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Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
 
The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems
Sonnets: To an Independent Preacher
 
WHO PREACHED THAT WE SHOULD BE ‘IN HARMONY WITH NATURE’
[First published 1849.]

‘IN harmony with Nature’? Restless fool,
Who with such heat dost preach what were to thee,
When true, the last impossibility;
To be like Nature strong, like Nature cool:—
Know, man hath all which Nature hath, but more,        5
And in that more lie all his hopes of good.
Nature is cruel; man is sick of blood:
Nature is stubborn; man would fain adore:
Nature is fickle; man hath need of rest:
Nature forgives no debt, and fears no grave;        10
Man would be mild, and with safe conscience blest.
Man must begin, know this, where Nature ends;
Nature and man can never be fast friends.
Fool, if thou canst not pass her, rest her slave!
 
 
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