” – Francis Thompson
Saturday’s Poem is by British poet Francis Thompson (1859-1907), who wrote three books of poetry, a number of short stories, and several essays, including one of the best ever done on the poet Percy Bysche Shelley. He battled both debilitating illness and depression for most of his short life and died of tuberculoisis.
He is perhaps best known for writing key phrases that became the focus or central theme for other writings or actions. His term “With all deliberate speed,” was used in the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Brown vs. Board of Education. And his phrase “Love is a many-splendored thing” became the title of a novel by Han Suyin, and of a popular 1955 movie and hit song by The Four Aces. Authors J.R.R. Tolkien and Madeline L’Engle both cited him as a key influence on their writing.
Here is his short poem
Go, songs, for ended is our brief, sweet play;
Go, children of swift joy and tardy sorrow:
And some are sung, and that was yesterday,
And some are unsung, and that may be tomorrow.
Go forth; and if it be o'er stony way,
Old joy can lend what newer grief must borrow:
And it was sweet, and that was yesterday,
And sweet is sweet, though purchased with sorrow.
Go, songs, and come not back from your far way:
And if men ask you why ye smile and sorrow,
Tell them ye grieve, for your hearts know Today,
Tell them ye smile, for your eyes know Tomorrow.
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