Matthew Arnold

(1822-1888 / Middlesex / England)

The Song Of Callicles - Poem by Matthew Arnold

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 wrapt 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 praise 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.


Comments about The Song Of Callicles by Matthew Arnold

  • Susan Williams (10/3/2016 3:14:00 PM)


    the moon-silver'd inlets- - - - - - - that lovely sight sprang full-blown into my mind from his pen wielded so many years ago- - -that's the magnificent responsibility of writers- -to remember that their words outlive them (Report) Reply

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  • (10/3/2016 11:19:00 AM)


    An amazing flight of imagery of the poet is displayed in each stanza of this superb story poem. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report) Reply

  • Pallang Mofokeng (10/3/2016 10:50:00 AM)


    as a growing poet such work is an inspiration (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (10/3/2016 10:28:00 AM)


    Beautiful poetry. Loved every stanza of the poems. (Report) Reply

  • Neal Beightol (10/3/2016 10:20:00 AM)


    Where the moon-silver'd inlets
    Send far their light voice

    I love this line. True beauty.
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/3/2016 1:44:00 AM)

    The universe
    What will be forever? ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Read poems about / on: flower, silver, silence, father, spring, moon, red, lost, sea, night, light, song, star



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Poem Edited: Friday, December 23, 2011


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