Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

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!

All knowledge is interesting to a wise man, and the knowledge of nature is interesting to all men.

Are ye too changed, ye hills? See, ?tis no foot of unfamiliar men tonight from Oxford up your pathway strays! Here came I often, often, in old days; Thyrsis and I; we still had Thyrsis then.

But thou, my son, study to make prevail one color in thy life, the hue of truth.

Crossing the stripling Thames at Bablock-hithe, Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet, As the slow punt swings round.

Everything in our political life tends to hide from us that there is anything wiser than our ordinary selves.

From whose floor the new-bathed stars emerge, and shine upon the Aral Sea.

He spoke, and loos'd our heart in tears. He laid us as we lay at birth On the cool flowery lap of earth.

I am past thirty, and three parts iced over.

Inequality has the natural and necessary effect, under the present circumstances, of materializing our upper class, vulgarizing our middle class, and brutalizing our lower class.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.

No, no! The energy of life may be Kept on after the grave, but not begun; And he who flagg'd not in the earthly strife, From strength to strength advancing--only he His soul well-knit, and all his battles won, Mounts, and that hardly, to eternal life.

On the breast of that huge Mississippi of falsehood called History, a foam-bell more or less is no consequence.

Pindar and Sophocles--as we all so glibly, and often with so little discernment of the real import of what we are saying--had not many books; Shakespeare was no deep reader. True; but in the Greece of Pindar and Sophocles, in the England of Shakespeare, the poet lived in a current of ideas in the highest degree animating and nourishing the creative power; society was, in the fullest measure, permeated by fresh thought, intelligent and alive; and this state of things is the true basis for the creative power's exercise--in this it finds its data, its materials, truly ready for its hand; all the books and reading in the world are only valuable as they are helps to this.

Sects of men are apt to be shut up in sectarian ideas of their own, and to be less open to new general ideas than the main body of men.

The "hairy quadruped furnished with a tail and, pointed ears, probably arboreal in his habits," this good fellow carried hidden in his nature, apparently, something destined to develop into a necessity for humane letters.

The governing idea of Hellenism is spontaneity of consciousness; that of Hebraism, strictness of conscience.

The nice sense of measure is certainly not one of Nature's gifts to her English children ... we have all of us yielded to infatuation at some moment of our lives.

The true meaning of religion is thus not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.

Thinking about sin, beyond what is indispensable for the firm effort to get rid of it, is waste of energy and waste of time.

To popular religion, the real kingdom of God is the New Jerusalem with its jaspers and emeralds; righteousness and peace and joy are only the kingdom of God figuratively.

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English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic