Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • Self-Dependence

    From The Birmingham Age Herald, October 23, 1914. By Matthew Arnold.

    Weary of myself, and sick of asking
    What I am, and what I ought to be,
    At this vessel’s prow I stand, which bears me
    Forward, forward, o’er the starlit sea.

    And a look of passionate desire
    O’er the sea and to the stars I send;
    “Ye who from childhood up have calm’d me,
    Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!

    “Ah, once more,” I cried, “ye stars, ye waters,
    On my heart your mighty charm renew;
    Still, still let me as I gaze upon you
    Feel my soul becoming vast like you!”

    From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven,
    Over the lit sea’s unquiet way,
    In the rustling night air came the answer—
    “Would’st thou be as these are? Live as they.

    “Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
    Undistracted by the sights they see,
    These demand not that the things without them
    Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

    “And with joy the stars perform their shining,
    And the sea its long moon-silver’d roll;
    For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
    All the fever of some differing soul.

    “Bounded by themselves, and unregardful
    In what state God’s other works may be,
    In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
    These attain the mighty life we see.”

    O air-born voice! Long since, severely clear,
    A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear:
    “Resolve to be thyself; and know that he
    Who finds himself loses his misery!”