1 Compare Donne's " No cross is so extreme, as to have none "-a thought upon which many paradoxical couplets were turned in the seventeenth century. But Donne goes a little further than his fellows. He seems to have known that an image, bound up with its original, is mure than a likeness:- Let crosses so take what hid Christ in thee; And be His image, or not His, but He.

The earth with due illustrious rite

Blessed,-ere the frail fingers featly

Of twilight, violet-cassocked acolyte

His sacerdotal stoles unvest-

Sets, for high close of the mysterious feast,

The sun in august exposition meetly

Within the flaming monstrance of the West.

0 salutaris hostia,

Qua coeli pandis ostium !

The Cross spread its arms across his world. It was never heavier on his shoulder than when he copied out Donne's lines :-

Who can deny me power and liberty To stretch mine arms and mine own cross to be ? Swim, and at every stroke thou art thy cross : The mast and yard make one where seas do toss. Look down, thou spiest our crosses in small things, Look up, thou seest birds raised on crossed wings.

Donne had encouraged him in his own early search for its symbols. In a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Thompson speaks of the general crucifixion of man :-

O thou, who standest as thou hast ever stood Beside the Cross, whenas it shall be said-

" It is consummated," Receive us, taken from the World's rough wood !

But Donne's image is the more immediate; and the " Veneration of Images," of a living poet, in which man is addressed as-

Thou Rood of every day- confirms both their guesses.

In his sunset Thompson found a symbol of the Crucifixion ; in Paganism his Calvary, and in Christianity an endless elaboration of Christ, so that he turns and wonders at himself for standing at all in the mirk of ordinary daylight:-

And though the cry of stars Give tongue before His way Goldenly, as I say,

And each, from wide Saturnus to hot Mars,

He calleth by its name,

Lest that its bright feet stray;

And thou have lore of all,-

But to thine own Sun's call

Thy path disorbed hath never wit to tame:

It profits not withal,

And my rede is but lame.

He regards his poetry, the poetry of unrevealed religion, of inquiry, and of hasty worship, even as he writes it, with some disfavour. But the prophetical portion of New Poems shows a new assurance-

I have my music bent

To waste on bootless things its skiey-gendered rain :

Yet shall a wiser day

Fulfil more heavenly way,

And with approved music clear this slip,

I trust in God most sweet.

Meantime the silent lip,

Meantime the climbing feet.

He saw only one possible ending to all modes of poetry, that " multitudinous-single thing " :-

Loud the descant, and low the theme,

(A million songs are as song of one) And the dream of the world is dream in dream, But the one Is is, or nought could seem;

And the song runs round to the song begun.

This is the song the stars sing,

{Toned all in time) Tintinnabulous, tuned to ring A multitudinous-single thing

(Rung all in rhyme).

In " Form and Formalism" Thompson says :-

" No common aim can triumph, till it is crystallized in an individual. Man himself must become incarnate in a man before his cause can triumph. Thus the universal Word became the individual Christ; that total God and total man being particularised in a single symbol, the cause of God and man might triumph. In Christ, therefore, centres and is solved that supreme problem of life-the marriage of the Unit with the Sum. In Him is perfectly shown forth the All for one, and One for all, which is the justificatory essence of that substance we call Kingship. . . . When the new heavens and the new earth, which multitudinous Titans are so restlessly forging, at length stand visible to resting man, it needs no prophecy to foretell that they will be like the old, with head, and form, and hierarchic memberment, as the six-foot bracken is like the bracken at your knee. For out of all its disintegrations and confusion earth emerges, like a strong though buffeted swimmer, nearer to the unseen model and term of all social growth; which is the civil constitution of angeldom, and the Uranian statecraft of imperatorial God."


"Ritual is poetry addressed to the eye," he notes. The corollary of which supports his belief that poetry was an affair of ritual-or images.

Imagination is the sense or science that discovers identities and correspondences, while fancy takes a lower place because, said Thompson, it discovers only likenesses. Imagination discerns similarity rooted or enskied; it is the origin of the symbolism that may be traced back to the heart of the truths and mysteries to which it supplies the outward shows. Imagination is the spring ; Symbolism is here the manifestation of Imagination, is the identity-bearer, partaking of the very essence of the Divinity. The Symbols of Divinity are Divine ; flesh is the Word made flesh ; the Eucharist is the true Presence; and Christ is Himself the Way to Christ. Thompson's poetry and theology abode by the Image; it was no necessity of their nature to penetrate beyond the barriers of expression and revelation. The go-betweens of others were his essentials. Holding so grave an estimate of the functions of the imagination, he found in poetry the highest human scope and motive.

Another writer has said-

" Imagination is as the water that reflects clouds out of sight, or so near the sun that they may not be viewed save in the darkening mirror."

And images enlarge and qualify; they create, too, in so far as they bear and nourish thoughts that can only be expressed through them. They belong, F. T. maintained, to the highest poetry, the poetry of revelation and the intellect. In this idea he was confirmed; for its sake he surmounted the opposition of the thinker in poetry to whom he was most dutiful in admiration. "It is false," he declared with his whole heart, "that highest or supremest poetry is stripped of figure. Purely emotional poetry at its height is bare of imagery, not poetry of supremest flight. . . . Supreme emotion is not supreme poetry." And yet just in its own measure is the estimate he contested. It is set forth by A. M. in the Nation, 23 Nov., 1907 :-