by Francis Thompson
on Jul 29, 2012 in Poetry
A Dead Astronomer
(Father Perry, S.J.)
Starry amorist, starward gone,
Thou art–what thou didst gaze upon!
Passed through thy golden garden’s bars,
Thou seest the Gardener of the Stars.
She, about whose moon-ed brows
Seven stars make seven glows,
Seven lights for seven woes;
She, like thine own Galaxy,
All lustres in one purity:-
What said’st thou, Astronomer,
When thou did’st discover HER?
When thy hand its tube let fall,
Thou found’st the fairest Star of all!
Francis Thompson was born in England to a respectable Catholic family in 1859. He studied to become a priest, but was sent home by the headmaster who declared that Francis was not cut out for the priesthood. Francis then tried to become a doctor. Instead he became an opium addict, destitute, and lived on the streets. Though homeless, he wrote poetry and sent it to a publisher. This was the turning point in his life. The publisher sent Francis to a clinic to sober up, and then to a monastery to convalesce where he wrote most of his poetry. Francis died in 1907.