This page is devoted to James Thomson, a Scottish poet of the Victorian
era. The James Thomson Poetry Works is really a web site in the
middle of a web site and is a service of The
This page began in February, 2000, when only a few
Thomson poems could be seen on line. Most of the poems now available
appeared here first.
James Thomson lived from 1834 to 1882 . The "B.V."
after his name in the above quote is an abbreviation for Thomson's
pseudonym. The letters are often used to distinguish him from another
James Thomson (the author of "Rule Britannia") who lived from 1700
Thomson is best known for his gothic epic, "The
City of Dreadful Night." Inspired by his own struggles in the
city of London, the poem portends the horrors and decadence of modern
urban life. It is not without reason that Thomson is sometimes called
the "poet of doom."
Thomson's short life can be loosely compared to Edgar
Allan Poe. Like Poe, he suffered from a melancholy
which resulted from the early death of a lover. Like Poe, he is
most remembered for his scenes with a dark, nocturnal favor. And,
like Poe, he died in middle age as a result of substance abuse.
Besides his alcoholism, Thomson suffered from insomnia,
an affliction which became a source of both vexation and inspiration.
At times, he wandered aimlessly till dawn through the streets of
London. The nocturnal image above is contemporary with Thomson's
Like the poet himself, this web site stays up all
© Copyright 2OO1-2O13 by Grady McAllister. All rights reserved.
All material on this site is presented on an "as is" basis. It
does not include any warranty as to its accuracy or availability
or its suitability for any given purpose. Do not use this web site
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Not all material on this site has been carefully proof read. If
you are engaged in academic research, you should compare a published
text to any which you see here.
Volunteer proof readers are encouraged. If you do see typographical
send an e-mail.
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This web site was designed by Grady McAllister
of Houston, Texas, USA.
These pages were developed using Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop.
This page last changed
Thursday, September 26, 2013 8:46 PM
ATTENTION ENGLISH TEACHERS AND ENGLISH PROFESSORS
I could use some help in further developing this site. I have
a good many James Thomson poems which I scanned seven years ago
and have never put on line. They need careful editing and proofreading.
I won't consider this page complete until two things are accomplished:
1. The remaining scans are converted into actual poems on line.
2. All of the poems are carefully proof read.
If you are a student, perhaps your English instructor will give
you credit for bringing Thomson poems to the Internet for the first
time. You can get started immediately over the Internet.
Your name will be credited online for any poem you contribute.
If you are interested, please send
me a note.
Grady McAllister, M.S.(Occupational Technology Education)
LATE NIGHT QUOTES
"The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight."
William Shakespeare, Richard III
"Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on"
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 3.2
"The clock struck the solemn hour of one, that hour when fancy
stalks outside reason, and malignant possibilities stand rock-firm
Thomas Hardy in Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Chapter
REMEMBERED LONG QUOTE
"My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is"
"In Clym Yeobright's face could be dimly seen the typical
countenance of the future. Should there be a classic period to art
hereafter, its Pheidias may produce such faces. The view of life
as a thing to be put up with, replacing that zest for existence
which was so intense in early civilisations, must ultimately enter
so thoroughly into the constitution of the advanced races that its
facial expression will become accepted as a new artistic departure.
People already feel that a man who lives without disturbing a curve
of feature, or setting a mark of mental concern anywhere upon himself,
is too far removed from modern perceptiveness to be a modern type.
Physically beautiful men--the glory of the race when it was young--are
almost an anachronism now; and we may wonder whether, at some time
or other, physically beautiful women may not be an anachronism likewise.
"The truth seems to be that a long line of disillusive centuries
has permanently displaced the Hellenic idea of life, or whatever
it may be called. What the Greeks only suspected we know well; what
their Aeschylus imagined our nursery children feel. That old-fashioned
revelling in the general situation grows less and less possible
as we uncover the defects of natural laws, and see the quandary
that man is in by their operation."
Thomas Hardy, Return of the Native, Book 3, Chapter
The moving moon and stars from east to west
Circle before her in the sea of air;
Shadows and gleams glide round her solemn rest.
Her subjects often gaze up to her there:
The strong to drink new strength of iron endurance,
The weak new terrors; all, renewed assurance
And confirmation of the old despair.
Final stanza of "City of Dreadful Night"
Above: Moonrise at Galveston, Texas, June 6, 2009. Time exposure
photo by Grady McAllister. The statue is the memorial to the victims
of the Galveston 1900
Storm, the deadliest natural disaster to ever strike the United
The James Thomson Poetry Works
is a service of The Vasthead.