Philomela

By Matthew Arnold 1822–1888 Matthew Arnold
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, old-world 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!

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Poet Matthew Arnold 1822–1888

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Pets, Living, Social Commentaries, Heroes & Patriotism, Gender & Sexuality, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

Poetic Terms Allusion

 Matthew  Arnold

Biography

Among the major Victorian writers sharing in a revival of interest and respect in the second half of the twentieth century, Matthew Arnold is unique in that his reputation rests equally upon his poetry and his prose. Only a quarter of his productive life was given to writing poetry, but many of the same values, attitudes, and feelings that are expressed in his poems achieve a fuller or more balanced formulation in his prose. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Pets, Living, Social Commentaries, Heroes & Patriotism, Gender & Sexuality, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Allusion

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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