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Youth and Calm

Matthew Arnold 1822 (Laleham) – 1888 (Liverpool)

'Tis death! and peace, indeed, is here,
  And ease from shame, and rest from fear.
  There's nothing can dismarble now
  The smoothness of that limpid brow.
  But is a calm like this, in truth,
  The crowning end of life and youth,
  And when this boon rewards the dead,
  Are all debts paid, has all been said?
  And is the heart of youth so light,
  Its step so firm, its eye so bright,
  Because on its hot brow there blows
  A wind of promise and repose
  From the far grave, to which it goes;
  Because it hath the hope to come,
  One day, to harbour in the tomb?
  Ah no, the bliss youth dreams is one
  For daylight, for the cheerful sun,
  For feeling nerves and living breath--
  Youth dreams a bliss on this side death.
  It dreams a rest, if not more deep,
  More grateful than this marble sleep;
  It hears a voice within it tell:
  Calm's not life's crown, though calm is well.
  'Tis all perhaps which man acquires,
  But 'tis not what our youth desires.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold was a British poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. more…

All Matthew Arnold poems | Matthew Arnold Books

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