Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HEART, by FRANCIS THOMPSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE HEART, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The heart you hold too small and local thing
Last Line: The grandeurs of his babylonian heart.
Variant Title(s): All's Vast
Subject(s): Criticism & Critics; Hearts; Language; Words; Vocabulary

To my Critic who had objected to the phrase -- 'The heart's burning floors'.


THE heart you hold too small and local thing
Such spacious terms of edifice to bear.
And yet, since Poesy first shook out her wing,
The mighty Love has been impalaced there;
That has she given him as his wide demesne,
And for his sceptre ample empery;
Against its door to knock has Beauty been
Content; it has its purple canopy,
A dais for the sovereign lady spread
Of many a lover, who the heaven would think
Too low an awning for her sacred head.
The world, from star to sea, cast down its brink --
Yet shall that chasm, till He Who these did build
An awful Curtius make Him, yawn unfilled.


ONOTHING, in this corporal earth of man,
That to the imminent heaven of his high soul
Responds with colour and with shadow, can
Lack correlated greatness. If the scroll
Where thoughts lie fast in spell of hieroglyph
Be mighty through its mighty habitants;
If God be in His Name; grave potence if
The sounds unbind of hieratic chants;
All's vast that vastness means. Nay, I affirm
Nature is whole in her least things exprest,
Nor know we with what scope God builds the worm.
Our towns are copied fragments from our breast;
And all man's Babylons strive but to impart
The grandeurs of his Babylonian heart.

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