Matthew Arnold

(1822-1888 / Middlesex / England)


Poem by Matthew Arnold

Thou, who dost dwell alone;
Thou, who dost know thine own;
Thou, to whom all are known,
From the cradle to the grave,--
Save, O, save!

From the world's temptations;
From tribulations;
From that fierce anguish
Wherein we languish;
From that torpor deep
Wherein we lie asleep,
Heavy as death, cold as the grave,--
Save, O, save!

When the soul, growing clearer,
Sees God no nearer;
When the soul, mounting higher,
To God comes no nigher;
But the arch-fiend Pride
Mounts at her side,
Foiling her high emprize,
Sealing her eagle eyes,
And, when she fain would soar,
Make idols to adore;
Changing the pure emotion
Of her high devotion,
To a skin-deep sense
Of her own eloquence;
Strong to deceive, strong to enslave,--
Save, O, save!

From the ingrained fashion
Of this earthly nature
That mars thy creature;
From grief, that is but passion;
From mirth, that is but feigning;
From tears, that bring no healing;
From wild and weak complaining;--
Thine old strength revealing,
Save, O, save!

From doubt, where all is doable,
Where wise men are not strong;
Where comfort turns to trouble;
Where just men suffer wrong;
Where sorrow treads on joy;
Where sweet things soonest cloy;
Where faiths are built on dust;
Where love is half mistrust,
Hungry, and barren, and sharp as the sea;
O, set us free!

O, let the false dream fly
Where our sick souls do lie,
Tossing continually.
O, where thy voice doth come,
Let all doubts be dumb;
Let all words be mild;
All strife be reconciled;
All pains beguiled.
Light brings no blindness;
Love no unkindness;
Knowledge no ruin;
Fear no undoing,
From the cradle to the grave,--
Save, O, save!

Comments about Desire by Matthew Arnold

  • doug scotney (7/2/2020 8:34:00 PM)

    out mist and smoky confinement(Report)Reply

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  • Dominic WindramDominic Windram (7/2/2020 1:42:00 AM)

    Wonderful poem by Matthew Arnold that ponders the inevitable passing of time. He suggests that time can bring great joy to some (the lovers: who want time to be prolonged) . However, it can bring sadness and despair to others. This well composed, contemplative poem is certainly worthy of a 10.(Report)Reply

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  • Carlos Echeverria (5/18/2017 9:58:00 PM)

    Really enjoyed reading this a possessed preacher pouring out his soul. Cathartic.(Report)Reply

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  • Glen KappyGlen Kappy (5/18/2017 6:53:00 AM)

    i hardly know arnold's work. i, like many in high school, read dover beach. interesting to read this which is, in essence, an extended prayer. -gk(Report)Reply

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  • Muzahidul RezaMuzahidul Reza (5/18/2017 6:49:00 AM)

    who dost dwell alone;
    who dost know thine own;(Report)Reply

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  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (5/18/2017 2:47:00 AM)

    Light brings no blindness..... thanks for posting....(Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (5/18/2017 2:31:00 AM)

    Know thine own! ! Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

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  • Udaya R. TennakoonUdaya R. Tennakoon (5/18/2017 2:30:00 AM)

    Epistemological view of the poem really draws to the many sidestudents of human life(Report)Reply

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  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (3/19/2016 4:25:00 PM)

    Every line is a truth- -much as man would like to change the truth, it remains(Report)Reply

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  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (4/23/2014 8:17:00 AM)

    Desire is the cause of sorrowness The quotable quote somewhere I read and it is from the most enlightened one the Goutama Budha. Here the great poet choosed the subject desire which is the cause of every sorrowness in this world we can understand if we go behind every sadness and desperation I think. The great poet took the subject in minutest detail and very interesting to read and this is one of the beafull poem in this column of the great poet.(Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010