Matthew Arnold

(1822-1888 / Middlesex / England)

The Better Part

Poem by Matthew Arnold

Long fed on boundless hopes, O race of man,
How angrily thou spurn'st all simpler fare!
'Christ,' some one says, 'was human as we are;
No judge eyes us from Heaven, our sin to scan;
We live no more when we have done our span.'--
'Well, then, for Christ,' thou answerest, 'who can care?
From sin, which Heaven records not, why forbear?
Live we like brutes our life without a plan!'
So answerest thou; but why not rather say,
'Hath man no second life?--Pitch this one high!
Sits there no judge in Heaven our sin to see?--
More strictly, then, the inward judge obey!
Was Christ a man like us?--Ah! let us try
If we then, too, can be such men as he!'

Comments about The Better Part by Matthew Arnold

  • Asia VillaflorAsia Villaflor (6/30/2016 5:14:00 PM)

    I felt it through my spine...
    I have fondness for reading a poem like this
    cause its no ordinary its one of a kind and inspiring for poets like me
    whos young and a bigener(Report)Reply

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  • Gajanan MishraGajanan Mishra (6/30/2016 6:16:00 AM)

    was Christ a man like us, like it.(Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (6/30/2016 3:41:00 AM)

    O race of man! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

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  • Tom Billsborough (6/30/2016 3:08:00 AM)

    The greatest gift to Rugby School, a fine scholar and poet. This poem expresses the great dilemma as Rajnish has said and is beautifully expressed.

    Tom Billsborough(Report)Reply

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  • Ramesh T ARamesh T A (6/30/2016 3:00:00 AM)

    Matthew Arnold has said that Poetry is the criticism of life! This poem is a perfect example of his famous saying!(Report)Reply

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  • Rajnish MangaRajnish Manga (6/30/2016 1:49:00 AM)

    This wonderful poem deals with the philosophical dilemma about whether a supreme heavenly power judging the good and bad deeds of all human beings does exist or not. An eternal question answered by the great poet quite rationally. This shows the depth of Arnold's observation.(Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010

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