Verse > Matthew Arnold > Poems
Matthew Arnold (1822–88).  The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867.  1909.
Poems from Magazines, 1860–1866
Men of Genius
[First published in the Cornhill Magazine, July, 1860.]

SILENT, the Lord of the world
  Eyes from the heavenly height,
    Girt by his far-shining train,
Us, who with banners unfurl’d
  Fight life’s many-chanc’d fight        5
    Madly below, in the plain.
Then saith the Lord to his own:—
  ‘See ye the battle below?
    Turmoil of death and of birth!
Too long let we them groan.        10
  Haste, arise ye, and go;
    Carry my peace upon earth.’
Gladly they rise at his call;
  Gladly they take his command;
    Gladly descend to the plain.        15
Alas! How few of them all—
  Those willing servants—shall stand
    In their Master’s presence again!
Some in the tumult are lost:
  Baffled, bewilder’d, they stray.        20
    Some as prisoners draw breath.
Others—the bravest—are cross’d,
  On the height of their bold-follow’d way,
    By the swift-rushing missile of Death.
Hardly, hardly shall one        25
  Come, with countenance bright,
    O’er the cloud-wrapt, perilous plain:
His Master’s errand well done,
  Safe through the smoke of the fight,
    Back to his Master again.        30

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