J.H. Danville—“Self Dependence” by Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold’s “Self Dependence” has been haunting me for weeks. Reading and rereading it, the opening lines echo deeper and more deeply into this season of the world. “Weary of myself, and sick of asking / What I am, and what I ought to be,” feels like a perfect encapsulation of the current mood. The speaker explores themselves standing on a ship at night, seeking the calm and expansiveness of stars and sea. The exploration settles with “”Resolve to be thyself; and know that he, / Who finds himself, loses his misery!”” The loss of which seems almost too precious these days.