Clough suffered from periods of religious doubt throughout his life. His inability to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles, which detailed the beliefs of the Church of England, meant that he felt compelled to leave his position as a Fellow at Oriel College in Oxford. He moved to London to become Head of University Hall and then lectured in America before working for the Department of Education back in London. He was interested in radical politics and a tireless supporter of his wife’s cousin Florence Nightingale. He is probably best remembered for his uplifting short poem ‘Say not the struggle naught availeth’.

Clough’s posthumously published collection Poems of 1862 was a great success, running to fifteen editions over the following forty years, even though some of his contemporaries may have seen him as an exceptionally learned scholar but a poet of unfulfilled promise. He contracted malaria on a visit to Italy and died at the age of forty-two.

Recording commissioned by the Poetry Archive, reproduced here by kind permission of the reader.

Poems by Arthur Hugh Clough

There Is No God

Read by Jacob Sam-La Rose
There Is No God - Arthur Hugh Clough - Read by Jacob Sam-La Rose


fellowship with a tutorship at Oriel College

Prize website