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

The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems


[First published 1849. Reprinted 1853, ’54, ’57.]

ONE lesson, Nature, let me learn of thee,

One lesson that in every wind is blown,

One lesson of two duties serv’d in one,

Though the loud world proclaim their enmity—

Of Toil unsever’d from Tranquillity:

Of Labour, that in still advance outgrows

Far noisier schemes, accomplish’d in Repose,

Too great for haste, too high for rivalry.

Yes, while on earth a thousand discords ring,

Man’s senseless uproar mingling with his toil,

Still do thy sleepless ministers move on,

Their glorious tasks in silence perfecting:

Still working, blaming still our vain turmoil;

Labourers that shall not fail, when man is gone.