To The Dead Cardinal Of Westminster

Francis Thompson 1859 (City of Preston, Lancashire) – 1907 (London)

I will not perturbate
Thy Paradisal state
With praise
Of thy dead days;

To the new-heavened say, -
'Spirit, thou wert fine clay:'
This do,
Thy praise who knew.

Therefore my spirit clings
Heaven's porter by the wings,
And holds
Its gated golds

Apart, with thee to press
A private business; -
Deign me audience.

Anchorite, who didst dwell
With all the world for cell
My soul
Round me doth roll

A sequestration bare.
Too far alike we were,
Too far

For its burning fruitage I
Do climb the tree o' the sky;
Do prize
Some human eyes.

YOU smelt the Heaven-blossoms,
And all the sweet embosoms
The dear
Uranian year.

Those Eyes my weak gaze shuns,
Which to the suns are Suns.
Not affray your lid.

The carpet was let down
(With golden mouldings strown)
For you
Of the angels' blue.

But I, ex-Paradised,
The shoulder of your Christ
Find high
To lean thereby.

So flaps my helpless sail,
Bellying with neither gale,
Of Heaven
Nor Orcus even.

Life is a coquetry
Of Death, which wearies me,
Too sure
Of the amour;

A tiring-room where I
Death's divers garments try,
Till fit
Some fashion sit.

It seemeth me too much
I do rehearse for such
A mean
And single scene.

The sandy glass hence bear -
Antique remembrancer;
My veins
Do spare its pains.

With secret sympathy
My thoughts repeat in me
The turn o' the worm

Beneath my appointed sod:
The grave is in my blood;
I shake
To winds that take

Its grasses by the top;
The rains thereon that drop
With drip acerb

My subtly answering soul;
The feet across its knoll
Do jar
Me from afar.

As sap foretastes the spring;
As Earth ere blossoming
With far daffodils,

And feels her breast turn sweet
With the unconceived wheat;
So doth
My flesh foreloathe

The abhorred spring of Dis,
With seething presciences
The preparate worm.

I have no thought that I,
When at the last I die,
Shall reach
To gain your speech.

But you, should that be so,
May very well, I know,
May well
To me in hell

With recognising eyes
Look from your Paradise -
'God bless
Thy hopelessness!'

Call, holy soul, O call
The hosts angelical,
And say, -
'See, far away

'Lies one I saw on earth;
One stricken from his birth
With curse
Of destinate verse.

'What place doth He ye serve
For such sad spirit reserve, -
In dark lieu of Heaven,

'The impitiable Daemon,
Beauty, to adore and dream on,
To be

'Hers, but she never his?
He reapeth miseries,
His wages woes;

'He lives detached days;
He serveth not for praise;
For gold
He is not sold;

'Deaf is he to world's tongue;
He scorneth for his song
The loud
Shouts of the crowd;

'He asketh not world's eyes;
Not to world's ears he cries;
Shut, if ye please;'

'He measureth world's pleasure,
World's ease as Saints might measure;
For hire
Just love entire

'He asks, not grudging pain;
And knows his asking vain,
And cries -
'Love! Love!' and dies;

'In guerdon of long duty,
Unowned by Love or Beauty;
And goes -
Tell, tell, who knows!

'Aliens from Heaven's worth,
Fine beasts who nose i' the earth,
Do there
Reward prepare.

'But are HIS great desires
Food but for nether fires?
Ah me,
A mystery!

'Can it be his alone,
To find when all is known,
That what
He solely sought

'Is lost, and thereto lost
All that its seeking cost?
That he
Must finally,

'Through sacrificial tears,
And anchoretic years,
With the sensualist?'

So ask; and if they tell
The secret terrible,
Good friend,
I pray thee send

Some high gold embassage
To teach my unripe age.
Lest my feet walk hell.

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:16 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme Text too long
Closest metre Iambic dimeter
Characters 3,345
Words 649
Stanzas 44
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Francis Thompson

The Rt Rev Francis William Banahene Thompson was Bishop of Accra from 1983 to 1996. more…

All Francis Thompson poems | Francis Thompson Books

1 fan

Discuss the poem To The Dead Cardinal Of Westminster with the community...



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "To The Dead Cardinal Of Westminster" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 12 Apr. 2024. <>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    April 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!



    Are you a poetry master?

    An esteemed poet appointed by a government or conferring institution such as the Royal Household is called?
    A Official
    B British Writer
    C Poet Laureate
    D Pulitzer