This banner text can have markup. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. J0- Alone, resting on a r ock by the path. O Pan, How gracious is the mountain at this hour!

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This banner text can have markup. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. J0- Alone, resting on a r ock by the path. O Pan, How gracious is the mountain at this hour!

A thousand times have I been here alone, Or with the revellers from the mountain-towns, But never on so fair a morn ; — the sun Is shining on the brilliant mountain-crests, And on the highest pines ; but farther down, Here in the valley, is in shade; the sward Is dark, and on the stream the mist still hangs; One sees one's footprints crush'd in the wet grass, One's breath curls in the air; and on these pines That climb from the stream's edge, the long grey tufts, Whichthegoats love,are jewell'd thick with dew.

Here will I stay till the slow litter comes, I have my harp too — that is well, — Apollo! What mortal could be sick or sorry here t I know not in what mind Empedocles, Whose mules I follow'd, may be coming up, But if, as most men say, he is half mad With exile, and with brooding on his wrongs, Pausanias, his sage friend, who mounts with him, Could scarce have lighted on a lovelier cure.

The mules must be oelow, far down, I hear Their tinkling bells, mix'd with the song of birds, Rise faintly to me— now it stops! Thou wast a kind child ever! He loves thee, but he must not see thee now.

Thou hast indeed a rare touch on thy harp, He loves that in thee, too! He hath his harp and laurel with him still, But he has laid the use of music by, And all which might relax his settled gloom. Yet thou may'st try thy playing, if thou wilt — But thou must keep unseen; follow us on, But at a distance!

Play when we halt, and when the evening comes And I must leave him for his pleasure is ix b To be left musing these soft nights alone In the high unfrequented mountain-spots , Then watch him, for he ranges swift and far, Sometimes to Etna's top, and to the cone; But hide thee in the rocks a great way down, And try thy noblest strains, my Callicles, With the sweet night to help thy harmony! Thou wilt earn my thanks sure, and perhaps his. More than a day and night, Pausanias, Of this fair summer- weather, on these hills, Would I bestow to help Empedocles.

That needs no thanks ; one is far better here Than in the broiling city in these heats. But tell me, how hast thou persuaded him In this his present fierce, man-hating mood, To bring thee out with him alone on Etna. Thou hast heard all men speaking of Pantheia The woman who at Agrigentum lay Thirty long days in a cold trance of death, And whom Empedocles call'd back to life. Thou art too young to note it, but his power S wells with the swelling evil of this time, And holds men mute to see where it will rise.

He could stay swift diseases in old days, Chain madmen by the music of his lyre. Thou a doctor! Thou art superstitious. Simple Pausanias, 'twas no miracle! Thou art as cross, as sour d as himself! Thou hast some wrong from thine own citizens, And then thy friend is banish'd, and on that, Straightway thou fallest to arraign the times, As if the sky was impious not to falL The sophists are no enemies of his; I hear, Qorgias, their chief, speaks nobly of him, As of his gifted master, and once friend.

Pester him not in this his sombre mood With questionings about an idle tale, But lead him through the lovely mountains-paths, And keep his mind from preying on itself, And talk to him of things at hand and common, Not miracles!

Fsee the litter wind Up by the torrent- side, under the pines. I must rejoin Empedocles. Do thou Crouch in the brushwood till the mules have pass'd; Then play thy kind part well. Farewell till night! A Glen on the highest skirts of the woody region of Etna. HE noon is hot. When we have cross'd the stream, We shall have left the woody tract, and come Upontheopenshoulderofthehill. See how the giant spires of yellow bloom Of the sun-loving gentian, in the heat, xiii Are shining on those naked slopes like flame!

Let us rest here; and now, Empedocles, Pantheia's history! J0 A harp-note below is heard. He is for ever coming on these hills, In summer, to all country-festivals, With a gay revelling band; he breaks from them Sometimes, and wanders far among the glens. But heed him not, he will not mount to us; I spoke with him this morning. Mind is the spell which governs earth and heaven. Man has a mind with which to plan his safety; Know that, and help thyself! Listen, Pausanias! Hither and thither spins The wind-borne, mirroring soul, A thousand glimpses wins, And never sees a whole; Looks once, and drives elsewhere, and leaves its last employ.

The Gods laugh in their sleeve To watch man doubt and fear. Who knows not what to believe Since he sees nothing clear, And dares stamp nothing false where he finds nothing sure. Is this, Pausanias, so. That man, xviii Howbeit, I judge as lost, Whose mind allows a plan, Which would degrade it most ; And he treats doubt the best who tries to see least ilL Be not, then, fear's blind slave! Thou art my friend; to thee, All knowledge that I have, All skill I wield, are free.

Ask not the latest news of the last miracle. Ask not what days and nights In trance Pantheia lay, But ask how thou such sights May' st see without dismay; Ask what most helps -when known, thou son of Anchitus! The pious wail : Forsake A world these sophists throng. Be neither saint nor sophist-led, but be a man! We have the truth! Sink in thyself! What makes thee struggle and rave. But we are all the same — the fools of our own woes! Man errs not that he deems His welfare his true aim, He errs because he dreams The world does but exist that welfare to bestow.

Born into life! No eye could be too sound To observe a world so vast, No patience too profound To sort what's here amass'd; How man may here best live no care too great to explore. But we — as some rude guest xxiv Would change, where'er he roam, The manners there profess'd To those he brings from home — We mark not the world's course, but would have it take ours. Like us, the lightnings-fires Love to have scope and play; The stream, like us, desires An unimpeded way; Like us, the Libyan wind delights to roam at large.

Streams will not curb their pride The just man not to entomb, Nor lightnings go aside To give his virtues room ; Nor is that wind less rough which blows a good man's barge, xxvi Nature, with equal mind, Sees all her sons at play; Sees man control the wind, The wind sweep man away ; Allows the proudly-riding and the foundering bark.

And, lastly, though of ours No weakness spoil our lot, Though the non-human powers Of Nature harm us not, The ill deeds of other men make often our life dark. Scratched by a fall, with moans As children of weak age Lend life to the dumb stones Whereon to vent their rage, And bend their little fists, and rate the senseless ground; xxvii So, loath to suffer mute, We, peopling the void air, Make Gods to whom to impute The ills we ought to bear; With God and Fate to rail at, suffering easily.

Yet grant — as sense long miss'd Things that are now perceived, And much may still exist Which is not yet believed — Grant that the world were full of Gods we cannot see; All things the world which fill Of but one stuff are spun, That we who rail are still, With -what we rail at, one; One with the o'erlabour' d Power that through the breadth and length Of earth, and air, and sea, In men, and plants, and stones, Hath toil perpetually, And travails, pants, and moans; Fain would do all things well, but sometimes fails in strength.

At once our eyes grow clear! We see, in blank dismay, Year posting after year, Sense after sense decay; Our shivering heart is mined by secret discontent; Yet still, in spite of truth, In spite of hopes entomb'd, That longing of our youth Burns ever unconsumed, Still hungrier for delight as delights grow more rare.

That so often here Happiness mock'd our prayer, I think, might make us fear A like event elsewhere; Make us, not fly to dreams, but moderate desire. I say: Fear not! Life still Leaves human effort scope. But, since life teems with ill, Nurse no extravagant hope : Because thou must not dream, thou need'st not then despair! JZ A long pause. The grass is cool, the seaside air Buoyant and fresh, the mountain flowers More virginal and sweet than ours.

There those two live, far in the Illyrian brakes! They had stay'd long enough to see, In Thebes, the billow of calamity Over their own dear children roll'd, Curse upon curse, pang upon pang, For years, they sitting helpless in their home, A grey old man and woman ; yet of old The Gods had to their marriage come, And at the banquet all the Muses sang.

That was my harp-player again! Yes, Master, in the wood. He ever loved the Theban story well! But the day wears. Go now, Pausanias, For I must be alone. Leave me one mule ; Take down with thee the rest to Catana. And for young Callicles, thank him from me; Tell him, I never fail'd to love his lyre — But he must follow me no more to-night.

Either to-morrow or some other day, In the sure revolutions of the world, Good friend, I shall revisit Catana. I have seen many cities in my time, xxxvii Till mine eyes ache with the long spectacle, And I shall doubtless see them all again ; Thou know' st me for a wanderer from of old. JBl He departs on his way up the mountain.

I dare not urge him further — he must go; But he is strangely wrought! But, Apollo! How his brow lightened as the music rose! Callicles must wait here, and play to him; I saw" him through the chestnuts far below, Just since, down at the stream — Ho!

J0 He descends calling. The summit of Etna. Round which the sullen vapour rolls — alone! Pausanias is far hence, and that is well, For I must henceforth speak no more with man ; He hath his lesson too, and that debt's paid; And the good, learned, friendly, quiet man, May bravelier front his life, and in himself Find henceforth energy and heart. Thou canst not live with men nor with thyself — O sage! O sage! Before the sophist'-brood hath overlaid Thelastsparkofman'sconsciousnesswith words, Ere quite the being of man, ere quite the world Be disarray' d of their divinity — Before the soul lose all her solemn joys, And awe be dead, and hope impossible, And the soul's deep eternal night come on — Receive me, hide me, quench me, take me home!

These angry smoked-bursts Are not the passionate breath Of the mountain'-crush'd, tortured, intractable Titan king, — But over all the world What suffering is there not seen Of plainness oppress'd by cunning, As the well'-counsell'd Zeus oppress'd That self '-helping son of earth!

What anguish of greatness, xliv Rail'd and hunted from the world, Because its simplicity rebukes This envious, miserable age! I am weary of it.



Pausanias , a Physician. Callicles , a young Harp-player. The Scene of the Poem is on Mount Etna; at first in the forest region, afterwards on the summit of the mountain. Scene I. A Pass in the forest region of Etna.

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The poetical works of Matthew Arnold/Empedocles on Etna

Empedocles on Etna , dramatic poem by Matthew Arnold , published anonymously in in the collection Empedocles on Etna, and Other Poems. It is based on legends concerning the death of the Greek philosopher and statesman Empedocles c. Empedocles is portrayed in the poem as a man who can no longer feel joy. He considers himself useless, intellectually as well as politically, and plans to commit suicide by leaping into the crater of Mt. Two friends try to lift his depression and convince him that life is worth living.

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