Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

Force and right are the governors of this world; force till right is ready.

He [the translator] will find one English book and one only, where, as in the Iliad itself, perfect plainness of speech is allied with perfect nobleness; and that book is the Bible.

Humid the air! Leafless, yet soft as spring. The tender purple spray on copse and briers! And that sweet city with her dreaming spires, she needs not June for beauty's heightening. Lovely all the time she lies...

In his poetry as well as in his life Shelley was indeed 'a beautiful and ineffectual angel', beating in the void his luminous wings in vain

Let the long contention cease! Geese are swans, and swans are geese. Let them have it how they will! Thou art tired; best be still.

Nature, with equal mind, sees all her sons at play sees man control the wind, the wind sweep man away.

Of these two literatures [French and German], as of the intellect of Europe in general, the main effort, for now many years, has been a critical effort; the endeavor, in all branches of knowledge?theology, philosophy, history, art, science?to see the object as in itself it really is.

Philistine must have originally meant, in the mind of those who invented the nickname, a strong, dogged, unenlightened opponent of the chosen people, of the children of the light.

Sanity - that is the great virtue of the ancient literature; the want of that is the great defect of the modern, in spite of its variety and power.

Tasks in hours of insight willed, In hours of gloom must be fulfilled.

The eloquent voice of our century uttered, shortly before leaving the world, a warning cry against the Anglo-Saxon contagion.

The man who to untimely death is doomed vainly would hedge him in from the assault of harm; He bears the seed of ruin in himself.

The strongest part of a religion today is its unconscious poetry.

Therefore to thee it was given many to save with thyself; and, at the end of thy day, O faithful shepherd! to come, bringing thy sheep in thy hand.

To have the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive.

Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.

And we forget because we must And not because we will

But the majestic river floated on, Out of the mist and hum of that low land, Into the frosty starlight, and there moved, Rejoicing, through the hushed Chorasmian waste, Under the solitary moon.

Critical power... tends to make an intellectual situation of which the creative power can profitably avail itself. It tends to establish an order of ideas, if not absolutely true, yet true by comparison with that which it displaces; to make the best ideas prevail.

Ennobling this dull pomp, the life of kings, by contemplation of diviner things.

France famed in all great arts, in none supreme

He bears the seed of ruin in himself.

I am a Liberal, yet I am a Liberal tempered by experience, reflection, and renouncement, and I am, above all, a believer in culture.

In mystery our soul abides; ? but tasks, in hours of insight willed, can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.

Let the victors, when they come, when the forts of folly fall, find thy body by the wall.

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English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic