The Voice


Matthew Arnold

As the kindling glances,

Queen-like and clear,

Which the bright moon lances

From her tranquil sphere

At the sleepless waters

Of a lonely mere,

On the wild whirling waves, mournfully, mournfully,

Shiver and die.

As the tears of sorrow

Mothers have shed—

Prayers that tomorrow

Shall in vain be sped

When the flower they flow for

Lies frozen and dead—

Fall on the throbbing brow, fall on the burning breast,

Bringing no rest.

Like bright waves that fall

With a lifelike motion

On the lifeless margin of the sparkling Ocean;

A wild rose climbing up a mouldering wall—

A gush of sunbeams through a ruined hall—

Strains of glad music at a funeral—

So sad, and with so wild a start

To this deep-sobered heart,

So anxiously and painfully,

So drearily and doubtfully,

And oh, with such intolerable change

Of thought, such contrast strange,

O unforgotten voice, thy accents come,

Like wanderers from the world's extremity,

Unto their ancient home!

In vain, all, all in vain,

They beat upon mine ear again,

Those melancholy tones so sweet and still.

Those lute-like tones which in the bygone year

Did steal into mine ear—

Blew such a thrilling summons to my will,

Yet could not shake it;

Made my tost heart its very life-blood spill,

Yet could not break it.

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