Saturday, July 16, 2011


Our Freedom for a Little Bread We Sell

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), Worldly Place:
Even in a palace, life may be led well!
So spoke the imperial sage, purest of men,
Marcus Aurelius. But the stifling den
Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell,
Our freedom for a little bread we sell,
And drudge under some foolish master's ken,
Who rates us if we peer outside our pen—
Matched with a palace, is not this a hell?
Even in a palace! On his truth sincere
Who spake these words, no shadow ever came;
And when my ill-school'd spirit is aflame
Some nobler, ampler stage of life to win,
I'll stop and say: 'There were no succour here!
The aids to noble life are all within.'

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