He saves the sheep, the goats he doth not save!
So rang Tertullian’s sentence, on the side
Of that unpitying Phrygian sect which cried:
‘Him can no fount of fresh forgiveness lave,
‘Who sins, once wash’d by the baptismal wave!’
So spake the fierce Tertullian. But she sigh’d,
The infant church; of love she felt the tide
Stream on her from her Lord’s yet recent grave.
And then she smiled, and in the Catacombs,
With eye suffused but heart inspired true,
On those walls subterranean, where she hid
Her head in ignominy, death, and tombs,
She her Good Shepherd’s hasty image drew;
And on his shoulders, not a lamb, a kid.
- Matthew Arnold, The Good Shepherd with the Kid, 1867
Then, when the clouds are off the soul,
When thou dost bask in Nature’s eye,
Ask, how she view’d thy self-control,
Thy struggling task’d morality…
…‘Ah child,’ she cries, ‘that strife divine –
Whence was it, for it is not mine?’…
…’I saw it in some other place.
– T’was when the heavenly house I trod.
And lay upon the breast of God.’
– Matthew Arnold, Morality
Largely forgotten today, Matthew Arnold was once hailed with Tennyson and Browning as one of the great Victorian poets. Continue reading “Poet Profile: Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)”