Verse > Matthew Arnold > Poems
Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
New Poems, 1867
Fragment of Chorus of a Dejaneira
[First published 1867.]

O FRIVOLOUS mind of man,
Light ignorance, and hurrying, unsure thoughts,
Though man bewails you not,
How I bewail you!
Little in your prosperity        5
Do you seek counsel of the Gods.
Proud, ignorant, self-adored, you live alone.
In profound silence stern
Among their savage gorges and cold springs
Unvisited remain        10
The great oracular shrines.
Thither in your adversity
Do you betake yourselves for light,
But strangely misinterpret all you hear.
For you will not put on        15
New hearts with the inquirer’s holy robe,
And purged, considerate minds.
And him on whom, at the end
Of toil and dolour untold,
The Gods have said that repose        20
At last shall descend undisturb’d,
Him you expect to behold
In an easy old age, in a happy home;
No end but this you praise.
But him, on whom, in the prime        25
Of life, with vigour undimm’d,
With unspent mind, and a soul
Unworn, undebased, undecay’d,
Mournfully grating, the gates
Of the city of death have for ever closed—        30
Him, I count him, well-starr’d.

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