Matthew Arnold Poems

  • 1.  
    Forth from the East, up the ascent of Heaven,
    Day drove his courser with the Shining Mane; And in Valhalla, from his gable perch,
  • 2.  
    The gods held talk together, group'd in knots,
    Round Balder's corpse, which they had thither borne; And Hermod came down towards them from the gate.
  • 3.  
    Hist! once more!
    Listen, Pausanias!--Aye, 'tis Callicles! I know those notes among a thousand. Hark!
  • 4.  
    He advances to the edge of the crater. Smoke and fire break forth with a loud noise, and CALLICLES is heard below singing:

  • 5.  
    CALLICLES (from below)

  • 6.  
    CALLICLES (front below)

  • 7.  
    Stop Not to me, at this bitter departing,
    Speak of the sure consolations of Time. Fresh be the wound, still-renew'd be its smarting,
  • 8.  
    In two small volumes of Poems, published anonymously, one in 1849, the other in 1852, many of the Poems which compose the present volume have already appeared. The rest are now published for the first time.
    I have, in the present collection, omitted the Poem from which the volume published in 1852 took its title. I have done so, not because the subject of it was a Sicilian Greek born between two and three thousand years ago, although many persons would think this a sufficient reason. Neither have I done so because I had, in my own opinion, failed in the delineation which I intended to effect. I intended to delineate the feelings of one of the last of the Greek religious philosophers, one of the family of Orpheus and Musaeus, having survived his fellows, living on into a time when the habits of Greek thought and feeling had begun fast to change, character to dwindle, the influence of the Sophists to prevail. Into the feelings of a man so situated there entered much that we are accustomed to consider as exclusively modern; how much, the fragments of Empedocles himself which remain to us are sufficient at least to indicate. What those who are familiar only with the great monuments of early Greek genius suppose to be its exclusive characteristics, have disappeared; the calm, the cheerfulness, the disinterested objectivity have disappeared: the dialogue of the mind with itself has commenced; modern problems have presented themselves; we hear already the doubts, we witness the discouragement, of Hamlet and of Faust.
  • 9.  
    Tristram
    Is she not come? The messenger was sure.
  • 10.  
    Raise the light, my page! that I may see her.
    Thou art come at last, then, haughty Queen! Long I've waited, long I've fought my fever;
  • 11.  
    A year had flown, and o'er the sea away,
    In Cornwall, Tristram and Queen Iseult lay; In King Marc's chapel, in Tyntagel old
  • 12.  
    Down the Savoy valleys sounding,
    Echoing round this castle old, 'Mid the distant mountain chalets
  • 13.  
    Upon the glistening leaden roof
    Of the new Pile, the sunlight shines; The stream goes leaping by.
  • 14.  
    So rest, for ever rest, O princely Pair!
    In your high church, 'mid the still mountain air, Where horn, and hound, and vassals never come.
  • 15.  
    I saw him sensitive in frame,
    I knew his spirits low; And wish'd him health, success, and fame:
  • 16.  
    Rais'd are the dripping oars
    Silent the boat: the lake, Lovely and soft as a dream,
  • 17.  
    We, O Nature, depart:
    Thou survivest us: this, This, I know, is the law.
  • 18.  
    'O monstrous, dead, unprofitable world,
    That thou canst hear, and hearing, hold thy way. A voice oracular hath peal'd to-day,
  • 19.  
    Affections, Instincts, Principles, and Powers,
    Impulse and Reason, Freedom and Control So men, unravelling God's harmonious whole.
  • 20.  
    Why, when the World's great mind
    Hath finally inclin'd, Why, you say, Critias, be debating still?
  • 21.  
    Each on his own strict line we move,
    And some find death ere they find love. So far apart their lives are thrown
  • 22.  
    Because thou hast believ'd, the wheels of life
    Stand never idle, but go always round: Not by their hands, who vex the patient ground,
  • 23.  
    Laugh, my Friends, and without blame
    Lightly quit what lightly came: Rich to-morrow as to-day
  • 24.  
    'Yes: in the sea of life enisl'd,
    With echoing straits between us thrown, Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
  • 25.  
    Artist, whose hand, with horror wing'd, hath torn
    From the rank life of towns this leaf: and flung The prodigy of full-blown crime among
  • 26.  
    Joy comes and goes: hope ebbs and flows,
    Like the wave. Change doth unknit the tranquil strength of men.
  • 27.  
    'In harmony with Nature'? Restless fool,
    Who with such heat dost preach what were to thee, When true, the last impossibility;
  • 28.  
    Yet, when I muse on what life is, I seem
    Rather to patience prompted, than that prowl Prospect of hope which France proclaims so loud,
  • 29.  
    God knows it, I am with you. If to prize
    Those virtues, priz'd and practis'd by too few, But priz'd, but lov'd, but eminent in you,
  • 30.  
    Douglas, Isle of Man

  • 31.  
    Where I am, thou ask'st, and where I wended
    When my fleeting shadow pass'd from thee? Am I not concluded now, and ended?
  • 32.  
    Ten years! and to my waking eye
    Once more the roofs of Berne appear; The rocky banks, the terrace high,
  • 33.  
    Far on its rocky knoll descried
    Saint Michael's chapel cuts the sky. I climb'd; beneath me, bright and wide,
  • 34.  
    The sandy spits, the shore-lock'd lakes,
    Melt into open, moonlit sea; The soft Mediterranean breaks
  • 35.  
    Not in sunk Spain's prolong'd death agony;
    Not in rich England, bent but to make pour The flood of the world's commerce on her shore;
  • 36.  
    So far as I conceive the World's rebuke
    To him address'd who would recast her new, Not from herself her fame of strength she took,
  • 37.  
    One lesson, Nature, let me learn of thee,
    One lesson that in every wind is blown, One lesson of two duties serv'd in one,
  • 38.  
    Say, what blinds us, that we claim the glory
    Of possessing powers not our share? Since man woke on earth, he knows his story,
  • 39.  
    Still glides the stream, slow drops the boat
    Under the rustling poplars' shade; Silent the swans beside us float
  • 40.  
    Murmur of living!
    Stir of existence! Soul of the world!
  • 41.  
    To die be given us, or attain!
    Fierce work it were, to do again. So pilgrims, bound for Mecca, pray'd
  • 42.  
    Children (as such forgive them) have I known,
    Ever in their own eager pastime bent To make the incurious bystander, intent
  • 43.  
    I
    In paris all look'd hot and like to fade.
  • 44.  
    HUSSEIN
    O most just Vizier, send away
  • 45.  
    Moderate tasks and moderate leisure,
    Quiet living, strict-kept measure Both in suffering and in pleasure
  • 46.  
    Youth rambles on life's arid mount,
    And strikes the rock, and finds the vein, And brings the water from the fount,
  • 47.  
    A long pause, during which EMPEDOCLES remains motionless, plunged in thought. The night deepens. He moves forward and gazes round him, and proceeds:

  • 48.  
    In the cedar shadow sleeping,
    Where cool grass and fragrant glooms Oft at noon have lur'd me, creeping
  • 49.  
    In summer, on the headlands,
    The Baltic Sea along, Sits Neckan with his harp of gold,
  • 50.  
    This sentence have I left behind:
    An aching body, and a mind Not wholly clear, nor wholly blind,
Total 161 poems written by Matthew Arnold

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Or to seal up the sun.

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