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Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
 
Empedocles on Etna, and Other Poems
Absence
 
[First published 1852. Reprinted 1853, ’54, ’57.]

IN 1 this fair stranger’s eyes of grey
Thine eyes, my love, I see.
I shudder: for the passing day
Had borne me far from thee.
 
This is the curse of life: that not        5
A nobler calmer train
Of wiser thoughts and feelings blot
Our passions from our brain;
 
But each day brings its petty dust
Our soon-chok’d souls to fill,        10
And we forget because we must,
And not because we will.
 
I struggle towards the light; and ye,
Once-long’d-for storms of love!
If with the light ye cannot be,        15
I bear that ye remove.
 
I struggle towards the light; but oh,
While yet the night is chill,
Upon Time’s barren, stormy flow,
Stay with me, Marguerite, still!        20
 
Note 1. Absence Title] Switzerland. VI. Absence 1853. Switzerland. VII. Absence 1854. Switzerland. VIII. Absence 1857. [back]
 
 
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