Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
From the Hymn of Empedocles
By Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)
      IS it so small a thing
      To have enjoy’d the sun,
      To have lived light in the spring,
      To have loved, to have thought, to have done;
To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes;        5
      That we must feign a bliss
      Of doubtful future date,
      And while we dream on this
      Lose all our present state,
And relegate to worlds yet distant our repose?        10
      Not much, I know, you prize
      What pleasures may be had,
      Who look on life with eyes
      Estranged, like mine, and sad:
And yet the village churl feels the truth more than you;        15
      Who ’s loth to leave this life
      Which to him little yields:
      His hard-task’d sunburnt wife,
      His often-labour’d fields;
The boors with whom he talk’d, the country spots he knew.        20
      But thou, because thou hear’st
      Men scoff at Heaven and Fate;
      Because the gods thou fear’st
      Fail to make blest thy state,
Tremblest, and wilt not dare to trust the joys there are.        25
      I say, Fear not! life still
      Leaves human effort scope.
      But, since life teems with ill,
      Nurse no extravagant hope.
Because thou must not dream, thou need’st not then despair.        30

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