Matthew Arnold

(1822-1888 / Middlesex / England)

East London Poem by Matthew Arnold


'Twas August, and the fierce sun overhead
Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,
And the pale weaver, through his windows seen
In Spitalfields, looked thrice dispirited.
I met a preacher there I knew, and said:
"Ill and o'erworked, how fare you in this scene?" -
"Bravely!" said he; "for I of late have been
Much cheered with thoughts of Christ, the living bread."
O human soul! as long as thou canst so
Set up a mark of everlasting light,
Above the howling senses' ebb and flow,
To cheer thee, and to right thee if thou roam -
Not with lost toil thou labourest through the night!
Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st indeed thy home.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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