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

The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems

Sonnets: To a Republican Friend

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

GOD knows it, I am with you. If to prize

Those virtues, priz’d and practis’d by too few,

But priz’d, but lov’d, but eminent in you,

Man’s fundamental life: if to despise

The barren optimistic sophistries

Of comfortable moles, whom what they do

Teaches the limit of the just and true—

And for such doing have no need of eyes:

If sadness at the long heart-wasting show

Wherein earth’s great ones are disquieted:

If thoughts, not idle, while before me flow

The armies of the homeless and unfed:—

If these are yours, if this is what you are,

Then am I yours, and what you feel, I share.