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Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
 
New Poems, 1867
Austerity of Poetry
 
[First published 1867.]

THAT son of Italy who tried to blow, 1
Ere Dante came, the trump of sacred song,
In his light youth amid a festal throng
Sate with his bride to see a public show.
 
Fair was the bride, and on her front did glow        5
Youth like a star; and what to youth belong,
Gay raiment, sparkling gauds, elation strong.
A prop gave way! crash fell a platform! lo,
 
Mid struggling sufferers, hurt to death, she lay!
Shuddering they drew her garments off—and found        10
A robe of sackcloth next the smooth, white skin.
 
Such, poets, is your bride, the Muse! young, gay,
Radiant, adorn’d outside; a hidden ground
Of thought and of austerity within.
 
Note 1. That son of Italy who tried to blow. Giacopone di Todi. [Arnold.] [back]
 
 
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