In 1892 F. T. had gone to Pantasaph. He was quartered, at first, in Bishop's House, at the monastery gates,1 and the sandalled friars looked after all his wants-from boots to dogma.

"Thompson is ever so much better," writes Fr. Marianus soon after the poet's arrival. " He looks it too. He is less melancholy, in fact at times quite lively." And they cared for him delicately :-

" There is only one little thing about which I have some difficulty. I know Thompson must need now and again some little things, but I don't like to ask him does he need anything (though I have supplied him with paper, ink, &c), and I should feel grateful if you would kindly write to Thompson and tell him to ask me for anything he may want-that I am his procurator."

His own first letter from Wales :-

" C'en est fait, as regards the opium. ... I am very comfortable, thanks to your kindness and forethought. Father Anselm seems to have taken a fancy to me-also he is afraid of my being lonely-and comes to see me every other day. He took me all over the Monastery on Monday, and has just left me after a prolonged discussion of the things which ' none of us know anything about,' as Marianus says when he is getting the worst of an argument."

Father Anselm, now Archbishop of Simla, was the one of the friars of whom the poet spoke as his philosophical schoolmaster, and to whom he was indebted for the awakening of new intellectual interests. Coventry Patmore, too, as his correspondence testifies, knew how to appreciate the hospitality and good talk of the friars. Both the poets contributed to the Annals of Father Anselm's editorship. Between the younger poet and Father Anselm there sprang up a close friendship, which was not without its influence upon Thompson's later work. During his Guardianship at Crawley Father Anselm was responsible for the inception of the Roger Bacon Society, whose meetings F. T. sometimes attended.

1 Afterwards he lodged at the post-office, and finally in a cottage on the hill behind the monastery.

Father Alphonsus, whose death in 1911 deprived English Franciscans of their Provincial, also had much intercourse with Francis Thompson. For this priest, as he himself alleged, the odes of Coventry Patmore made a new earth and a new Heaven.

It is not, perhaps, impertinent here and now to attribute to the younger poet's association with the friars an allusion in one of the most famous of his lines. " The bearded counsellors of God " has the local colour if not of Paradise, at least of Pantasaph.1

" Poetry clung about the cowls of his Order," wrote Francis, in dealing with the works of St. Francis and of Thomas of Celano. He had the right companions, as far as any were admitted, for the new periods of composition.

They, as he, had sacred commerce cum Domina Pau-pertate. These, his companions, were once named by her " my Brothers and most dear Friends"; they, entertaining her on bread and water, had given her a couch upon earth and the grass.

" When she asked for a pillow, they straightway brought her a stone, and laid it under her Head. So, after she had slept for a brief space in peace, she arose and asked the Brothers to show her their Cloister. And they, leading her to the Summit of a Hill, showed her the wide World, saying: This is our Cloister, 0 Lady Poverty. Thereupon she bade them all sit down together, and opening her mouth she began to speak unto them Words of Life."

1 The Capuchins (Franciscans), are peculiar in aspect among Religious Orders as bearded friars.

1 This was written long before Mr. Montgomery Carmichael's translation of The Lady Poverty brought the thirteenth-century writer's claim to the world as the Franciscan cloister to Thompson's notice.

Francis her poet heard, though at that time he was not come to the hills about Pantasaph. He had himself found stones for pillows in the market-place, and had written of one to whom he had half-likened himself-

Anchorite, who didst dwell With all the world for cell!1

St. Francis himself had other words for the same thought:-" Meditate as much while on this journey as if you were shut up in a hermitage or in your cell, for wherever we are, wherever we go, we carry our cell with us ; Brother Body is our cell."

Of the grounds for a good understanding between the priests and the poet there are hints in Richard de Bary's Franciscan Days of Vigil:-

" Francis Thompson was just then [1894] a favourite with the Order, and there were keen discussions about his mystical intuitions. In the spirit of the Franciscan Domini, the Breviary Offices of the Seasons, Thompson recalled them, and expounded the phases of asceticism that ran with them in his poem, ' From the Night of Forebeing.'


" The centre of interest in the household was the poet, Francis Thompson, who spent the summer of that year in a neighbouring cottage. Walks in the late evening did not result in much conversation; but at evening gatherings in my room the poet used often to join the party, and argued with vigour and persuasiveness on favourite topics. The Franciscans had learnt a kind of art of drawing their mystical guest into conversation. The way was to introduce a subtle contradiction to his pet theories, which would in a moment produce a storm of protesting eloquence."

They drew him also on one only occasion into more formal speech. Fr. Anselm prevailed upon him to enter into the discussion that followed a paper read by the Hon. W. Gibson, now Lord Ashbourne, at a meeting of the Roger Bacon Society, held at the Monastery, Crawley, in January 1898.

In April, 1894, an observer writes to W. M. :-

" You will be glad to hear that Francis has written an Ode which I hear is longer than anything he has done yet. Also that the ' frenzy' being on him he has begun another poem yesterday. No one sees him but Fr. Anselm, to whom he comes every evening and whom he tells of his work. He told him last night that since you had left he seemed to have a return of all the old poetic power. Of course he is flying over hill and dale and never to be seen, but I am sure you will be as glad as I am at this fresh development-especially as your and Alice's visit has evidently called it forth."1