From the Hymn of Empedocles by Matthew Arnold
From the Hymn of Empedocles by Matthew Arnold poetry stories
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classicpoet Poetry from the Masters
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IS it so small a thing To have enjoy'd the sun,

From the Hymn of Empedocles by Matthew Arnold

IS it so small a thing

To have enjoy'd the sun,

To have lived light in the spring,

To have loved, to have thought, to have done;

To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes;

That we must feign a bliss

Of doubtful future date,

And while we dream on this

Lose all our present state,

And relegate to worlds yet distant our repose?

Not much, I know, you prize

What pleasures may be had,

Who look on life with eyes

Estranged, like mine, and sad:

And yet the village churl feels the truth more than you;

Who 's loth to leave this life

Which to him little yields:

His hard-task'd sunburnt wife,

His often-labour'd fields;

The boors with whom he talk'd, the country spots he knew.

But thou, because thou hear'st

Men scoff at Heaven and Fate;

Because the gods thou fear'st

Fail to make blest thy state,

Tremblest, and wilt not dare to trust the joys there are.

I say, Fear not! life still

Leaves human effort scope.

But, since life teems with ill,

Nurse no extravagant hope.

Because thou must not dream, thou need'st not then despair.

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