Isolation: To Marguerite

Original Text: 
Matthew Arnold, Poems by Matthew Arnold: Third Edition (1857).
1We were apart; yet, day by day,
2I bade my heart more constant be.
3I bade it keep the world away,
4And grow a home for only thee;
5Nor fear'd but thy love likewise grew,
6Like mine, each day, more tried, more true.
7The fault was grave! I might have known,
8What far too soon, alas! I learn'd--
9The heart can bind itself alone,
10And faith may oft be unreturn'd.
11Self-sway'd our feelings ebb and swell--
12Thou lov'st no more;--Farewell! Farewell!
13Farewell!--and thou, thou lonely heart,
14Which never yet without remorse
15Even for a moment didst depart
16From thy remote and spher{`e}d course
17To haunt the place where passions reign--
18Back to thy solitude again!
19Back! with the conscious thrill of shame
21Flash through her pure immortal frame,
22When she forsook the starry height
24Upon the pine-grown Latmian steep.
25Yet she, chaste queen, had never proved
26How vain a thing is mortal love,
27Wandering in Heaven, far removed.
28But thou hast long had place to prove
29This truth--to prove, and make thine own:
30"Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone."
31Or, if not quite alone, yet they
32Which touch thee are unmating things--
33Ocean and clouds and night and day;
34Lorn autumns and triumphant springs;
35And life, and others' joy and pain,
36And love, if love, of happier men.
37Of happier men--for they, at least,
38Have dream'd two human hearts might blend
39In one, and were through faith released
40From isolation without end
41Prolong'd; nor knew, although not less
42Alone than thou, their loneliness.

Notes

20] Luna: daughter of Hyperion and Terra, the moon, and hence equivalent to Diana. Back to Line
23] Endymion: a lovely shepherd lad courted by Diana after she discovered him asleep one evening on Mt. Latmos. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1857
RPO poem Editors: 
H. Kerpneck
RPO Edition: 
3RP 3.246.
Rhyme: 
Form: