last that deep heart knocked at mine.
++++Her eyes were clear, her eyes were Hope’s,
++++++Wherein did ever come and go
++++The sparkle of the fountain drops
++++++From her sweet soul below.

The chambers in the house of dreams
++Are fed with so divine an air,
That Time’s hoar wings grow young therein,
++And they who walk there are most fair.
++++I joyed for me, I joyed for her,
++++++Who with the Past meet girt about:
++++Where our last kiss still warms the air,
++++++Nor can her eyes go out.

Source of the poem: Selected Poems of Francis Thompson, Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd, 1908 (Project Gutenberg ebook).


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