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

New Poems, 1867

East London

[First published 1867.]

’TWAS August, and the fierce sun overhead

Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,

And the pale weaver, through his windows seen

In Spitalfields, look’d thrice dispirited;

I met a preacher there I knew, and said:

‘Ill and o’erwork’d, how fare you in this scene?’

‘Bravely!’ said he; ‘for I of late have been

Much cheer’d with thoughts of Christ, the living bread.’

O human soul! as long as thou canst so

Set up a mark of everlasting light,

Above the howling senses’ ebb and flow,

To cheer thee, and to right thee if thou roam,

Not with lost toil thou labourest through the night!

Thou mak’st the heaven thou hop’st indeed thy home.