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

Poems; A New Edition. 1853

The Church of Brou. III. The Tomb

SO rest, for ever rest, O Princely Pair!

In your high Church, ’mid the still mountain air,

Where horn, and hound, and vassals, never come.

Only the blessed Saints are smiling dumb

From the rich painted windows of the nave

On aisle, and transept, and your marble grave:

Where thou, young Prince, shalt never more arise

From the fring’d mattress where thy Duchess lies,

On autumn mornings, when the bugle sounds,

And ride across the drawbridge with thy hounds

To hunt the boar in the crisp woods till eve.

And thou, O Princess, shalt no more receive,

Thou and thy ladies, in the hall of state,

The jaded hunters with their bloody freight,

Coming benighted to the castle gate.

So sleep, for ever sleep, O Marble Pair!

Or, if ye wake, let it be then, when fair

On the carv’d Western Front a flood of light

Streams from the setting sun, and colours bright

Prophets, transfigur’d Saints, and Martyrs brave,

In the vast western window of the nave;

And on the pavement round the Tomb there glints

A chequer-work of glowing sapphire tints,

And amethyst, and ruby;—then unclose

Your eyelids on the stone where ye repose,

And from your broider’d pillows lift your heads,

And rise upon your cold white marble beds;

And looking down on the warm rosy tints

That chequer, at your feet, the illumin’d flints,

Say—‘What is this? we are in bliss—forgiven

Behold the pavement of the courts of Heaven!’

Or let it be on autumn nights, when rain

Doth rustlingly above your heads complain

On the smooth leaden roof, and on the walls

Shedding her pensive light at intervals

The Moon through the clere-story windows shines,

And the wind wails among the mountain pines.

Then, gazing up through the dim pillars high,

The foliag’d marble forest where ye lie,

‘Hush’—ye will say—‘it is eternity.

This is the glimmering verge of Heaven, and these

The columns of the Heavenly Palaces.’

And in the sweeping of the wind your ear

The passage of the Angels’ wings will hear,

And on the lichen-crusted leads above

The rustle of the eternal rain of Love.