Worldy Place
by Matthew Arnold
   Even in a palace, life may be led well!
   So spake the imperial sage, purest of men,
   Marcus Aurelius. But the stifling den
   Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell,
    
5   Our freedom for a little bread we sell,
   And drudge under some foolish master's ken
   Who rates us if we peer outside our pen--
   Match'd with a palace, is not this a hell?
    
   Even in a palace! On his truth sincere,
10   Who spoke these words, no shadow ever came;
   And when my ill-school'd spirit is aflame
    
   Some nobler, ampler stage of life to win,
   I'll stop, and say: "There were no succour here!
   The aids to noble life are all within."

1867
Notes - [Add a note]