Thursday, August 22, 2019

A Forgotten Poet

From Joseph Pearce at Faith and Culture:
There was a time when the opening lines of Francis Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven”, would have been widely known. Today, as I discovered on a recent trip to England to film a documentary on Thompson, the poem and the poet are almost entirely forgotten. Nowhere was this crass disregard for one of England’s finest poets more evident than in the disgraceful neglect of the poet’s grave. The inscription on the tomb in the sprawling Catholic cemetery in Kensal Green had eroded to the point of illegibility. Ivy crawled creepily over the sarcophagus, covering the tomb in a blanket of oblivion, and, as if to add insult to the injury of neglect, another headstone had been placed so close to Thompson’s that it had eclipsed the poet’s epitaph. Having paid my respects at Thompson’s grave, I tried in vain to find the grave of another great Victorian poet, Lionel Johnson, whose resting place I knew to be only a matter of yards from Thompson’s. Such ignorance of fine art and such forgetfulness of a priceless heritage say more about the demise of England than they say about the neglected legacy that Thompson has bequeathed to a heedless nation. (Read more.)

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