SELF-DEPENDENCE

By Matthew Arnold

1.

Weary of myself, and sick of asking
What I am, and what I ought to be,
At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
Forwards, forwards o'er the starlit sea.

2.

And a look of passionate desire
O'er the sea and to the stars I send:
``Ye who from my childhood up have calmed me,
Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!

3.

``Ah, once more,'' I cried, ``ye stars, ye waters,
On my heart your mighty charm renew;
Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
Feel my soul becoming vast like you!''

4.

From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven,
Over the lit sea's unquiet way,
In the rustling night-air came the answer:
``Wouldst thou BE as these are? LIVE as they.

5.

``Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
Undistracted by the sights they see,
These demand not that the things without them
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

6.

``And with joy the stars perform their shining,
And the sea its long moon-silvered roll;
For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
All the fever of some differing soul.

7.

``Bounded by themselves, and unregardful
In what state God's other works may be,
In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
These attain the mighty life you see.''

8.

O air-born voice! long since, severly clear,
A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear:
``Resolve to be thyself; and know that he
Who finds himself loses his misery!''


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