Poem 46

A beautiful love lyric which has something of the elegant decorum and conceits of a Renaissance courtly poem, as for example, Sir Philip Sidney’s

MY true love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given.
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss:
There never was a better bargain driven.
His heart in me keeps me and him in one;
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart, for once it was his own;
I cherish his, because in me it bides.
His heart his wound received from my sight;
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his hurt did light,
So still, methought, in me his hurt did smart;
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.


However when we look more closely, the poem reads as a quiet and restrained account of Francis receiving his task and vocation of poetry.

I gave my heart into my Beloved’s hands, and in its place
He gave me a mirror in which I could see his lovely face.

This fair exchange took place when we were screened from men’s sight,
Alone together in the secrecy of night.

The mirror turned out to be an ocean in which I was drowned,
A silence in which the root of pure song-praise was found.

When my Beloved spoke, the Creation again occurred
(For my instruction) and remained suspended in His word.

The suns were marbles with which He invited me to a game.
His tor was the breath of His song, mine His beloved name.

He pointed across space and said: That is My fair Earth;
It is dear to Me for there only do I ever take birth.

How fortunate I am that He accepted my heart and in its place
Gave me a mirror in which I could adore the splendour of His face!

Francis Brabazon’s poetry is inseparable from his self-surrendering love for his Master. It is inseparable from his realization of universal nature of his Master’s identity. Such comes only from their mutuality sharing of something that transcends separation. Despite all the pains of his labours and pilgrimage this was the vision the poet never lost, as the title of the volume makes plain.