Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XXII. Irrevocable
From ‘Thyrsis’
By Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)
[See full text.]

SO, some tempestuous morn in early June,
  When the year’s primal burst of bloom is o’er,
    Before the roses and the longest day—
  When garden-walks, and all the grassy floor,
    With blossoms, red and white, of fallen May,        5
      And chestnut-flowers are strewn—
  So have I heard the cuckoo’s parting cry,
    From the wet field, through the vext garden-trees,
    Come with the volleying rain and tossing breeze:
  The bloom is gone, and with the bloom go I!…        10
He hearkens not! light comer, he is flown!
  What matters it? next year he will return,
    And we shall have him in the sweet spring-days,
  With whitening hedges, and uncrumpling fern,
    And blue-bells trembling by the forest-ways,        15
      And scent of hay new-mown.
  But Thyrsis never more we swains shall see!
    See him come back, and cut a smoother reed;
    And blow a strain the world at last shall heed—
  For Time, not Corydon, hath conquer’d thee….        20
Yes, thou art gone! and round me too the night
  In ever-nearing circle weaves her shade;
    I see her veil draw soft across the day,
  I feel her slowly chilling breath invade
    The cheek grown thin, the brown hair sprent with grey;        25
      I feel her finger light
  Laid pausefully upon life’s headlong train;—
    The foot less prompt to meet the morning dew,
    The heart less bounding at emotion new,
  And hope, once crush’d, less quick to spring again….        30

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