Dream-Tryst, by Francis Thompson

Léon Bazille Perrault - Out in the Cold
Léon Bazille Perrault – Out in the Cold (1890) – from Wikimedia Commons

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), digitised on Internet Archive and transcribed as Project Gutenberg ebook.

Previously published on Agapeta, 2016/08/31.

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