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

New Poems, 1867

The Divinity

[First published 1867.]

‘YES, write it in the rock!’ Saint Bernard said,

‘Grave it on brass with adamantine pen!

‘’Tis God himself becomes apparent, when

‘God’s wisdom and God’s goodness are display’d,

‘For God of these his attributes is made.’—

Well spake the impetuous Saint, and bore of men

The suffrage captive; now, not one in ten

Recalls the obscure opposer he outweigh’d.

God’s wisdom and God’s goodness!—Ay, but fools

Mis-define these till God knows them no more.

Wisdom and goodness, they are God!—what schools

Have yet so much as heard this simpler lore?

This no Saint preaches, and this no Church rules;

’Tis in the desert, now and heretofore.