Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

We, in some unknown Power's employ, move on a rigorous line; can neither, when we will, enjoy, nor, when we will, resign.

Whispering from her [Oxford's] towers the last enchantments of the Middle Age...Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties!

Yet they, believe me, who await no gifts from Chance, have conquer'd Fate.

Truth illuminates and gives joy; and it is by the bond of joy, not of pleasure, that men's spirits are indissolubly held.

We, peopling the void air, make Gods to whom to impute the ills we ought to bear; with God and Fate to rail at, suffering easily.

Who hesitate and falter life away, and lose tomorrow the ground won today.

You will be out of the lives of free people everywhere. Your face will be off the coins and with that, your arrogant, undue influence. Everywhere. ... Everywhere. .. Every. ...

Truth sits upon the lips of dying men, and falsehood, while I lived, was far from mine.

Weary of myself, and sick of asking What I am, and what I ought to be, At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me Forwards, forwards, o'er the starlit sea.

Who ordered, that their longing's fire Should be, as soon as kindled, cooled? Who renders vain their deep desire?? A God, a God their severance ruled! And bade betwixt their shores to be The unplumbed, salt, estranging sea.

Youth dreams a bliss on this side of death. It dreams a rest, if not more deep, More grateful than this marble sleep; It hears a voice within it tell: Calm's not life's crown, though calm is well. 'Tis all perhaps which man acquires, But 'tis not what our youth desires.

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

Weep bitterly over the dead, for he is worthy, and then comfort thyself; drive heaviness away: thou shall not do him good, but hurt thyself.

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.

Up the still, glistening beaches, up the creeks we will lie, 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 for ever the kings of the sea.

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 saw life steadily, and saw it whole: The mellow glory of the Attic stage.

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

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.

Waiting for the spark from heaven to fall.

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 do we discern.

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 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.

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English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic