Check out this great piece from The Way of Beauty, readers:
The Poet And The Hound Of Heaven
Francis Thompson was a poet, a mystic, and a devout Catholic. At one point early in his life he began studies to enter the priesthood, but he soon abandoned that effort. At the urging of his father, a doctor, he then entered medical school. But the prospect of being a physician did not appeal to him any more than the priesthood and those studies were also abandoned.
His life then began to drift as he pursued a career as a writer. Eventually he found himself in London where his poverty was so severe he sold matches to earn money and wrote poems on borrowed paper. His health then began to decline. He contracted Neuralgia, a debilitating pain caused by nerve damage. To counteract the pain he began to take an opioid called laudanum. He soon became an addict.
Because of his poor living conditions he then contracted tuberculosis. And although he fought his addiction, the tuberculosis took his life just short of his forty eighth birthday.