Verse > Matthew Arnold > Poems
Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
New Poems, 1867
Youth and Calm
[First published in this form 1867.] 1

’TIS death! and 2 peace, indeed, is here,
And ease from shame, and rest from fear.
There’s 3 nothing can dismarble now
The smoothness of that limpid brow.
But 4 is a calm like this, in truth,        5
The crowning end of life and youth,
And when this boon rewards the dead,
Are all debts paid, has all been said?
And is the heart of youth so light,
Its step so firm, its eye so bright,        10
Because on its hot brow there blows
A wind of promise and repose
From the far grave, to which it goes;
Because it has the hope to come,
One day, to harbour in the tomb?        15
Ah no, the bliss youth dreams is one
For daylight, for the cheerful sun,
For feeling nerves and living breath—
Youth dreams a bliss on this side death!
It dreams a rest, if not more deep,        20
More grateful than this marble sleep.
It hears a voice within it tell:
Calm’s not life’s crown, though calm is well.
’Tis all perhaps which man acquires,
But ’tis not what our youth desires.        25
Note 1. Youth and Calm = ll. 17–41 of Lines written by a Death-bed, 1852. [back]
Note 2. ’Tis death! and] But ah, though 1852. [back]
Note 3. There’s] Though 1852. [back]
Note 4. But] Yet 1852. [back]

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