Palladium

Original Text: 
Matthew Arnold, New Poems (London: Macmillan, 1867). B-10 2583 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
1Set where the upper streams of Simois flow
3And Hector was in Ilium, far below,
4And fought, and saw it not--but there it stood!
5It stood, and sun and moonshine rain'd their light
6On the pure columns of its glen-built hall.
7Backward and forward roll'd the waves of fight
8Round Troy--but while this stood, Troy could not fall.
9So, in its lovely moonlight, lives the soul.
10Mountains surround it, and sweet virgin air;
11Cold plashing, past it, crystal waters roll;
12We visit it by moments, ah, too rare!
13We shall renew the battle in the plain
14To-morrow;--red with blood will Xanthus be;
15Hector and Ajax will be there again,
16Helen will come upon the wall to see.
17Then we shall rust in shade, or shine in strife,
18And fluctuate 'twixt blind hopes and blind despairs,
19And fancy that we put forth all our life,
20And never know how with the soul it fares.
21Still doth the soul, from its lone fastness high,
22Upon our life a ruling effluence send.
23And when it fails, fight as we will, we die;
24And while it lasts, we cannot wholly end.

Notes

2] the Palladium: an image of Pallas Athene holding in her hands a pike and a distaff and spindle. It was said to have fallen from heaven when Ilus was building the citadel of Ilium (Troy). On its safety was said to depend the safety of Troy. Ulysses and Diomedes undertook to carry it away, and, with their success, Troy became easy prey. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1867
RPO poem Editors: 
H. Kerpneck
RPO Edition: 
3RP 3.261.
Rhyme: