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Poem by Matthew Arnold


Rachel


I

IN Paris all lookd hot and like to fade.
Brown in the garden of the Tuileries,
Brown with September, droopd the chestnut-trees.
Twas dawn; a brougham rolld through the streets, and made

Halt at the white and silent colonnade
Of the French Theatre. Worn with disease,
Rachel, with eyes no gazing can appease,
Sate in the brougham, and those blank walls surveyd.

She follows the gay world, whose swarms have fled
To Switzerland, to Baden, to the Rhine;	
Why stops she by this empty play-house drear?

Ah, where the spirit its highest life hath led,
All spots, matchd with that spot, are less divine;
And Rachels Switzerland, her Rhine, is here!

II

UNTO a lonely villa in a dell
Above the fragrant warm Provençal shore
The dying Rachel in a chair they bore
Up the steep pine-plumed paths of the Estrelle,

And laid her in a stately room, where fell
The shadow of a marble Muse of yore
The rose-crownd queen of legendary lore,
Polymniafull on her death-bed. Twas well!

The fret and misery of our northern towns,
In this her lifes last day, our poor, our pain,
Our jangle of false wits, our climates frowns,	

Do for this radiant Greek-sould artist cease;
Sole object of her dying eyes remain
The beauty and the glorious art of Greece.

III

SPRUNG from the blood of Israels scatterd race,
At a mean inn in German Aarau born,
To forms from antique Greece and Rome uptorn,
Trickd out with a Parisian speech and face,

Imparting life renewd, old classic grace;
Then soothing with thy Christian strain forlorn,
A-Kempis! her departing soul outworn,
While by her bedside Hebrew rites have place

Ah, not the radiant spirit of Greece alone
She hadone power, which made her breast its home!
In her, like us, there clashd, contending powers,

Germany, France, Christ, Moses, Athens, Rome.
The strife, the mixture in her soul, are ours;
Her genius and her glory are her own.



Matthew Arnold


Matthew Arnold's other poems:
  1. To Marguerite: Continued
  2. Calais Sands
  3. Stanzas Composed at Carnac
  4. Heines Grave
  5. Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse


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