Know you what it is to be a child? It is to be something very different from the man of to-day. It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul; it is to live in a nutshell and to count yourself the king of infinite space; it isTo see a world in a grain of sand,And a Heaven in a wild flower,Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,And eternity in an hour;it is to know not as yet that you are under sentence of life, nor petition that it be commuted into death.
Francis Thompson (December 18, 1859 - November 13, 1907) was an English poet born in Preston, Lancashire. His father was a doctor who had converted to Roman Catholicism, following his brother Edward Healy Thompson, a friend of Cardinal Manning.