Written In Butler’s Sermons

A poem by Matthew Arnold

Affections, Instincts, Principles, and Powers,
Impulse and Reason, Freedom and Control
So men, unravelling God’s harmonious whole.
Rend in a thousand shreds this life of ours.
Vain labour! Deep and broad, where none may see,
Spring the foundations of the shadowy throne
Where man’s one Nature, queen-like, sits alone,
Centred in a majestic unity;
And rays her powers, like sister islands, seen
Linking their coral arms under the sea:
Or cluster’d peaks, with plunging gulfs between
Spann’d by aërial arches, all of gold;
Whereo’er the chariot wheels of Life are roll’d
In cloudy circles, to eternity

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