Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Matthew Arnold. 1822–1888
  
749. To Marguerite
  
YES: in the sea of life enisled, 
  With echoing straits between us thrown. 
Dotting the shoreless watery wild, 
  We mortal millions live alone. 
The islands feel the enclasping flow,         5
And then their endless bounds they know. 
 
But when the moon their hollows lights, 
  And they are swept by balms of spring, 
And in their glens, on starry nights, 
  The nightingales divinely sing;  10
And lovely notes, from shore to shore, 
Across the sounds and channels pour; 
 
O then a longing like despair 
  Is to their farthest caverns sent! 
For surely once, they feel, we were  15
  Parts of a single continent. 
Now round us spreads the watery plain— 
O might our marges meet again! 
 
Who order'd that their longing's fire 
  Should be, as soon as kindled, cool'd?  20
Who renders vain their deep desire?— 
  A God, a God their severance ruled; 
And bade betwixt their shores to be 
The unplumb'd, salt, estranging sea. 
 
 
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