Matthew Arnold


English Critic, Essayist, Poet, Educator

Author Quotes

This truth?to prove, and make thine own: ?Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone.?

Unquiet souls! Min the dark fermentation of earth, in the never idle workshop of nature, in the eternal movement, ye shall find yourselves again.

What actions are the most excellent? Those, certainly, which most powerfully appeal to the great primary human affections: to those elementary feelings which subsist permanently in the race, and which are independent of time. These feelings are permanent and the same; that which interests them is permanent and the same also.

Who prop, thou ask'st in these bad days, my mind? He much, the old man, who, clearest-souled of men, saw The Wide Prospect, and the Asian Fen, and Tmolus hill, and Smyrna bay, though blind.

Thou hast no right to bliss.

Up the still, glistening beaches, up the creeks we will hie, over banks of bright seaweed the ebb-tide leaves dry. We will gaze, from the sand-hills, at the white, sleeping town; at the church on the hill-side? and then come back down. Singing: there dwells a loved one, but cruel is she! She left lonely forever the kings of the sea.

What helps it now, that Byron bore, with haughty scorn which mock'd the smart, through Europe to the Aetolian shore the pageant of his bleeding heart? That thousands counted every groan, and Europe made his woe her own?

Whoever sets himself to see things as they are will find himself one of a very small circle; but it is only by this small circle resolutely doing its own work that adequate ideas will ever get current at all.

Thou waitest for the spark from heaven! and we, light half-believers of our casual creeds, who never deeply felt, nor clearly will?d, whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds, whose vague resolves never have been fulfill?d; for whom each year we see breeds new beginnings, disappointments new; who hesitate and falter life away, and lose to-morrow the ground won to-day? Ah! do not we, wanderer! await it too?

Us burning plains, bristled with cities, us the sea received.

What is it to grow old? Is it to lose the glory of the form, The lustre of the eye? Is it for Beauty to forego her wreath? Yes; but not this alone.

Why faintest thou! I wander?d till I died. Roam on! The light we sought is shining still. Dost thou ask proof? Our tree yet crowns the hill, our Scholar travels yet the loved hillside.

Thought and science follow their own law of development; they are slowly elaborated in the growth and forward pressure of humanity, in what Shakespeare calls ? The prophetic soul / Of the wide world dreaming on things to come.

Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge.

What is the course of the life of mortal men on the earth?? Most men eddy about here and there?eat and drink, chatter and love and hate, gather and squander, are raised aloft, are hurl?d in the dust, striving blindly, achieving nothing; and, then they die? Perish; and no one asks who or what they have been, more than he asks what waves in the moonlit solitudes mild of the midmost Ocean, have swell?d, foam?d for a moment, and gone.

With aching hands and bleeding feet we dig and heap, lay stone on stone; we bear the burden and the heat of the long day, and wish 'twere done. Not till the hours of light return all we have built as we discern.

Time may restore us in his course Goethe?s sage mind and Byron?s force; but where will Europe?s latter hour again find Wordsworth?s healing power?

Waiting for the spark from heaven to fall.

What really dissatisfies in American civilization is the want of the interesting, a want due chiefly to the want of those two great elements of the interesting, which are elevation and beauty.

With close-lipp'd Patience for our only friend, Sad Patience, too near neighbor to Despair.

Tired of knocking at preferment's door.

Wandering between two worlds, one dead the other powerless to be born, with nowhere yet to rest my head like these, on earth I wait forlorn.

What shelter to grow ripe is ours? What leisure to grow wise?

With women the heart argues, not the mind.

'Tis not to see the world as from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes, and heart profoundly stirred; and weep, and feel the fullness of the past, the years that are not more. With close-lipped Patience for our only friend, Sad Patience, too near neighbor to Despair.

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English Critic, Essayist, Poet, Educator