Self-Dependence

Original Text: 
Matthew Arnold, Empedocles on Etna, and Other Poems (London: B. Fellowes, 1852). B-11 2384 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
1Weary of myself, and sick of asking
2What I am, and what I ought to be,
3At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
4Forwards, forwards, o'er the starlit sea.
5And a look of passionate desire
6O'er the sea and to the stars I send:
7"Ye who from my childhood up have calm'd me,
8Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!
9"Ah, once more," I cried, "ye stars, ye waters,
10On my heart your mighty charm renew;
11Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
12Feel my soul becoming vast like you!"
13From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven,
14Over the lit sea's unquiet way,
15In the rustling night-air came the answer:
16"Wouldst thou be as these are? Live as they.
17"Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
18Undistracted by the sights they see,
19These demand not that the things without them
20Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.
21"And with joy the stars perform their shining,
22And the sea its long moon-silver'd roll;
23For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
24All the fever of some differing soul.
25"Bounded by themselves, and unregardful
26In what state God's other works may be,
27In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
28These attain the mighty life you see."
29O air-born voice! long since, severely clear,
30A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear:
31"Resolve to be thyself; and know that he,
32Who finds himself, loses his misery!"
Publication Start Year: 
1852
RPO poem Editors: 
H. Kerpneck
RPO Edition: 
3RP 3.203.
Rhyme: