Verse > Matthew Arnold > Poems
Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
Empedocles on Etna, and Other Poems
The River
[First published 1852. Reprinted 1855.]

  STILL 1 glides the stream, slow drops the boat
Under the rustling poplars’ shade;
Silent the swans beside us float:
None speaks, none heeds—ah, turn thy head.
  Let those arch eyes now softly shine,        5
That mocking mouth grow sweetly bland:
Ah, let them rest, those eyes, on mine;
On mine let rest that lovely hand.
  My pent-up tears oppress my brain,
My heart is swoln with love unsaid:        10
Ah, let me weep, and tell my pain,
And on thy shoulder rest my head.
  Before I die, before the soul,
Which now is mine, must re-attain
Immunity from my control,        15
And wander round the world again:
  Before this teas’d o’erlabour’d heart
For ever leaves its vain employ,
Dead to its deep habitual smart,
And dead to hopes of future joy.        20
Note 1. The River Title] Faded Leaves. I. The River 1855. In this edition the poems are printed in the order of their first publication. In reprinting them in later editions of his poems Arnold rearranged several in two groups under the headings ‘Switzerland’ and ‘Faded Leaves,’ varying the number of poems thus grouped and the constitution of the groups from time to time. The critical notes below each poem give full information about these changes of title; for convenient reference the final arrangement is given here:—
I. Meeting (The Lake).
II. Parting.
III. A Farewell.
IV. Isolation. To Marguerite (To Marguerite).
V. To Marguerite—Continued (To Marguerite, in returning a volume of Letters of Ortis).
VI. Absence.
VII. The Terrace at Berne.
I. The River.
II. Too Late.
III. Separation.
IV. On the Rhine.
V. Longing.

  To my Friends who ridiculed a tender leave-taking and A Dream are in the final arrangement not included among the ‘Switzerland’ poems, though they appear in this group in the 1854 and 1857 editions. [back]

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