Isolation: To Marguerite
By Matthew Arnold
We were apart; yet, day by day,
I bade my heart more constant be.
I bade it keep the world away,
And grow a home for only thee;
Nor fear'd but thy love likewise grew,
Like mine, each day, more tried, more true.
The fault was grave! I might have known,
What far too soon, alas! I learn'd—
The heart can bind itself alone,
And faith may oft be unreturn'd.
Self-sway'd our feelings ebb and swell—
Thou lov'st no more;—Farewell! Farewell!
Farewell!—and thou, thou lonely heart,
Which never yet without remorse
Even for a moment didst depart
From thy remote and spherèd course
To haunt the place where passions reign—
Back to thy solitude again!
Back! with the conscious thrill of shame
Which Luna felt, that summer-night,
Flash through her pure immortal frame,
When she forsook the starry height
To hang over Endymion's sleep
Upon the pine-grown Latmian steep.
Yet she, chaste queen, had never proved
How vain a thing is mortal love,
Wandering in Heaven, far removed.
But thou hast long had place to prove
This truth—to prove, and make thine own:
"Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone."
Or, if not quite alone, yet they
Which touch thee are unmating things—
Ocean and clouds and night and day;
Lorn autumns and triumphant springs;
And life, and others' joy and pain,
And love, if love, of happier men.
Of happier men—for they, at least,
Have dream'd two human hearts might blend
In one, and were through faith released
From isolation without end
Prolong'd; nor knew, although not less
Alone than thou, their loneliness.
My in-laws came from Hanover to have a belated birthday lunch with Paul and to see the kids now that Daniel is finished with the robotics competition. So after Adam got home from Hebrew school, we went to Minerva's Indian buffet in Gaithersburg, where I ate far too many masala eggs, dal, Bombay potatoes, and lots of other things. Then we went to Brookside Gardens, which was having an Ikebana display in the visitor center -- not as many examples as we've seen at the National Arboretum during their seasonal displays, but many beautiful arrangements with cherry blossoms and tulips now that they're starting to bloom. It was cooler than Saturday and we did get a dusting of the forecast snow, but it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, and we saw lots of geese, turtles, and birds around the pond at Brookside.
Since we were all stuffed from lunch and the red velvet cake my in-laws brought, we had sandwiches for dinner very late while watching The Simpsons. Then we watched Mildred Pierce on HBO, which is very well-acted -- I always like Kate Winslet, and is there any accent Guy Pearce can't do completely convincingly? -- but I didn't love the novel or the Joan Crawford movie, melodrama is just not my genre, and I'm not sure I can love a five-part miniseries no matter how well it's done. Next week I won't be watching when it airs because The Borgias premieres in the time slot, and I'm afraid Jeremy Irons may trump even Kate Winslet for me. My in-laws made sure I knew that UConn's women had beaten Georgetown, which is all to the good, and huzzah for VCU, I love a local Cinderella story!