Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A CAPTAIN OF SONG (ON A PORTRAIT OF COVENTRY PATMORE BY J.S. SARGENT), by FRANCIS THOMPSON



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A CAPTAIN OF SONG (ON A PORTRAIT OF COVENTRY PATMORE BY J.S. SARGENT), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Look on him. This is he whose works ye know
Last Line: Ah, even as he!
Subject(s): Patmore, Coventry (1823-1896); Portraits; Sargent, John Singer (1856-1925)


LOOK on him. This is he whose works ye know;
Ye have adored, thanked, loved him, -- no, not him!
But that of him which proud portentous woe
To its own grim
Presentment was not potent to subdue,
Nor all the reek of Erebus to dim.
This, and not him, ye knew.
Look on him now. Love, worship if ye can,
The very man.
Ye may not. He has trod the ways afar,
The fatal ways of parting and farewell,
Where all the paths of pained greatness are;
Where round and always round
The abhorred words resound,
The words accursed of comfortable men, --
'For ever'; and infinite glooms intolerable
With spacious replication give again,
And hollow jar,
The words abhorred of comfortable men.
You the stern pities of the gods debar
To drink where he has drunk --
The moonless mere of sighs,
And pace the places infamous to tell,
Where God wipes not the tears from any eyes,
Where-through the ways of dreadful greatness are.
He knows the perilous rout
That all those ways about
Sink into doom, and sinking, still are sunk.
And if his sole and solemn term thereout
He has attained, to love ye shall not dare
One who has journeyed there;
Ye shall mark well
The mighty cruelties which arm and mar
That countenance of control,
With minatory warnings of a soul
That hath to its own selfhood been most fell,
And is not weak to spare:
And lo, that hair
Is blanched with the travel-heats of hell.

If any be
That shall with rites of reverent piety
Approach this strong
Sad soul of sovereign Song,
Nor fail and falter with the intimidate throng;
If such there be,
These, these are only they
Have trod the self-same way;
The never-twice revolving portals heard
Behind them clang infernal, and that word
Abhorred sighed of kind mortality,
As he --
Ah, even as he!





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