Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

Most men in a brazen prison live, Where, in the sun's hot eye, With heads bent o'er their toil, they languidly Their lives to some unmeaning taskwork give, Dreaming of nought beyond their prison-wall.

O strong soul, by what shore tarriest thou now? For that force, surely, has not been left vain!

Peace, peace is what I seek and public calm, endless extinction of unhappy hates.

Round me too the night in ever-nearing circle weaves her shade. I see her veil draw soft across the day, I feel her slowly chilling breath invade the cheek grown thin, the brown hair sprent with grey; I feel her finger light laid pausefully upon life's headlong train; --the foot less prompt to meet the morning dew, the heart less bounding at emotion new, and hope, once crush'd, less quick to spring again.

Strew on her roses, roses, And never a spray of yew! In quiet she reposes; Ah, would that I did too!

The difference between genuine poetry and the poetry of Dryden, Pope, and all their school, is briefly this: their poetry is conceived and composed in their wits, genuine poetry is conceived and composed in the soul.

The kings of modern thought are dumb.

The sophist sneers: Fool, take thy pleasure, right or wrong! The pious wail: Forsake a world these sophists throng! Be neither saint nor sophist-led, but be a man.

Then gazing up 'mid the dim pillars high, The foliaged marble forest where ye lie, Hush, ye will say, it is eternity! This is the glimmering verge of heaven, and there The columns of the heavenly palaces.

Tired of knocking at Preferment's door.

A world these sophists throng! Be neither saint nor sophist-led, but be a man.

And then he thinks he knows The hills where his life rose, And the sea where it goes

But often, in the world?s most crowded streets, But often, in the din of strife, There rises an unspeakable desire After the knowledge of our buried life; A thirst to spend our fire and restless force In tracking out our true, original course; A longing to inquire Into the mystery of this heart which beats So wild, so deep in us?to know Whence our lives come and where they go.

Conduct is three-fourths of our life and its largest concern.

Culture, then, is a study of perfection, and perfection which insists on becoming something rather than in having something, in an inward condition of the mind and spirit, not in an outward set of circumstances.

For what can give a finer example of that frankness and manly self- confidence which our great public schools, and none of them so much as Eton, are supposed to inspire, of that buoyant ease in holding up one's head, speaking out what is in one's mind, and flinging off all sheepishness and awkwardness, than to see an Eton assistant-master offering in fact himself as evidence that to combine boarding-house- keeping with teaching is a good thing, and his brother as evidence that to train and race little boys for competitive examinations is a good thing?

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.

How thick the bursts come crowding through the leaves! Again ? thou hearest? Eternal passion! Eternal pain!

If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.

Know, man hath all which Nature hath, but more, and in that more lie all his hopes of good.

Nations are not truly great solely because the individuals composing them are numerous, free, and active; but they are great when these numbers, this freedom, and this activity are employed in the service of an ideal higher than that of an ordinary man, taken by himself.

Odin, thou whirlwind, what a threat is this Thou threatenest what transcends thy might, even thine, For of all powers the mightiest far art thou, Lord over men on earth, and Gods in Heaven; Yet even from thee thyself hath been withheld One thing ? to undo what thou thyself hast ruled.

People think that I can teach them style. What stuff it all is! Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.

Sad patience, too near neighbor to despair.

Style ... is a peculiar recasting and heightening, under a certain condition of spiritual excitement, of what a man has to say, in such a manner as to add dignity and distinction to it.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic