Only one voice could sing aright1
His brother poet, lost in night :2
His voice, who sleeps not far away ;3
The pure and perfect voice, of Gray.4
The sleep of lowly men, he sang :5
For whom the solemn church bells rang,6
Over their silent fields and vales,7
Whence no rude sound their calm assails.8
He knew their melancholy rest,9
And peaceful sleep, on earth’s kind breast :10
Their patient lives, their common doom,11
The beauty of their simple tomb.12
One thing, he left unsung : how some,13
To share those village slumbers, come :14
Whose voices filled the world with joy,15
Who made high thoughts, their one employ.16
Ah, loving hearts ! too great, to prize17
Things, whereon most men set their eyes :18
The applauding crowd, the golden lure19
Of wealth, insatiate and unsure ;20
A life of noise ! a restless death ;21
The sanctities of life’s last breath22
Profaned, with ritual pride and state ;23
Last pageant of the little great !24
But these ; to whom all crowns of song,25
And all immortal praise, belong ;26
Turn from each gairish sight and sound,27
To lay them down in humble ground :28
Choosing that still, eternal sleep,29
To be, where kindly natures keep :30
In sound of pleasant water rills,31
In shadows of the solemn hills.32
Earth’s heart, earth’s hidden way, they knew ;33
Now on their grave, light falls her dew :34
The music of her soul was theirs ;35
They sleep beneath her sweetest airs.36
Beside the broad, gray Thames, one lies,37
With whom a spring of beauty dies :38
Among the willows, the pure wind39
Calls all his wistful song to mind ;40
And, as the calm strong river flows,41
With it his mightier music goes :42
But those winds cool, those waters lave,43
The country of his chosen grave.44
Go past the cottage flowers ; and see,45
Where Arnold thought it good, to be !46
Half church, half cottage, comely stands47
An holy House, from Norman hands ;48
By rustic Time well taught, to wear49
Some lowly, meditative air ;50
Long ages of a pastoral race51
Have softened sternness, into grace :52
And many a touch of homelier use,53
From Norman strength, hath set it loose.54
Here, under old, red fruited yews ;55
And summer suns, and autumn dews ;56
With his lost children at his side,57
Sleeps Arnold. Still those waters glide,58
Those winds blow softly down their breast :59
But he, who loved them, is at rest.60