Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
To a Friend
By Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)
 
WHO prop, thou ask’st, in these bad days, my mind?—
He much, the old man, who, clearest-soul’d of men,
Saw The Wide Prospect, and the Asian Fen, 1
And Tmolus hill, and Smyrna bay, though blind.
 
Much he, whose friendship I not long since won        5
That halting slave, who in Nicopolis
Taught Arrian, when Vespasian’s brutal son
Clear’d Rome of what most shamed him. But be his
 
My special thanks, whose even-balanced soul,
From first youth tested up to extreme old age,        10
Business could not make dull, nor passion wild;
 
Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole;
The mellow glory of the Attic stage,
Singer of sweet Colonus, and its child.
 
Note 1. The name Europe ([Greek], the wide prospect) probably describes the appearance of the European coast to the Greeks on the coast of Asia Minor opposite. The name Asia, again, comes, it has been thought, from the muddy fens of the rivers of Asia Minor, such as the Cayster or Maeander, which struck the imagination of the Greeks living near them. (Author’s Note.) [back]
 
 
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