Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman
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   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
707. Worldly Place
 
Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)
 
 
EVEN in a palace, life may be led well!
So spake the imperial sage, purest of men,
Marcus Aurelius. But the stifling den
Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell,
Our freedom for a little bread we sell,        5
And drudge under some foolish master’s ken
Who rates us if we peer outside our pen—
Match’d with a palace, is not this a hell?
Even in a palace! On his truth sincere,
Who spoke these words, no shadow ever came;        10
And when my ill-school’d spirit is aflame
Some nobler, ampler stage of life to win,
I’ll stop, and say: “There were no succor here!
The aids to noble life are all within.”
 

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