The Hound of Heaven.

By Francis Thompson

Printed: Circa 1935

Publisher: Unknown

Dimensions 12 × 18 × 0.5 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 12 x 18 x 0.5

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Item information


Blue calf binding with gilt title and decoration on the front board.

F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

A lovely edition which has suffered some sun damage on its fine suede cover. Generally regarded as the most important modern Catholic poet, Thompson achieved critical and commercial success with his volumes of poetry and prose during his relatively short and troubled life. Born in Lancashire, England in 1859, Thompson studied medicine at the behest of his father for several years before quitting to pursue a literary career. Destitute, living on the streets, and addicted to opium, he was rescued by a married couple who were publishers and recognized his talent and the literary value of his work. Thompson went on to publish three volumes of poetry along with several essays and works of prose before his death in 1907. ‘The Hound of Heaven’ is his most famous and enduring poem, and its powerful imagery has inspired countless other artists and writers, including J. R. R. Tolkien, who counted Thompson amongst the most important influences on his writing.

The Hound of Heaven” is a 182-line poem written by English poet Francis Thompson (1859–1907). The poem became famous and was the source of much of Thompson’s posthumous reputation. The poem was first printed in 1890, in the periodical Merry England, later to appear in Thompson’s first volume of poems in 1893. It was included in the Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse (1917). Thompson’s work was praised by G. K. Chesterton, and it was also an influence on J. R. R. Tolkien, who presented a paper on Thompson in 1914.

The Jesuit J.F.X. O’Connor remarks of the Christian themes of the poem that,

“The name is strange. It startles one at first. It is so bold, so new, so fearless. It does not attract, rather the reverse. But when one reads the poem, this strangeness disappears. The meaning is understood. As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and unperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.”

Condition notes

Binding faded

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