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

New Poems, 1867


[First published 1867.]

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 line no more, when we have done our span.

‘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!

‘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!’