Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Philomela

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Matthew Arnold 1822–88



HARK! ah, the nightingale—

The tawny-throated!

Hark, from that moonlit cedar what a burst!

What triumph! hark!—what pain!

O wanderer from a Grecian shore,

Still, after many years, in distant lands,

Still nourishing in thy bewilder’d brain

That wild, unquench’d, deep-sunken, oldworld pain—

Say, will it never heal?

And can this fragrant lawn

With its cool trees, and night,

And the sweet, tranquil Thames,

And moonshine, and the dew,

To thy rack’d heart and brain

Afford no balm?

Dost thou to-night behold,

Here, through the moonlight on this English grass,

The unfriendly palace in the Thracian wild?

Dost thou again peruse

With hot cheeks and sear’d eyes

The too clear web, and thy dumb sister’s shame?

Dost thou once more assay

Thy flight, and feel come over thee,

Poor fugitive, the feathery change

Once more, and once more seem to make resound

With love and hate, triumph and agony,

Lone Daulis, and the high Cephissian vale?

Listen, Eugenia—

How thick the bursts come crowding through the leaves!

Again—thou hearest?

Eternal passion!

Eternal pain!