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

New Poems, 1867

Early Death and Fame

[First published 1867.]

FOR him who must see many years,

I praise the life which slips away

Out of the light and mutely; which avoids

Fame, and her less fair followers, envy, strife,

Stupid detraction, jealousy, cabal,

Insincere praises; which descends

The quiet mossy track to age.

But, when immature death

Beckons too early the guest

From the half-tried banquet of life,

Young, in the bloom of his days;

Leaves no leisure to press,

Slow and surely, the sweets

Of a tranquil life in the shade;

Fuller for him be the hours!

Give him emotion, though pain!

Let him live, let him feel: I have lived!

Heap up his moments with life,

Triple his pulses with fame!