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

The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems

Sonnet. To a Friend

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

  • WHO prop, thou ask’st, in these bad days, my mind?

    He much, the old man, who, clearest-soul’d of men,

    Saw The Wide Prospect, and the Asian Fen,

    And Tmolus’ hill, and Smyrna’s bay, though blind.

    Much he, whose friendship I not long since won,

    That halting slave, who in Nicopolis

    Taught Arrian, when Vespasian’s brutal son

    Clear’d Rome of what most sham’d him. But be his

    My special thanks, whose even-balanc’d soul,

    From first youth tested up to extreme old age,

    Business could not make dull, nor Passion wild:

    Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole:

    The mellow glory of the Attic stage;

    Singer of sweet Colonus, and its child.