Matthew Arnold (1822–88). The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867. 1909.New Poems, 1867
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forgo her wreath?
Yes, but not this alone.
Not our bloom only, but our strength—decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?
Ah, ’tis not what in youth we dream’d ’twould be!
’Tis not to have our life
Mellow’d and soften’d as with sunset glow,
A golden day’s decline!
As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
And heart profoundly stirr’d;
And weep, and feel the fullness of the past,
The years that are no more!
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel.
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion—none.
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves,
To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost
Which blamed the living man.