Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE VOICE, by MATTHEW ARNOLD

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE VOICE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: As the kindling glances
Last Line: Yet could not break it.
Subject(s): Grief; Sorrow; Sadness

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 to-morrow
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 mould'ring wall--
A gush of sunbeams through a ruin'd hall--
Strains of glad music at a funeral:--
So sad, and with so wild a start
To this long sober'd heart,
So anxiously and painfully,
So drearily and doubtfully
And, oh, with such intolerable change
Of thought, such contrast strange,
O unforgotten Voice, thy whispers 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 long distant years
Did steal into mine ears:
Blew such a thrilling summons to my will
Yet could not shake it:
Drain'd all the life my full heart had to spill;
Yet could not break it.

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