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

New Poems, 1867

The Progress of Poesy

A Variation

[First published 1867.]

YOUTH rambles on life’s arid mount,

And strikes the rock, and finds the vein,

And brings the water from the fount,

The fount which shall not flow again.

The man mature with labour chops

For the bright stream a channel grand,

And sees not that the sacred drops

Ran off and vanish’d out of hand.

And then the old man totters nigh

And feebly rakes among the stones.

The mount is mute, the channel dry;

And down he lays his weary bones.