Matthew Arnold

(1822-1888 / Middlesex / England)

East London


'Twas August, and the fierce sun overhead
Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,
And the pale weaver, through his windows seen
In Spitalfields, looked thrice dispirited.
I met a preacher there I knew, and said:
"Ill and o'erworked, how fare you in this scene?" -
"Bravely!" said he; "for I of late have been
Much cheered with thoughts of Christ, the living bread."
O human soul! as long as thou canst so
Set up a mark of everlasting light,
Above the howling senses' ebb and flow,
To cheer thee, and to right thee if thou roam -
Not with lost toil thou labourest through the night!
Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st indeed thy home.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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