Before man parted for this earthly strand,
While yet upon the verge of heaven he stood,
God put a heap of letters in his hand,

by Matthew Arnold Click to read full poem

Comments (8)

I agree with Oduro below: this is profound poetry. And it has a special import for citizens of a superpower. Arnold refers to various countries that once ruled empires, but conditions changed, revolutions created a new order of power. I'm certain many of Arnold's first readers felt that the sun would never set on the British Empire, but it did, and the logic of his poem is that America's status as superpower will also pass away, as it must, as it should. AS Kurt Vonnegut wrote in the 1960s, So it goes. I would add to Arnold 's and Vonnegut's predictions, prepare yourselves, people, for the future.
Amazingly easy to read despite having been written in the 1800's. Matthew Arnold writes layers into his poetry- the reader can read this and read it again many times and still see something new nestled in a word choice or a pause. The last stanza in this is reminiscent of what it says in the Bible- -In the Bible, the Word is Christ Jesus and when He comes again, we will be free.
Amidst the revolutions of man, there still lingers the hope that one day we will be free. Profound poetry
War! ! With the bad intentions from the hearts of mankind. Thanks for sharing.
One of the best poems I have ever read. Great message! The world which God proposed to build is yet to be built........Man has not yet fulfilled the very purpose of his life. When the God's world will be created there would be joy, peace, harmony and infinite ecstasy.......
But ah! an inextinguishable sense Haunts him that he has not made what he should That he has still, though old, to recommence Since he has not yet found what God would. The insatiable greed inherent in most human beings keep on making him restless. Excellent portray of human psychology drawn in the poem. Thanks for sharing.
revolution made my family poor because we are not ready, next we will be ready.
one of the great poems by Arnold