Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

Criticism is a disinterested endeavor to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world.

Eutrapelia. "A happy and gracious flexibility," Pericles calls this quality of the Athenians...lucidity of thought, clearness and propriety of language, freedom from prejudice and freedom from stiffness, openness of mind, and amiability of manners.

Friends who set forth at our side, Falter, are lost in the storm. We, we only, are left!

'He knows', says Hebraism, 'his Bible!'-whenever we hear this said, we may, without any elaborate defense of culture, content ourselves with answering simply: 'No man, who knows nothing else, knows even his Bible.'

I am bound by my own definition of criticism: a disinterested endeavor to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world.

In our English popular religion the common conception of a future state of bliss is that of ... a kind of perfected middle-class home, with labor ended, the table spread, goodness all around, the lost ones restored, hymnody incessant.

Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.

No man, who knows nothing else, knows even his Bible.

On Sundays, at the matin-chime, The Alpine peasants, two and three, Climb up here to pray; Burghers and dames, at summer's prime, Ride out to church from Chamberry, Dight with mantles gay, But else it is a lonely time Round the Church of Brou.

Physician of the Iron Age, Goethe has done his pilgrimage. He took the suffering human race, he read each wound, each weakness clear ? and struck his finger on the place, and said ? Thou ailest here, and here.

Screen'd is this nook o'er the high, half-reap'd field, and here till sundown, Shepherd, will I be. Through the thick corn the scarlet poppies peep, and round green roots and yellowing stalks I see pale blue convolvulus in tendrils creep: and air-swept lindens yield their scent, and rustle down their perfumed showers of bloom on the bent grass where I am laid, and bower me from the August sun with shade; and the eye travels down to Oxford's towers...

That which in England we call the middle class is in America virtually the nation.

The free-thinking of one age is the common sense of the next.

The need of expansion is as genuine an instinct in man as the need in a plant for the light, or the need in man himself for going upright. The love of liberty is simply the instinct in man for expansion.

The translator of Homer should above all be penetrated by a sense of four qualities of his author: ? that he is eminently rapid; that he is eminently plain and direct both in the evolution of his thought and in the expression of it, that is, both in his syntax and in his words; that he is eminently plain and direct in the substance of his thought, that is, in his matter and ideas; and, finally, that he is eminently noble.

They who await no gifts from chance have conquered fate.

To its own impulse every creature stirs; live by thy light, and earth will live by hers!

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English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic