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

Empedocles on Etna, and Other Poems

The World’s Triumphs

[First published 1852. Reprinted in 1853, ‘54, ‘57.]

SO far as I conceive the World’s rebuke

To him address’d who would recast her new,

Not from herself her fame of strength she took,

But from their weakness, who would work her rue.

‘Behold,’ she cries, ‘so many rages lull’d,

So many fiery spirits quite cool’d down:

Look how so many valours, long undull’d,

After short commerce with me, fear my frown.

Thou too, when thou against my crimes wouldst cry,

Let thy foreboded homage check thy tongue.’—

The World speaks well: yet might her foe reply—

‘Are wills so weak? then let not mine wait long.

Hast thou so rare a poison? let me be

Keener to slay thee, lest thou poison me.’