Verse > Matthew Arnold > Poems
Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems
Sonnets: Religious Isolation
[First published 1849. Reprinted 1853, ’54, ’57.]

CHILDREN (as such forgive them) have I known,
Ever in their own eager pastime bent
To make the incurious bystander, intent
On his own swarming thoughts, an interest own;
Too fearful or too fond to play alone.        5
Do thou, whom light in thine own inmost soul
(Not less thy boast) illuminates, control
Wishes unworthy of a man full-grown.
What though the holy secret which moulds thee
Moulds not the solid Earth? though never Winds        10
Have whisper’d it to the complaining Sea,
Nature’s great law, and law of all men’s minds?
  To its own impulse every creature stirs:
  Live by thy light, and Earth will live by hers.

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