Verse > Anthologies > Henry Charles Beeching, ed. > Lyra Sacra
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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919).  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse.  1903.
 
Desire
By Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)
 
    THOU, who dost dwell alone,
        Thou, who dost know Thine own
    Thou, to whom all are known
    From the cradle to the grave,
        Save, oh save.        5
    From the world’s temptations,
        From tribulations;
    From that fierce anguish
    Wherein we languish;
    From that torpor deep        10
    Wherein we lie asleep,
Heavy as death, cold as the grave;
        Save, oh save.
 
    When the Soul, growing clearer,
      Sees God no nearer:        15
    When the Soul, mounting higher,
      To God comes no nigher:
    But the arch-fiend Pride
    Mounts at her side,
    Foiling her high emprise,        20
    Sealing her eagle eyes,
    And, when she fain would soar,
    Makes idols to adore;
    Changing the pure emotion
    Of her high devotion        25
    To a skin-deep sense
    Of her own eloquence:
Strong to deceive, strong to enslave,
        Save, oh save.
 
      From the ingrain’d fashion        30
    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;        35
    From wild and weak complaining;
      Thine old strength revealing,
        Save, oh save.
 
    From doubt, where all is double:
    Where wise men are not strong;        40
    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:        45
    Where love is half mistrust,
Hungry, and barren, and sharp as the sea
        Oh, set us free.
 
    O let the false dream fly
    Where our sick souls do lie        50
      Tossing continually.
    O where thy voice doth come
      Let all doubts be dumb:
      Let all words be mild:
      All strifes be reconciled:        55
      All pains beguil’d!
    Light bring no blindness;
    Love no unkindness;
    Knowledge no ruin;
    Fear no undoing.        60
    From the cradle to the grave,
        Save, oh save.
 
 
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