“Rigorous teachers seized my youth”

J.M.W. Turner,

J.M.W. Turner, “Dutch Boats in a Gale” (1801)

As a teacher, I am bound to love what Matthew Arnold says below in his poem, “Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse“:

For rigorous teachers seized my youth,
And purged its faith, and trimm’d its fire,
Show’d me the high, white star of Truth,
There bade me gaze, and there aspire.
Even now their whispers pierce the gloom:

What dost thou in this living tomb?

This stanza implicitly evokes nautical imagery. The teacher is a captain, the youth are his sailors, and the ship is education. My goal is to continually show dim-eyed students “the high, white star of Truth”; without this lodestar, we are lost at sea. As long as we are gazing at the Truth, our stormy lives can be navigated reliably.


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