Points to the clinging clay upon her feet,
And whispers tidings of the charnel ground.
Oh! pray thee, Melancholy, do not bring
These bitter emblems with thee; I can bear
With all but these, —'tis these, oh God! that wring
And plunge my heart in maddening despair.
Hence, for awhile, pale Melancholy, go!
And let sweet slumber lull my weeping woe.
Arthur Hugh Clough was a pupil of Rugby headmaster Thomas Arnold
(1795–1842) and close friend of poet and essayist Matthew Arnold
(1822–88). He was an unconventional but accomplished poet much influ-
enced by classical prosody. Clough suffered a crisis of faith and emerged as a
skeptical and introspective thinker. His works include the poetic novel
Amours de Voyage (1858) and the Faustian psychodrama Dipsychus, published
posthumously in 1865. He is the subject of Matthew Arnold's pastoral elegy
Here am I yet, another twelvemonth spent,
One-third departed of the mortal span,
Carrying on the child into the man,
Nothing into reality. Sails rent,
And rudder broken, —reason impotent, —
Affections all unfixed; so forth I fare
On the mid seas unheedingly, so dare
To do and to be done by, well content.
So was it from the first, so is it yet;
Yea, the first kiss that by these lips was set
On any human lips, methinks was sin—
Sin, cowardice, and falsehood; for the will
Into a deed e'en then advanced, wherein
God, unidentified, was thought-of still.
Yes, I have lied, and so must walk my way,
Bearing the liar's curse upon my head;
Letting my weak and sickly heart be fed
On food which does the present craving stay,
But may be clean-denied me e'en today,