Francis Thompson

Francis Thompson (1859 – 1907), at the age of 26, left medical school to pursue a career in writing. Poverty-stricken, he took odd jobs to support himself and became addicticted to opium through attempts to relieve a chronic nervous condition. During this turbulent time, Thompson attempted suicide but was ultimately stopped by a vision in which he saw another poet, Thomas Chatterton, who had committed suicide years earlier. Afterwards, he was befriended by a prostitute who helped him get back on his feet. Thompson later described her as his saviour. Thompson would go on to publish over 50 poems and essays and has influenced such thinkers as G.K. Chesterton and J.R.R. Tolkien.