Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/95

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83
MATTHEW ARNOLD

whether my experience is peculiar; but I have never got out of my head, since I read it, the little poem about the Neckan, who sings his plaintive song on the Baltic headlands, or the charming verses—the last, I fancy, which he wrote—about the dachshund Geist, whose grave at Cobham should be a goal for all poetic pilgrims. In certain of his more laboured poems, I am conscious rather that I ought to admire than that I do admire. To my brutal mind, the recollection of the classical models is a source of annoyance, as suggesting that the scholar is in danger of suppressing the man. But there are other poems which I love, if not because of, at any rate in spite of, the classical propensities which they reveal. 'Sohrab and Rustum' is to me among the most delightful of modern poems, though in it Arnold indulges, perhaps more than enough, in the long-tailed Homeric metaphor, which drags in upon principle all the points on which the thing compared does not resemble the object. I can always read 'Tristram and Iseult,' and the 'Church of Brou' and 'Empedocles on Etna'; and know that they leave behind them a sense of sweetness and delicacy and exquisite feeling, if they do not