Verse > Matthew Arnold > Poems
Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems
Sonnets: Written in Emerson’s Essays
[First published 1849. Reprinted 1853.]

‘O MONSTROUS, dead, unprofitable world,
That thou canst hear, and hearing, hold thy way.
A voice oracular hath peal’d to-day,
To-day a hero’s banner is unfurl’d.
Hast thou no lip for welcome?’ So I said.        5
Man after man, the world smil’d and pass’d by:
A smile of wistful incredulity
As though one spake of noise unto the dead:
Scornful, and strange, and sorrowful; and full
Of bitter knowledge. Yet the Will is free:        10
Strong is the Soul, and wise, and beautiful:
The seeds of godlike power are in us still:
Gods are we, Bards, Saints, Heroes, if we will.—
  Dumb judges, answer, truth or mockery?

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