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Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
 
The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems
Desire
 
[First published 1849. Reprinted 1855.]

    THOU, 1 who dost dwell alone—
    Thou, who dost know thine own—
    Thou, to whom all are known
    From the cradle to the grave—
        Save, oh, save.        5
    From the world’s temptations,
      From tribulations;
    From that fierce anguish
    Wherein we languish;
    From that torpor deep        10
    Wherein we lie asleep,
Heavy as death, cold as the grave;
        Save, oh, save.
 
    When the Soul, growing clearer,
      Sees God no nearer:        15
    When the Soul, mounting higher,
      To God comes no nigher:
    But the arch-fiend Pride
    Mounts at her side,
    Foiling her high emprize,        20
    Sealing her eagle eyes,
    And, when she fain would soar,
    Makes idols to adore;
    Changing the pure emotion
    Of her high devotion,        25
    To a skin-deep sense
    Of her own eloquence:
Strong to deceive, strong to enslave—
        Save, oh, save.
 
    From the ingrain’d fashion        30
    Of this earthly nature
    That mars thy creature.
    From grief, that is but passion;
    From mirth, that is but feigning;
    From tears, that bring no healing;        35
    From wild and weak complaining;
      Thine old strength revealing,
        Save, oh, save.
    From doubt, where all is double:
    Where wise men are not strong:        40
    Where comfort turns to trouble:
    Where just men suffer wrong:
    Where sorrow treads on joy:
    Where sweet things soonest cloy:
    Where faiths are built on dust:        45
    Where Love is half mistrust,
Hungry, and barren, and sharp as the sea;
        Oh, set us free.
    O let the false dream fly
    Where our sick souls do lie        50
      Tossing continually.
    O where thy voice doth come
      Let all doubts be dumb:
      Let all words be mild:
      All strifes be reconcil’d:        55
      All pains beguil’d.
    Light bring no blindness;
    Love no unkindness;
    Knowledge no ruin;
    Fear no undoing.        60
    From the cradle to tho grave.
        Save, oh, save.
 
Note 1. Desire Title] Stagyrus 1849. Stagirius was a monk to whom St. Chrysostom addressed three books. [back]
 
 
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