by: Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

      s the kindling glances,
      Queen-like and clear,
      Which the bright moon lances
      From her tranquil sphere
      At the sleepless waters
      Of a lonely mere,
      On the wild whirling waves, mournfully, mournfully,
      Shiver and die.

      As the tears of sorrow
      Mothers have shed—
      Prayers that to-morrow
      Shall in vain be sped
      When the flower they flow for
      Lies frozen and dead—
      Fall on the throbbing brow, fall on the burning breast,
      Bringing no rest.

      Like bright waves that fall
      With a lifelike motion
      On the lifeless margin of the sparkling Ocean;
      A wild rose climbing up a mouldering wall—
      A gush of sunbeams through a ruin'd hall—
      Strains of glad music at a funeral—
      So sad, and with so wild a start
      To this deep-sober'd heart,
      So anxiously and painfully,
      So drearily and doubtfully,
      And oh, with such intolerable change
      Of thought, such contrast strange,
      O unforgotten voice, thy accents come,
      Like wanderers from the world's extremity,
      Unto their ancient home!

      In vain, all, all in vain,
      They beat upon mine ear again,
      Those melancholy tones so sweet and still.
      Those lute-like tones which in the bygone year
      Did steal into mine ear—
      Blew such a thrilling summons to my will,
      Yet could not shake it;
      Made my tost heart its very life-blood spill,
      Yet could not break it.

"The Voice" is reprinted from Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold. Matthew Arnold. London: Macmillan and Co., 1905.




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