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   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
706. The Better Part
 
Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)
 
 
LONG fed on boundless hopes, O race of man,
How angrily thou spurn’st all simpler fare!
“Christ,” some one says, “was human as we are;
No judge eyes us from Heaven, our sin to scan;
We live no more, when we have done our span.”        5
“Well, then, for Christ,” thou answerest, “who can care?
From sin, which Heaven records not, why forbear?
Live we like brutes our life without a plan!”
So answerest thou; but why not rather say:
“Hath man no second life?—Pitch this one high!        10
Sits there no judge in Heaven, our sin to see?—
More strictly, then, the inward judge obey!
Was Christ a man like us? Ah! let us try
If we then, too, can be such men as he!”
 

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