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Shakespeare
by Matthew Arnold

English poet and critic. His first two volumes of poems The Strayed Reveller and other Poems (1849) and Empedocles on Etna and other Poems (1852) were published anonymously and with little success. He made his mark with his third volume of poetry Poems: A New Edition (1853-54) which contained 'The Scholar Gipsy', 'Sohrab and Rustum', and 'Memorial Verses to Wordsworth'. He reinforced his standing as a poet with New Poems (1867) which included 'Dover Beach' and 'Thyrsis'. He established himself as the leading critic of the age with a number of works including Essays and Criticism (1865, 1888), Culture and Anarchy (1869) and Literature and Dogma (1873).


Shakespeare
by Matthew Arnold

Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask: Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill
That to the stars uncrowns his majesty,
Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea,
Making the heaven of heavens his dwelling-place,
Spares but the cloudy border of his base
To the foiled searching of mortality;
And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
Self-schooled, self-scanned, self-honoured, self-secure,
Didst walk on earth unguessed at. Better so!
All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
All weakness that impairs, all griefs that bow,
Find their sole voice in that victorious brow.


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