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Best Famous Matthew Arnold Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Matthew Arnold poems. This is a select list of the best famous Matthew Arnold poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Matthew Arnold poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of matthew arnold poems.

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Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago Heard it on the {AE}gean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson | |

For Some Poems by Matthew Arnold

 Sweeping the chords of Hellas with firm hand, 
He wakes lost echoes from song's classic shore, 
And brings their crystal cadence back once more 
To touch the clouds and sorrows of a land 
Where God's truth, cramped and fettered with a band 
Of iron creeds, he cheers with golden lore 
Of heroes and the men that long before 
Wrought the romance of ages yet unscanned.
Still does a cry through sad Valhalla go For Balder, pierced with Lok's unhappy spray -- For Balder, all but spared by Frea's charms; And still does art's imperial vista show, On the hushed sands of Oxus, far away, Young Sohrab dying in his father's arms.


Written by Edgar Lee Masters | |

John Horace Burleson

  I won the prize essay at school
Here in the village,
And published a novel before I was twenty-five.
I went to the city for themes and to enrich my art; There married the banker’s daughter, And later became president of the bank— Always looking forward to some leisure To write an epic novel of the war.
Meanwhile friend of the great, and lover of letters, And host to Matthew Arnold and to Emerson.
An after dinner speaker, writing essays For local clubs.
At last brought here— My boyhood home, you know— Not even a little tablet in Chicago To keep my name alive.
How great it is to write the single line: “Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean, roll!”


More great poems below...

Written by Anthony Hecht | |

The Dover Bitch: A Criticism Of Life

 So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, "Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc.
, etc.
" Well now, I knew this girl.
It's true she had read Sophocles in a fairly good translation And caught that bitter allusion to the sea, But all the time he was talking she had in mind the notion of what his whiskers would feel like On the back of her neck.
She told me later on That after a while she got to looking out At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad, Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry.
To have been brought All the way down from London, and then be addressed As sort of a mournful cosmic last resort Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room and finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit, And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn't judge her by that.
What I mean to say is, She's really all right.
I still see her once in a while And she always treats me right.
We have a drink And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year Before I see her again, but there she is, Running to fat, but dependable as they come, And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d'Amour.
[Ed.
note: See Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach"]


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Requiescat

 Strew on her roses, roses,
And never a spray of yew!
In quiet she reposes;
Ah, would that I did too!

Her mirth the world required;
She bathed it in smiles of glee.
But her heart was tired, tired, And now they let her be.
Her life was turning, turning, In mazes of heat and sound.
But for peace her soul was yearning, And now peace laps her round.
Her cabined ample spirit, It fluttered and failed for breath.
Tonight it doth inherit The vasty hall of death.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Cadmus and Harmonia

 Far, far from here,
The Adriatic breaks in a warm bay
Among the green Illyrian hills; and there
The sunshine in the happy glens is fair,
And by the sea, and in the brakes.
The grass is cool, the sea-side air Buoyant and fresh, the mountain flowers More virginal and sweet than ours.
And there, they say, two bright and aged snakes, Who once were Cadmus and Harmonia, Bask in the glens or on the warm sea-shore, In breathless quiet, after all their ills; Nor do they see their country, nor the place Where the Sphinx lived among the frowning hills, Nor the unhappy palace of their race, Nor Thebes, nor the Ismenus, any more.
There those two live, far in the Illyrian brakes! They had stay'd long enough to see, In Thebes, the billow of calamity Over their own dear children roll'd, Curse upon curse, pang upon pang, For years, they sitting helpless in their home, A grey old man and woman; yet of old The Gods had to their marriage come, And at the banquet all the Muses sang.
Therefore they did not end their days In sight of blood, but were rapt, far away, To where the west-wind plays, And murmurs of the Adriatic come To those untrodden mountain-lawns; and there Placed safely in changed forms, the pair Wholly forgot their first sad life, and home, And all that Theban woe, and stray For ever through the glens, placid and dumb.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Quiet Work

 One lesson, Nature, let me learn of thee, 
One lesson which in every wind is blown, 
One lesson of two duties kept at one 
Though the loud world proclaim their enmity-- 

Of toil unsever'd from tranquility! 
Of labor, that in lasting fruit outgrows 
Far noisier schemes, accomplish'd in repose, 
Too great for haste, too high for rivalry.
Yes, while on earth a thousand discords ring, Man's fitful uproar mingling with his toil, Still do thy sleepless ministers move on, Their glorious tasks in silence perfecting; Still working, blaming still our vain turmoil, Laborers that shall not fail, when man is gone.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Lines Written in Kensington Gardens

 In this lone, open glade I lie,
Screen'd by deep boughs on either hand;
And at its end, to stay the eye,
Those black-crown'd, red-boled pine-trees stand!

Birds here make song, each bird has his,
Across the girdling city's hum.
How green under the boughs it is! How thick the tremulous sheep-cries come! Sometimes a child will cross the glade To take his nurse his broken toy; Sometimes a thrush flit overhead Deep in her unknown day's employ.
Here at my feet what wonders pass, What endless, active life is here! What blowing daisies, fragrant grass! An air-stirr'd forest, fresh and clear.
Scarce fresher is the mountain-sod Where the tired angler lies, stretch'd out, And, eased of basket and of rod, Counts his day's spoil, the spotted trout.
In the huge world, which roars hard by, Be others happy if they can! But in my helpless cradle I Was breathed on by the rural Pan.
I, on men's impious uproar hurl'd, Think often, as I hear them rave, That peace has left the upper world And now keeps only in the grave.
Yet here is peace for ever new! When I who watch them am away, Still all things in this glade go through The changes of their quiet day.
Then to their happy rest they pass! The flowers upclose, the birds are fed, The night comes down upon the grass, The child sleeps warmly in his bed.
Calm soul of all things! make it mine To feel, amid the city's jar, That there abides a peace of thine, Man did not make, and cannot mar.
The will to neither strive nor cry, The power to feel with others give! Calm, calm me more! nor let me die Before I have begun to live.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

To a Republican Friend

 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 teh 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.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Self-Dependence

 Weary of myself, and sick of asking
What I am, and what I ought to be,
At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
Forwards, forwards, o'er the starlit sea.
And a look of passionate desire O'er the sea and to the stars I send: 'Ye who from my childhood up have calm'd me, Calm me, ah, compose me to the end! 'Ah, once more,' I cried, 'ye stars, ye waters, On my heart your mighty charm renew; Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you, Feel my soul becoming vast like you!' From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven, Over the lit sea's unquiet way, In the rustling night-air came the answer: 'Wouldst thou be as these are? Live as they.
'Unaffrighted by the silence round them, Undistracted by the sights they see, These demand not that the things without them Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.
'And with joy the stars perform their shining, And the sea its long moon-silver'd roll; For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting All the fever of some differing soul.
'Bounded by themselves, and unregardful In what state God's other works may be, In their own tasks all their powers pouring, These attain the mighty life you see.
' O air-born voice! long since, severely clear, A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear: 'Resolve to be thyself; and know that he, Who finds himself, loses his misery!'


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

West London

 Crouch'd on the pavement close by Belgrave Square
A tramp I saw, ill, moody, and tongue-tied;
A babe was in her arms, and at her side
A girl; their clothes were rags, their feet were bare.
Some labouring men, whose work lay somewhere there, Pass'd opposite; she touch'd her girl, who hied Across, and begg'd and came back satisfied.
The rich she had let pass with frozen stare.
Thought I: Above her state this spirit towers; She will not ask of aliens, but of friends, Of sharers in a common human fate.
She turns from that cold succour, which attneds The unknown little from the unknowing great, And points us to a better time than ours.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Progress

 The Master stood upon the mount, and taught.
He saw a fire in his disciples’ eyes; ‘The old law’, they said, ‘is wholly come to naught! Behold the new world rise!’ ‘Was it’, the Lord then said, ‘with scorn ye saw The old law observed by Scribes and Pharisees? I say unto you, see ye keep that law More faithfully than these! ‘Too hasty heads for ordering worlds, alas! Think not that I to annul the law have will’d; No jot, no tittle from the law shall pass, Till all hath been fulfill’d.
’ So Christ said eighteen hundred years ago.
And what then shall be said to those to-day, Who cry aloud to lay the old world low To clear the new world’s way? ‘Religious fervours! ardour misapplied! Hence, hence,’ they cry, ’ye do but keep man blind! But keep him self-immersed, preoccupied, And lame the active mind!’ Ah! from the old world let some one answer give: ‘Scorn ye this world, their tears, their inward cares? I say unto you, see that your souls live A deeper life than theirs! ‘Say ye: The spirit of man has found new roads, And we must leave the old faiths, and walk therein?— Leave then the Cross as ye have left carved gods, But guard the fire within! ‘Bright, else, and fast the stream of life may roll, And no man may the other’s hurt behold; Yet each will have one anguish—his own soul Which perishes of cold.
’ Here let that voice make end; then let a strain, From a far lonelier distance, like the wind Be heard, floating through heaven, and fill again These men’s profoundest mind: ‘Children of men! the unseen Power, whose eye For ever doth accompany mankind, Hath looked on no religion scornfully That men did ever find.
‘Which has not taught weak wills how much they can? Which has not fall’n on the dry heart like rain? Which has not cried to sunk, self-weary man: Thou must be born again! ‘Children of men! not that your age excel In pride of life the ages of your sires, But that you think clear, feel deep, bear fruit well, The Friend of man desires.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Apollo Musagetes

 Through the black, rushing smoke-bursts,
Thick breaks the red flame;
All Etna heaves fiercely
Her forest-clothed frame.
Not here, O Apollo! Are haunts meet for thee.
But, where Helicon breaks down In cliff to the sea, Where the moon-silver'd inlets Send far their light voice Up the still vale of Thisbe, O speed, and rejoice! On the sward at the cliff-top Lie strewn the white flocks, On the cliff-side the pigeons Roost deep in the rocks.
In the moonlight the shepherds, Soft lull'd by the rills, Lie wrapped in their blankets Asleep on the hills.
--What forms are these coming So white through the gloom? What garments out-glistening The gold-flower'd broom? What sweet-breathing presence Out-perfumes the thyme? What voices enrapture The night's balmy prime? 'Tis Apollo comes leading His choir, the Nine.
--The leader is fairest, But all are divine.
They are lost in the hollows! They stream up again! What seeks on this mountain The glorified train?-- They bathe on this mountain, In the spring by their road; Then on to Olympus, Their endless abode.
--Whose proase do they mention? Of what is it told?-- What will be for ever; What was from of old.
First hymn they the Father Of all things; and then, The rest of immortals, The action of men.
The day in his hotness, The strife with the palm; The night in her silence, The stars in their calm.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

From the Hymn of Empedocles

 IS it so small a thing
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done;
To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes;

That we must feign a bliss
Of doubtful future date,
And while we dream on this
Lose all our present state,
And relegate to worlds yet distant our repose?

Not much, I know, you prize
What pleasures may be had,
Who look on life with eyes
Estranged, like mine, and sad:
And yet the village churl feels the truth more than you;

Who 's loth to leave this life
Which to him little yields:
His hard-task'd sunburnt wife,
His often-labour'd fields;
The boors with whom he talk'd, the country spots he knew.
But thou, because thou hear'st Men scoff at Heaven and Fate; Because the gods thou fear'st Fail to make blest thy state, Tremblest, and wilt not dare to trust the joys there are.
I say, Fear not! life still Leaves human effort scope.
But, since life teems with ill, Nurse no extravagant hope.
Because thou must not dream, thou need'st not then despair.


Written by Matthew Arnold | |

Worldly Place

 Even in a palace, life may be led well!
So spake the imperial sage, purest of men,
Marcus Aurelius.
But the stifling den Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell, Our freedom for a little bread we sell, And drudge under some foolish master's ken Who rates us if we peer outside our pen-- Match'd with a palace, is not this a hell? Even in a palace! On his truth sincere, Who spoke these words, no shadow ever came; And when my ill-school'd spirit is aflame Some nobler, ampler stage of life to win, I'll stop, and say: 'There were no succour here! The aids to noble life are all within.
'