Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

Others abide our question. Thou art free. We ask and ask ? Thou smilest and art still, out-topping knowledge.

Powerful attachment will give a man spirit and confidence which he could by no means call up or command of himself; and in this mood he can do wonders which would not be possible to him without it.

Society may be imagined so uniform that one education shall be suitable for all its members; we have not a society of that kind, nor has any European country.

The Celts certainly have it in a wonderful measure.

The hour, whose happy unalloy'd moments I would eternalize, ten thousand mourners well pleased see end.

The same heart beats in every human breast.

The working-class ... is now issuing from its hiding-place to assert an Englishman's heaven-born privilege of doing as he likes, and is beginning to perplex us by marching where it likes, meeting where it likes, bawling what it likes, breaking what it likes.

Thought and science follow their own law of development; they are slowly elaborated in the growth and forward pressure of humanity, in what Shakespeare calls ? The prophetic soul Of the wide world dreaming on things to come.

And long we try in vain to speak and act our hidden self, and what we say and do is eloquent, is well ? but 'tis not true!

Burke is so great because, almost alone in England, he brings thought to bear upon politics, he saturates politics with thought.

Coldly, sadly descends the autumn evening. The Field strewn with its dank yellow drifts of wither?d leaves, and the elms, fade into dimness apace, silent;?hardly a shout from a few boys late at their play!

Culture is the passion for sweetness and light, and (what is more) the passion for making them prevail.

For science, God is simply the stream of tendency by which all things seek to fulfill the law of their being.

Greatness is a spiritual condition worthy to excite love, interest, and admiration; and the outward proof of possessing greatness is that we excite love, interest, and admiration.

Hither and thither spins the wind-borne mirroring soul, a thousand glimpses wins, and never sees a whole.

I trow, the mighty Mother doth not see) within a folding of the Apennine.

It is matter of the commonest remark how a timid man who is in love will show courage, or an indolent man will show diligence.

Mind is a light which the Gods mock us with, to lead those false who trust it.

Now the great winds shoreward blow now the salt tides seaward flow now the wild white horses play champ and chafe and toss in the spray.

Our inequality materializes our upper class, vulgarizes our middle class, brutalizes our lower class.

Protestantism has the method of Jesus with His secret too much left out of mind; Catholicism has His secret with His method too much left out of mind; neither has His unerring balance, His intuition, His sweet reasonableness. But both have hold of a great truth, and get from it a great power.

Spare me the whispering, crowded room, the friends who come and gape and go, the ceremonious air of gloom - all, which makes death a hideous show.

The critical power is of lower rank than the creative. True; but in assenting to this proposition, one or two things are to be kept in mind. It is undeniable that the exercise of a creative power, that a free creative activity, is the true function of man; it is proved to be so by man's finding in it his true happiness. But it is undeniable, also, that men may have the sense of exercising this free creative activity in other ways than in producing great works of literature or art; if it were not so, all but a very few men would be shut out from the true happiness of all men; they may have it in well-doing, they may have it in learning, they may have it even in criticizing.

The ill he cannot cure a name.

The sea is calm tonight. the tide is full, the moon lies fair upon the straits--on the French coast the light gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night air! Only, from the long line of spray where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, listen! You hear the grating roar of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, at their return, up the high strand . . .

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English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic