The Strayed Reveller, and Other Poems

To George Cruikshank, Esq.

on seeing for the first time his picture of ‘The Bottle’, in the country

Matthew Arnold

ARTIST, whose hand, with horror wing’d, hath torn
From the rank life of towns this leaf: and flung
The prodigy of full-blown crime among
Valleys and men to middle fortune born,
Not innocent, indeed, yet not forlorn:
Say, what shall calm us, when such guests intrude,
Like comets on the heavenly solitude?
Shall breathless glades, cheer’d by shy Dian’s horn.
Cold-bubbling springs, or caves? Not so! The Soul
Breasts her own griefs: and, urg’d too fiercely, says:
‘Why tremble? True, the nobleness of man
May be by man effac’d: man can control
To pain, to death, the bent of his own days.
Know thou the worst. So much, not more, he can.’

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