Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

Nature's great law, and law of all men's minds? ? To its own impulse every creature stirs; Live by thy light, and earth will live by hers!

On one she smiled, and he was blest; She smiles elsewhere ? we make a din! But 'twas not love which heaved her breast, Fair child! ? it was the bliss within.

Philistinism! - We have not the expression in English. Perhaps we have not the word because we have so much of the thing.

Saw life steadily and saw it whole.

That sweet city with her dreaming spires.

The eternal not ourselves that makes for righteousness.

The men of culture are the true apostles of equality.

The study of letters is the study of the operation of human force, of human freedom and activity; the study of nature is the study of the operation of non-human forces, of human limitation and passivity. The contemplation of human force and activity tends naturally to heighten our own force and activity; the contemplation of human limits and passivity tends rather to check it. Therefore the men who have had the humanistic training have played, and yet play, so prominent a part in human affairs, in spite of their prodigious ignorance of the universe.

They live that they may eat, but he himself [Socrates] eats that he may live.

To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost Which blamed the living man.

Alas! Is even love too weak to unlock the heart, and let it speak? Are even lovers powerless to reveal to one another what indeed they feel? I knew the mass of men conceal'd their thoughts, for fear that if reveal'd they would by other men be met with blank indifference, or with blame reproved; i knew they lived and moved trick'd in disguises, alien to the rest of men, and alien to themselves - and yet the same heart beats in every human breast!

And we forget because we must.

But the modern critic not only permits a false practice: he absolutely prescribes false aims. A true allegory of the state of one's mind in a representative history, the poet is told, is perhaps the highest thing that one can attempt in the way of poetry.

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.

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English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic