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Matthew Arnold (1822–88). The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867. 1909.

Empedocles on Etna, and Other Poems


[First published 1852. Reprinted 1853, ’54, ’57.]

IN this fair stranger’s eyes of grey

Thine eyes, my love, I see.

I shudder: for the passing day

Had borne me far from thee.

This is the curse of life: that not

A nobler calmer train

Of wiser thoughts and feelings blot

Our passions from our brain;

But each day brings its petty dust

Our soon-chok’d souls to fill,

And we forget because we must,

And not because we will.

I struggle towards the light; and ye,

Once-long’d-for storms of love!

If with the light ye cannot be,

I bear that ye remove.

I struggle towards the light; but oh,

While yet the night is chill,

Upon Time’s barren, stormy flow,

Stay with me, Marguerite, still!