THOMPSON, Francis. Poems by Francis Thompson [IN FINE HATCHARDS BINDING]
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London: Mathews & Lane. Boston: Copeland & Day, 1894. Crown octavo. Second edition. pp. viii, , 81. Titlepage printed in brown. Bound by Hatchards of Piccadilly in full navy morocco, covers ruled in gilt with gilt title. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title in gilt direct in the second; board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt; blue endpapers; blue and gold endbands; top edge gilt. Spine evenly faded, minor fault to leather of lower cover. Fine copy in a fine Hatchards binding.
Francis Thompson (1859-1907) was an English poet and Catholic mystic. At the behest of his father, a doctor, he entered medical school at the age of 18, but at 26 left home to pursue his talent as a writer and poet. He spent three years on the streets of London, supporting himself with menial labour, becoming addicted to opium which he took to relieve a nervous problem.
In 1888 Wilfrid and Alice Meynell read his poetry and took the opium-addicted and homeless writer into their home for a time, later publishing his first volume, Poems, in 1893. In 1897, he began writing prose, drawing inspiration from life in the countryside, Wales and Storrington. His health, always fragile, continued to deteriorate and he died of tuberculosis in 1907. By that time he had published three books of poetry, along with other works and essays. The first edition was published in November, 1893, and this the second edition in January, 1894.
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